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Spread picks for every college football game in 2018’s Week 3

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LSU’s got a statement opportunity against Auburn, TCU tries to stop a runaway train at Jerry World, and everything else from Week 3.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Below are FBS picks and projections using the S&P+ projections, listed in full for all 130 FBS teams here. See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. The team in bold is projected to beat the spread. (At most books, there is no listed spread for FCS games.) When S&P+ predicts a tie or a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I list the pick on the side S&P+ would pick if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory. This year, I am including and monitoring total (over/under) picks as well.

Thursday

NCAA Football: Holy Cross at Boston College
BC’s Mehdi El Attrach (25) and Marcus Valdez (97)
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
  • Charlotte (+1) 25, Old Dominion 23 (Sep. 13, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • Boston College (-4.5) 37, Wake Forest 24 (Sep. 13, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Utah State 37, Tennessee Tech 0 (Sep. 13, 8 p.m. ET, Facebook)

Finally some real competition for Boston College. The Eagles beat UMass and Holy Cross by a combined 117-35, but Wake is a few rungs up the ladder. Note the weird, weather-related kickoff time.

Friday

NCAA Football: Memphis at Navy
Memphis’ Darrell Henderson (8) and Kenny Gainwell (19)
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Memphis (-27.5) 47, Georgia State 10 (Sep. 14, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Memphis suffered the least likely loss of the season at Navy last weekend. The Tigers’ postgame win probability — in which I basically throw all the key stats from a game up into the air and produce a figure that says, “Based on these stats, you could have expected to win this game X percent of the time — was 98 percent. They dominated everywhere but the most important place, losing 22-21. That probably will not happen again on Friday.

Ranked vs. ranked

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Ohio State
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 4 Ohio State (-13) 39, No. 15 TCU 20 (Sep. 15, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)
  • No. 7 Auburn 23, No. 12 LSU (+10) 23 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) (actual projected score: Auburn 23.4, LSU 23.2)
  • No. 17 Boise State (+2.5) 30, No. 24 Oklahoma State 28 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Like BC, Ohio State has dominated inferior competition so far this year. Unlike BC, Ohio State already had a track record.

Other ranked teams in action

NCAA Football: Michigan at Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 1 Alabama (-21.5) 49, Ole Miss 27 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • No. 2 Clemson 45, Georgia Southern (+33) 20 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
  • No. 3 Georgia (-33.5) 52, Middle Tennessee 7 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET)
  • No. 5 Oklahoma (-18) 46, Iowa State 13 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, ABC)
  • No. 6 Wisconsin (-22) 44, BYU 11 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
  • No. 8 Notre Dame 24, Vanderbilt (+13.5) 20 (Sep. 15, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
  • No. 9 Stanford 37, UC Davis 0 (Sep. 15, 2 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
  • No. 10 Washington 20, Utah (+6) 15 (Sep. 15, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • No. 11 Penn State 46, Kent State (+35) 17 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, FS1)
  • No. 16 Mississippi State 44, UL-Lafayette (+33) 22 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • No. 19 Michigan (-36) 47, SMU 5 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • No. 20 Oregon (-41) 57, San Jose State 9 (Sep. 15, 5 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
  • Toledo (+10.5) 29, No. 21 Miami 21 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
  • Texas (-3) 27, No. 22 USC 23 (Sep. 15, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • No. 23 Arizona State (-4.5) 28, San Diego State 17 (Sep. 15, 10:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Notre Dame has bailed itself out with big plays so far, but the one-dimensional Irish offense could find itself laboring against a Vandy defense that hasn’t allowed many big plays thus far. If Vandy can turn this game into a slog, there is upset potential here.

