On paper, Week 3 of the college football season looks somewhat ordinary. But be careful, now. This is what the sport wants you to think.
It wants you to believe that this particular lineup will be as calm as it seems on paper. That, of course, is where the sport is normally at its best and most chaotic.
As for upsets, CFB has kicked off the 2021 season with a bang. The highest-profile games of Week 2, Ohio State-Oregon and Iowa-Iowa State, were won by the underdog.
Can that trend continue? There are certainly plenty of options with lively underdogs.
Here are upset picks for Week 3, using lines from Caesars Sportsbook.
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CFB Week 3 Upset Predictions
Indiana (+3.5) vs. No. 8 Cincinnati
The No. 8 ranked team in the AP Poll is giving only 3.5 points to an unranked team with one blowout loss already on its resume in only two weeks of play (more on that loss in a moment.)
Yes, this is a sizable game for the Bearcats. In fact, if Cincinnati is to sniff the College Football Playoff, the Bearcats have to win this game. Well, and pretty much every game, for that matter. Even that might not be enough.
I expected this line to move in Cincinnati’s favor throughout the week. It moved about a half-point, although that’s pretty much It. That’s surprising, especially considering how public this team will likely be come game time.
I, for one, am doing the opposite.
Prediction: Indiana 31, Cincinnati 28
Indiana Moneyline (+155) at Caesars
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking the points. Getting more than a field goal at home is smart betting. But I absolutely love the value at +155 on the Hoosiers moneyline.
Yes, Indiana struggled in its opener against Iowa. It’s worth noting that: a) that game was played on the road in a difficult environment, b) Iowa might actually be really good after two very convincing wins, and c) Indiana turned the ball over three times in that loss.
I expect a big game from wideout Ty Fryfogle and an underrated Indiana defense.
While the public will jump one way, we’ll go the other.
Indiana-Cincinnati 1st Half Over 24.5 Points (-110) at Caesars
While I referenced Indiana’s defense above, I actually foresee more points in this game than expected.
The Hoosiers will bend but not break. Bigger yet, they will go blow for blow on offense.
With a total of 50.5, I’m expecting much of the damage to take place in the first half. While this won’t be a deluge, there will be touchdowns.
Cincinnati has only allowed 21 points in two games, although those games were against Miami (OH) and Murray State. Indiana, while not an offensive juggernaut, is capable of holding up its end of the bargain to hit this first-half total.
For a more in-depth look at this game, check out Cincinnati vs. Indiana Predictions Week 3.
No. 23 BYU (+4) vs. No. 19 Arizona State
The departure of Zach Wilson, at least thus far, has not slowed down BYU. While the Cougars were sluggish in their opener against Arizona, they still prevailed as a double-digit favorite over a Power Five opponent.
When asked to validate that performance last weekend, BYU dominated Utah on both sides of the ball and pulled off an upset as a touchdown underdog.
This week, they’ll attempt to do it again against yet another Pac-12 foe. Like last week, home field will be in BYU’s favor.
And like last week, this offense will be powered by Jaren Hall, the team’s new QB, who has shown a wealth of promise in short order.
Prediction: BYU 35, Arizona State 31
BYU First Half Moneyline (+135) at Caesars
Beyond the spectacular views, Provo, Utah also packs a potent home-field advantage.
Utah ran into this and looked out of sorts almost instantly. While BYU’s play was a part of that, without question, the combination certainly meshes well.
I expect it to mesh well once again against a team that has shown it can start slow.
In back-to-back weeks, ASU came home out of the gates without much pop. Last week, the Sun Devils led UNLV by four at the half despite being a 35-point favorite.
BYU-Arizona State Over 51.5 Points (-110) at Caesars
The quarterbacks in this game will put on a show. Although the defenses have had their moments, this total feels off.
While I mentioned Hall, ASU QB Jayden Daniels has a chance to blossom into one of the best QBs in this class if he isn’t already.
And although I like BYU in an upset, Daniels will find a way to be far more productive against the Cougars. Just not productive enough.
Michigan State (+6) vs. No. 24 Miami
Is Miami any good? I mean that sincerely.
It’s hard to say after the first few weeks.
Also, why is Miami ranked?
The Hurricanes were blown out by Alabama, which happens to a lot of teams. But a sluggish win over Appalachian State at home is a bit more alarming, and Michigan State feels like the perfect opponent to determine whether these concerns are valid.
The point spread opened at 8, and it has since come down. While I normally try to avoid a crowd when it comes to gambling, something I’ll say on repeat here, I have no problem doing so in this instance.
Michigan State has plenty to prove. There are signs that this team might be better than many were forecasting, having already traveled to Northwestern and won on the road.
A win here, and Sparty will crash the Top 25.
Prediction: Michigan State 30, Miami 24
Michigan State Moneyline (+200) at Caesars
I love this value. While I will also be playing Michigan State against the spread, I cannot turn down +200.
Kenneth Walker III, MSU’s starting running back, has a chance to have a breakout performance. He’s already one of the nation’s leading rushers, although validating it against Miami would go a long way.
App State, despite averaging less than 4 yards per carry, was able to find success on the ground against Miami in Week 2. It sustained drives, which kept Miami QB D’Eriq King largely in check.
That is the blueprint, but only Michigan State is better equipped to follow it.
Michigan State-Miami Under 56.5 Points (-110) at Caesars
This number simply feels a tad too inflated.
I am normally #TeamOver, although not for this game.
Miami has not hit its stride on offense, and Michigan State should prolong that search for another week. The Spartans, meanwhile, will likely try to prolong drives and play ball control with Walker.
As such, I don’t see a lot of explosive plays. The clock should be moving, and the scoring will be somewhat reserved.
Want to place more bets on upcoming games? Check out our following College Football Bet of the Day.