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After an exciting Week 2, I have four games that I like in Week 3. Despite an exciting slate of games between major college football programs, most of the best betting games are between mid-major opponents.
Below, I discuss four non-conference games I like from the group of five programs and offer up CFB best bets of the week
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CFB Week 3 Predictions
#16 Coastal Carolina (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1)
Since last year, Coastal Carolina has established itself as one of the best group of five programs. Last year, the Chanticleers finished the season with an 11-1 record and were ranked as the 14th best team in the final AP poll. Currently, CCU is ranked as the 16th best team.
In their first two games, Coastal Carolina picked up where they left off with a 52-14 win against Citadel and a 49-22 win last week against Kansas. The Chanticleers’ offensive identity is clear, as 64.5 percent of their offensive plays are running plays, which is the 14th most in the FBS. For Buffalo to have a chance against Coastal, they must stop the run.
Buffalo, like Coastal Carolina, has had recent success as a program. However, their head coach, Lance Leipold, left this offseason for Kansas. Last week against Nebraska, Buffalo lost 3-28. In that game, the Huskers ran for 220 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
What should be most troubling for the Bulls is that their quarterback, Kyle Vantrease, threw for only 224 passing yards despite throwing for 50 passing attempts. Currently, Coastal Carolina is limiting opposing quarterbacks to a competition percentage of only 51.72 percent, and last year opposing quarterbacks had a 61.6 completion percentage against CCU.
The question for Saturday’s game is if Coastal Carolina can run the table against Buffalo.
Prediction: Coastal Carolina 45, Buffalo 24
Best Bet: Coastal Carolina -10.5 (-110) at Caesars (would bet up to -13.5)
Wager: 1 Unit
Buffalo, despite early troubles this season, should be competitive in the MAC this year. However, against Coastal Carolina, they are clearly overmatched.
The Chanticleers are one of the best group of five programs, and they are going to look to run the table against Buffalo so they can win a spot in a BCS bowl. Coastal is certainly capable of winning by a big margin against strong teams, as evidenced by their dominating victory against BYU last season.
The Chanticleers should run the ball well against the Bulls and limit their passing attack. That is why I like the Coastal Carolina spread at -10.5, and I would bet it up to -13.5.
Colorado State (0-2) at Toledo (1-1)
Saturday’s late afternoon game between Colorado State and Toledo is not a marquee matchup, but from a betting angle, it is very compelling. Colorado State is a weak team out of the Mountain West Conference, while Toledo is a strong team out of the MAC. The MAC is arguably the weakest conference, while the Mountain West is one of the stronger group of five conferences.
The question is should Toledo be a heavy favorite against Colorado State.
Last week on the road against 12th ranked Notre Dame, Toledo lost 32-29 as a 16.5 underdog. The Fighting Irish this season have a chance to make the College Football Playoff, yet the Rockets lost to them by only three points.
In that game, Toledo had a decent running and passing game, and they put up a respectable defensive performance against Notre Dame. Against Colorado State, they should put up a strong performance again.
The Rams have lost both of their games this season despite being favored in each game. Against an FCS program in South Dakota State, Colorado State lost 42-23. Against Vanderbilt, arguably the weakest power five team that isn’t Kansas, CSU lost 24-21 last week.
Toledo should easily beat Colorado State, but the question is if they can win by more than two touchdowns.
Prediction: Colorado State 10, Toledo 40
Best Bet: Toledo -14 (-110) at BetMGM (would bet up to -19.5)
Wager: 1 Unit
Toledo’s close game against Notre Dame is no fluke as they have consistently been a strong program over the last few years. Against a Colorado State program that lost what should have been easy wins against South Dakota State and Vanderbilt, Toledo should win by a large margin.
Currently, the Rockets are favored by 14 points against the Rams, but the line should move over the next few days. If Toledo is favored by less than 20 points, I recommend a bet on their spread.
Ball State (1-1) at Wyoming (2-0)
In another MAC vs. Mountain West matchup, the Wyoming Cowboys host the Ball State Cardinals. Both teams have been winning teams recently. Ball State won the MAC last season, and Wyoming has been a winning team since head coach Craig Bohl joined the program in 2014.