Power 5 vs. Power 5

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Missouri
Missouri’s Drew Lock
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
  • Duke (+6) 39, Baylor 28 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
  • Florida State 28, Syracuse (+3) 27 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Georgia Tech (-4) 37, Pittsburgh 23 (Sep. 15, 12:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
  • Kansas 19, Rutgers (+2.5) 17 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, FSN)
  • Missouri (-6) 39, Purdue 25 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN)

Drew Lock and the Mizzou offense carved up UT Martin and Wyoming. What can they do against a frustrated Purdue defense that stops the run but has struggled to stop the pass?

FBS vs. FBS

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Colorado State
Arkansas’ Cole Kelley
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arkansas 31, North Texas (+7) 28 (Sep. 15, 4 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • Army (-6) 46, Hawaii 38 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
  • Eastern Michigan (+3) 31, Buffalo 31 (Sep. 15, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN+) (actual projected score: EMU 31.3, UB 31.2)
  • Florida (-20) 47, Colorado State 22 (Sep. 15, 4 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • Fresno State (-1) 32, UCLA 17 (Sep. 15, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
  • Houston (-1) 35, Texas Tech 31 (Sep. 15, 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Indiana (-14.5) 33, Ball State 14 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Kansas State 36, UTSA (+21.5) 15 (Sep. 15, 4 p.m. ET, FSN)
  • Louisville 32, Western Kentucky (+22.5) 16 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
  • Maryland (-16) 38, Temple 19 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Massachusetts (+4) 37, Florida International 32 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, beIN)
  • Minnesota (-12.5) 31, Miami-OH 12 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Nebraska (-12) 45, Troy 22 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Nevada 33, Oregon State (+3) 33 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3) (actual projected score: Nevada 32.8, OSU 32.79)
  • New Mexico (-4) 38, New Mexico State 28 (Sep. 15, 8 p.m. ET, ELVN)
  • Northern Illinois (-14) 24, Central Michigan 3 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • Northwestern 25, Akron (+21) 19 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • South Alabama (-10.5) 33, Texas State 20 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • South Florida (-10) 39, Illinois 25 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Tennessee (-31.5) 53, UTEP 13 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • Texas A&M (-27) 45, UL-Monroe 11 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • Tulane (-3.5) 33, UAB 27 (Sep. 15, 1 p.m. ET, Facebook)
  • Tulsa (+1) 33, Arkansas State 28 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
  • Virginia (-3.5) 44, Ohio 25 (Sep. 15, 4:30 PM ET, ACCN)

Arkansas’ season outlook changed quite a bit when the Hogs blew a late lead at Colorado State. Can they rebound against a North Texas that has thus far looked like the class of Conference USA?

FBS vs. FCS

NCAA Football: Arizona at Houston
Arizona’s Khalil Tate
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arizona 20, Southern Utah 10 (Sep. 15, 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
  • Bowling Green 25, Eastern Kentucky 19 (Sep. 15, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • California 34, Idaho State 0 (Sep. 15, 6 p.m.ET, Pac-12)
  • Cincinnati 49, Alabama A&M 0 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • Colorado 25, New Hampshire 6 (Sep. 15, 5 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
  • Connecticut 25, Rhode Island 13 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • Florida Atlantic 38, Bethune-Cookman 0 (Sep. 15, 6 p.m. ET, Stadium)
  • Iowa 20, Northern Iowa 0 (Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
  • Kentucky 43, Murray State 0 (Sep. 15, 12 p.m. ET, SECN)
  • Navy 33, Lehigh 12 (Sep. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
  • UNLV 35, Prairie View A&M 4 (Sep. 15, 10 p.m. ET, MWC Video)
  • Washington State 26, Eastern Washington 0 (Sep. 15, 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
  • Western Michigan 35, Delaware State 2 (Sep. 15, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
  • Wyoming 18, Wofford 9 (Sep. 15, 4 p.m. ET, Stadium)

Man, if Khalil Tate (probable after suffering an ankle injury against Houston) and the Arizona offense don’t get untracked this week, it may not happen this year.


Each year, I post weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own.

And beyond picks, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles as proof.)