It’s time to dig out of the hole.
Believe me, it could have been worse. In our Week 2 picks against the spread, we breathed the top eight picks. This led to a 5-11 ATS record in Week 2, which we are not proud of.
Fortunately, Week 3 offers several redemption chances, including three matches involving ranked teams. The Alabama No.1 meets Florida No.11 in a rematch of last year’s SEC Championship game. No.22 Auburn travels to No.10 Penn State for a prime-time “Whiteout” game. Arizona State No.19 and BYU No.23 also meet in a late-night showdown.
BENDER: Takeaways from week 2, from Ohio State’s anger to Notre Dame’s sudden two-QB system
Each week SN College Football writer Bill Bender will pick the top 25 games against the spread.
- Directly: 27-8 (12-4 in week 2)
- Against the spread: 13-22 (5-11 in week 2)
- Upheavals: 2-0 (1-0 in week 2)
With that in mind, it’s time to get back to the winning side:
Odds courtesy of FanDuel.com
Week 3 chooses against the spread
- Nebraska at No. 3 Oklahoma (-22.5) (12 p.m., FOX)
It was the big game in the old Big 12. Now the question is, can Nebraska cover a spread of more than three TD? The Huskers are 6-4 ATS as an underdog on the road under Scott Frost, and the offense should earn the Sooners enough points.
To take: Oklahoma wins 45-24 and does not cover the spread.
- New Mexico at # 7 Texas A&M (-28.5) (12h, SEC Network)
The Aggies are 1-1 ATS and we missed both picks. Zach Calzada could start with Haynes King injured at quarterback and the Lobos are 2-0. That said, it feels like a game where Texas A&M isn’t slowing down with Arkansas coming in in week 4.
To take: Texas A&M wins 42-10 and covers the spread.
- # 8 Cincinnati (-3) at Indiana (12 p.m., ESPN)
It’s one of the Bearcats’ big games against a 5-power opponent, and Indiana offers a tough challenge. The Hoosiers recalibrated against Idaho last week, and the quarterback showdown between Desmond Ridder and Michael Penix Jr. should be fun. The Hoosiers are 3-7-1 ATS as a home underdog under Tom Allen, and we think the Bearcats are the better team.
To take: Cincinnati wins 28-24 and covers the gap.
- N ° 15 Virginia Tech in West Virginia (-2.5) (12h, FS1)
The Black Diamond Trophy is in the game for the first time since 2017, and it will be great to see these rivals on the pitch. We’re a little surprised that the Hokies are an underdog given the promising start under Justin Fuente.
To take: Virginia Tech wins 27-24 in a UPSET.
- No. 16 Coastal Carolina (-12.5) at Buffalo (12 p.m.)
Coastal Carolina is 2-0 ATS, and they will look to continue this race on the road against a tough opponent from MAC. Buffalo lost 28-3 to Nebraska in the second week. It takes a bit more on the road, but Grayson McCall offers another cover.
To take: Coastal Carolina wins 38-20 and covers the gap.
- Michigan State at # 24 Miami (-6) (12pm, ABC)
The Hurricanes are 0-2 ATS this season, and we weren’t thrilled with how they played in either game. The Spartans, however, have found the right combination with quarterback Payton Thorne and running back Kenneth Walker III. The Spartans won this one straight away.
To take: Michigan State wins 30-27 in a UPSET.
RELATED: Fans Save Falling Cat at Miami Game
- Northern Illinois to Michigan # 25 (-27.5) (12 p.m., BTN)
Michigan is again classified under Jim Harbaugh, which means the gaps are going to be bigger now. The Wolverines will continue to roll with a rushed attack averaging 339 yards per game, but they also need to work on the passing game. Northern Illinois has played two crazy games so far. This one, they get the back door cover.
To take: Michigan wins 38-14 but does not cover the gap.
- Purdue at No.12 Notre-Dame (-7.5) (2:30 p.m., NBC)
The Irish are 0-2 ATS and a tough team to understand after survival mode wins over Florida State and Toledo. These teams haven’t met since 2014, so emotions should be running high. The Irish close this one without as much drama.
To take: Notre Dame wins 34-21 and covers the gap.
RELATED: Notre Dame QB Put Finger Back On Before Throwing Winning TD
- No. 1 Alabama (-15) to No. 11 Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS)
This is a huge statement game for Florida, who proved they can hang on to Alabama in the SEC Championship game last season. Bryce Young will be making his first start in a real road game, and The Swamp should be up to it. The Gators have lost three home games under Dan Mullen. Look for the Crimson Tide to stay in control and move away in the second half.