With Ball State playing a team from a tougher conference on the road, it is not surprising that Wyoming is a touchdown favorite. However, looking more closely at the game, the Cardinals should give the Cowboys a tough time.
So far this season, despite starting 2-0, Wyoming has looked weak. In Week 1 against Montana State, an FCS school, the Cowboys won 19-16 as a 19-point favorite. Last week against Northern Illinois as a seven-point favorite, Wyoming won 50-43.
Even though the spread pushed in the Cowboys last game, their slim victory over lowly Northern Illinois should be worrying. Last season, Northern Illinois went 0-6 in arguably the weakest FBS conference. At one point in last week’s game, Wyoming was ahead 42-29, yet they blew the lead.
Ball State returns 20 starters from a strong 2020 team. They may have lost their last game against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions should compete for a College Football playoff spot this year.
The question for Saturday’s late afternoon game is if Wyoming deserves to be favored.
Prediction: Ball State 27, Wyoming 21
Best Bet 1: Ball State +7 (-110) at BetRivers (would bet up to +3)
Wager: 0.75 Units
Because they play in a stronger conference and are at home, Wyoming should be favored against Ball State. But setting them as a touchdown favorite is an overreaction.
Ball State should at least beat Wyoming or lose by less than a touchdown. The Cardinals have been a strong team recently, and the Cowboys look vulnerable. I would take Ball State as up to a +3 spread underdog in Saturday’s game.
Best Bet 2: Ball State Moneyline (+190) at Caesars (would bet up to +140)
Wager: 0.75 Units
Ball State could plausibly win, and at +190 odds, they are worth a moneyline bet. At +190, the Cardinals must win more than 34.5 percent of the time against the Cowboys for this bet to be a good idea.
I believe that Ball State has a much better chance of winning than their moneyline odds imply.
If you have yet to sign up for a account, this is a great bet to use for your $5000 risk-free bet offer. If you bet $100 on Ball State, you either win $190 or get a $100 free bet if they lose.
Utah State (2-0) at Air Force (2-0)
On Saturday night, the most exciting game by far will be between Penn State and Auburn. However, there are other exciting betting games at that time and one of them is between Utah State and Air Force.
I have been bullish about Utah State this year, as I even picked them to win as +700 underdogs against Washington State in Week 1. With a new head coach in Blake Anderson from Arkansas State, I believe that bettors and linemakers do not respect how good of a coach Anderson is.
Last week, Utah State won 48-24 as 6.5 point favorites against North Dakota. In Week 1, the Aggies beat Washington State 26-23. Despite two impressive wins, oddsmakers are skeptical of the Aggies’ chances against Air Force.
Air Force is a very interesting team to bet on. They run a triple-option run-based offense that is designed to wear down opponents and run down the clock. Against Navy last week, the Falcons won 23-3. Generally, AF will win or lose games by a touchdown or less.
In what is expected to be a low-scoring close game, the question is if Air Force can win by more points than usual against an upstart Utah State program.
Prediction: Utah State 28, Air Force 21
Best Bet 1: Utah State Moneyline (+300) at BetMGM (would bet up to +190)
Wager: 1 Unit
At +300, the Aggies money line is worth a flier against an unproven Falcons team. Air Force offensively is a one-trick pony, as all they do is run the ball. Currently, the Falcons run 84.3 percent of the time on their offensive plays, the second-most in the FBS. Last year, 83.2 percent of Air Force plays were running plays.
Last week against North Dakota, Utah State limited North Dakota to only 65 rushing yards for an average of only 2.7 yards per carry. Additionally, they didn’t allow a single rushing touchdown. If the Aggies can do that to Air Force, they will win the game.
At +300, the Utah State money line is worth a bet, and I would bet it up to +190.
Best Bet Spread: Utah State +9.5 (-109) at BetRivers (would bet up to +6)
Wager: .75 Units
If I am wrong about Utah State this year being a strong team, they could still easily cover the spread against a conservative Air Force offense. Triple-Option teams like Air Force have a hard time covering spreads of more than a touchdown. This is because they run down the clock with their style of play.
With a point total currently at 51.5 with the potential to go lower, the odds of a Falcons blowout win are slimmer than if there is a point total set at a higher number. Utah State, if they lose, should keep this game close, and that is why I like the spread in addition to the moneyline.