College Football Betting: What We Learned from Week 3

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 28th, 2023
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College Football Betting: What We Learned from Week 3
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We learned that Penn State, one of our best bets on Friday, is much better than preseason expectations. I thought this after Week 1 when they won at Purdue in come-from-behind fashion late in the game. 

I was at the window betting on the Nittany Lions again in Week 3 in their complete domination of Auburn 41-12 and easily covered the spread as 3-point road favorites. The loss marked the fifth worst margin of defeat and ninth worst against the spread (ATS) margin in a home Auburn game over the past 42 seasons.

We learned that Notre Dame is awful. I was on California +12.5 points and somewhat disappointed I did not get the straight-up victory.


How Big Underdogs Faired

There have been 310 underdogs of 17.5 or more points that won the game SU since 1992 and 67 of them have occurred over the past four seasons. 

Week 3 was unkind to the underdogs as they went 2-29 straight up (SU) and 11-20 ATS, including a 20-10-1 Over-Under mark, good for 67% winning Over bets. 

I believe my predictive model will target a few of these large dogs in Week 4 action.

As expected, the ranked teams in the AP Poll did quite well, posting a 22-3 SU mark along with an 18-7 ATS record good for 72% winning bets, including a 14-10-1 Over-Under record. 

Ranked teams that were double-digit favorites posted a 19-0 SU record and 15-4 ATS record, good for 79% winning bets, including a mostly even 10-8-1 Over-Under record (10 of the 19 games went Over their respective totals while eight when Under their respective totals and with one tie against the total).

How Did the Conferences Play?

The SEC was on top with 11 wins and went 8-6 ATS in Week 3. The ACC won 10 games but went just 4-9 ATS. So, they may still be overvalued by the market.

The Big Ten posted nine wins and went 8-5 ATS and a positive reflection on this conference is that the market undervalues Penn State. Don't forget, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are in this conference, and in a few weeks, they will become a potential betting option.

The Pac-12 won eight games and earned a highly profitable 8-3 ATS record. I was on Oregon as a premium bet, and it dominated BYU. Here again, the market has most Pac-12 programs priced cheaply.

The Big 12 won seven games on a 7-2 ATS record and this conference may be the most undervalued one across the board. So, I plan to keep those teams on my radar for Week 4.

The Sun Belt regressed after taking down two ranked opponents in Week 2 and went 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS in Week 3. I think those matchups involving a Sun Belt team will be ones I will focus on spending more time than usual to identify potential best bets.


For Maryland Bettors: Caesars Sportsbook Maryland will soon go live when the online betting market is regulated. The launch is expected to occur in December 2022.

Food for the Betting Souls

I am looking at some solid betting opportunities involving ranked teams that have covered the spread in the first three weeks and now are favored in Week 4. 

Teams that are ranked in the Top 25 and have won three games in a row against the spread are 36-10 straight up but, 17-29 (ATS) for 37% winning bets, including an even 22-22 with one push record on the Over-Under since the start of the 2009 season.

The teams playing in Week 4 that have won three consecutive games against the spread are the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Tennessee Volunteers, the Texas Longhorns, the Kentucky Wildcats, the USC Trojans, and the Washington Huskies. 

All these teams are ripe for regression and a below-average performance in their Week 4 matchups. I will look at these games closely and then see what my predictive model says.

These matchups are:

Penn State -26 home favorite vs. Central Michigan.

Tennessee -11 home favorite vs. SEC foe Florida.

Texas -5.5 road favorite vs. Big-12 foe Texas Tech.

Kentucky -25.5 home favorite vs. Northern Illinois.

USC -8.5 road favorite vs. Pac-12 foe Oregon State.

Washington -12.5 home favorite vs. Pac-12 foe Stanford.

Best Bet of the Week So Far

In Week 4, ranked teams in the AP poll that have covered the spread in their three previous games and taking on a non-conference foe are 17-3 SU, but a concerning 7-13 ATS for 35% winning bets, including a mostly even 10-9 Over-Under record. 

So, that puts Penn State and Kentucky on alert. I don't expect either of them to lose, priced as big home favorites playing in front of large crowds against teams from the mid-conferences, but they might not cover the spread. 

Beware of buying these favorites this week and I will be tomorrow with more college football betting opportunities on this week's schedule.