To take: Alabama wins 34-17 and covers the gap.
- Kent State at No.5 in Iowa (-22.5) (3:30 p.m., BTN)
That gap continues to grow, a nod to a nasty Iowa defense who allowed just 11.5 points in two games and scored three touchdowns. Kent State almost covered against Texas A&M, however, and Dustin Crum is a veteran quarterback who can chain a few records. The Golden Flashes slip under the blanket.
To take: Iowa wins 34-13 but doesn’t cover the gap.
- Georgia Tech at No.6 Clemson (-28.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Clemson beat Georgia Tech 73-7 last season, and they’ve won the last three home games averaging 23.7 points per game. The Tigers are yet to give up an offensive touchdown, and if they can avoid the turnovers, cover is possible. This is one of the toughest calls with a wide spread.
To take: Clemson wins 44-13 and covers the gap.
- Tulsa at Ohio State No.9 (-26.5) (3:30 p.m., FS1)
The Buckeyes were shocked by a non-conference loss to Oregon, and the defense will be the focus against an offense from Tulsa who is averaging 20 points per game for two weeks. Look for the Buckeyes to get the better of both sides in a resounding victory.
To take: Ohio State wins 52-17 and covers the gap.
- Georgia Southern at # 20 Arkansas (-23.5) (4 p.m., SECN)
FAU beat the Eagles 38-6 making it hard to trust them on the road against the Scorching Razorbacks. Arkansas runs the risk of emotional disappointment after the big win over Texas, and maybe Georgia Southern can take advantage of that with their heavy offense.
To take: Arkansas wins 31-10 but does not cover the spread.
- South Carolina at No.2 in Georgia (-30.5) (7 p.m., ESPN)
Georgia answered questions about their attack in a blowout against UAB last week, and Kirby Smart will surely remind his side of the double-overtime loss to the Gamecocks in Athens in 2019. This is the SEC’s first game. for both teams and the first year coach. The first taste of Shane Beamer’s rivalry. It still seems like too many points, even against a nasty Georgian defense.
To take: Georgia wins 39-10 but does not cover the gap.
- # 22 Auburn to # 10 Penn State (-5.5) (7:30 p.m. ABC)
Auburn did not face a Big Ten opponent in the regular season in 1931. The “Whiteout” will be a tough test, and junior Bo Nix will need to be effective against a tough defense from Penn State. The Nittany Lions are making enough big plays in the passing game to claim a key non-conference victory.
To take: Penn State wins 31-24 and covers the spread.
- Virginia at # 21 North Carolina (-9.5) (7:30 p.m., ACCN)
Virginia has claimed four straight wins in this series, and the Cavaliers have a unique opportunity to take the Tar Heels down further in the ACC Coastal pecking order. These four wins are 10 points or less. It might be a trendy upset choice, but we love the Tar Heels to win a thriller.
To take: North Carolina wins 31-28 but does not cover the gap.
- Tulane at # 17 Ole Miss (-14.5) (8 p.m., ESPN2)
The instinct is to bet on the Green Wave to cover again after the effort against Oklahoma two weeks ago. Both teams have scored big numbers against FCS Schools this week, so it will be a shootout. Since the line has dropped a point, there is some value in taking out the rebels (and more).
To take: Ole Miss wins 49-31 and covers the gap.
- No. 19 Arizona State (-2) at No. 23 BYU (10:15 p.m., ESPN)
BYU has a shot at knocking out three back-to-back Pac-12 opponents, and Jaren Hall has become a playmaker as the Cougars quarterback. Arizona State counter with a ruthless hasty attack led by Jayden Daniels and Rachaad White. The Sun Devils score a tough road victory.
To take: Arizona State wins 30-24 to cover the gap.
MORE: Oregon’s anger at Ohio State puts Pac-12 flag back in national conversation
- No. 14 Iowa State (-30.5) at UNLV (10:30 p.m., CBSSN)
UNLV covered a wide spread against the Sun Devils in Week 2. It’s an odd date in the calendar for an Iowa State team that just lost a rivalry. The Rebels can squeak a second blanket in two weeks if they avoid the early home punch.
To take: Iowa State wins 38-10 but doesn’t cover the spread.
- Fresno State at No. 13 UCLA (-11.5) (10:45 p.m., Pac-12 network)
Both teams are 2-0 ATS this season, and it should be an exciting offensive game. Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener has eight touchdowns and no interceptions, and UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet is averaging 13.1 yards per carry. Big games are coming from both sides. Fresno State has won the last three games, so it will be worth staying up late.
To take: UCLA wins 38-28 but doesn’t cover the spread.