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COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMBLING: A Texas-Cal barnburner and 23 other great Week 3 bets

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A big Saturday on the field is also a chance for this betting column to overcome some bad early luck.

UTEP v Texas Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.

Season record: 12-23 (34 percent)

Bill Parcells famously said, "You are what your record says you are."

My SB Nation colleague Bill Connelly often argues differently and says digging deeper is required. I hope Connelly is more right than Parcells, because my record this year is horrible.

But it’s been particularly horrible in games where the spread was decided by a razor-thin margin. Experts will tell you teams in games decided by single scores will have records fairly close to .500 over a relevant sample set, because there is a lot of luck involved. My record in games decided by a field goal or less this year is 1-7. In games where the result was decided by a single score or less, it’s 5-14. I’ve made some bad picks, but I’ve had bad luck; 60 percent of my wins have been by two scores or more, compared to 40 percent of my losses.

To the bets!

Thursday

1. Houston at Cincinnati +8.5: Cincinnati is a tough place to play on a weeknight, and I do not know how healthy Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. really is.

Friday

2. Baylor at Rice +31.5: Baylor did not look great against SMU and has its Big 12 opener on deck against Oklahoma State.

3. Arizona State at UTSA +20: Arizona State is coming off a big win over Texas Tech and has its Pac-12 opener next week. This is a sandwich situation.

Saturday

4. Michigan State at Notre Dame -7.5: Is Michigan State good enough to get out of its own way on offense? DeShone Kizer is a star for the Irish.

5. Alabama -10.5 at Ole Miss: This is a double revenge game for Nick Saban, and Ole Miss is more one-dimensional than ever on offense.

6. Georgia at Missouri +7: This is an attempt to fade the public, which is betting Georgia heavily, yet most books are sticking around a touchdown.

7. Mississippi State at LSU -13.5: Mississippi State is in a bit of a rebuilding year, and the price on an LSU bet has perhaps never been cheaper under Les Miles.

8. Georgia State +35 at Wisconsin: The Badgers have a game at Michigan State next week, so this is a clear look-ahead situation.

9. Vanderbilt +7 at Georgia Tech: Getting a full touchdown with the Commodores’ defense is quite valuable. The offense looked better in Week 2. Tech also has a short week with Clemson on deck Thursday.

10. Army at UTEP +4: Army is now 2-0, and while it has played well, the price is now over-inflated.

11. Louisiana Tech +11.5 at Texas Tech: Could the Red Raiders be hungover after getting drilled by Arizona State? Louisiana Tech has played two solid games so far.

12. Texas State +32 at Arkansas: Arkansas just played an epic overtime game against TCU and has another huge contest against Texas A&M next. This is a sandwich situation, and Texas State is bad but not awful, an important distinction in betting.

13. Ohio +28 at Tennessee: Tennessee also has a big sandwich spot, having just played Virginia Tech and hosting Florida next week. The Volunteers offense works much better with Josh Dobbs running, but will Butch Jones run him much in a sleepy nooner?

14. Akron +17.5 at Marshall: Marshall is riding high and hosts Louisville next week. This line is a field goal too high.

15. Oregon at Nebraska -3: Oregon’s run defense is a major concern, and much of the public reaction has been to take Oregon, so I’ll side with Vegas.

16. UCLA -2.5 at BYU: BYU is off an emotional loss to Utah. UCLA is fresh and has the better quarterback.

17. South Alabama at Louisiana Lafayette -2.5: South Alabama feels a bit inflated, after it beat Mississippi State largely because Dan Mullen didn’t keep QB Nick Fitzgerald in the game.

18. Texas A&M at Auburn -3: In a battle of two top defenses and two questionable offenses, I’ll take the short home favorite.

19. Hawaii +24.5 at Arizona: Arizona has a huge game next week, hosting Washington, and at some point, Hawaii is going to cover a big number.

20. USC +9 at Stanford: Despite a rocky start to the Utah State game in Week 2, USC handled its business and it has the talent to hang with Stanford. Its coaching might make backers regret placing this.

21. Texas -7 at Cal: Cal’s run defense is atrocious, and Texas now faces a similar offense in practice ...

22. Texas at Cal Over 80: ... But I don’t expect Texas to sit on the football. It now runs one of the fastest paces in the nation and Cal should have ample opportunity to put up garbage-time points.

23. Utah at San Jose State +13.5: Why Utah is playing a road game at San Jose State I do not know, but it is in an obvious sandwich spot coming off the BYU win and facing USC next week at home on a Thursday.

24. Idaho +25.5 at Washington State: Idaho got drilled by Washington, but Washington State seems to be having some internal turmoil after its 0-2 start.

25. Navy at Tulane +6: Tulane plays very strong defense, and Navy could have easily lost last week to UConn. This line is probably slightly over-inflated, due to the undefeated start.