Ben Rasa is back with his CFB Betting picks for College Football Saturday, September 14, including the Iowa Hawkeyes over their in-state rival Cyclones.
Third week of college football and we don’t have many big name matchups to speak of. That happens occasionally and the biggest game looks to be Iowa at Iowa St which isn’t exactly a National Championship preview. However there are still a ton of games and you never know when a huge upset can reshape the entire landscape. There is a full DFS slate to breakdown so make sure to check out the DFS Week 3 College Football article where we will talk about some individual players that you may want to roster on Saturday. This article is going to focus on a few games from a betting perspective and where I am leaning in the betting market.
Don’t forget to check out the Betting Show with Jordan Frank, Ben Rasa and Nolan Kelly – Every Friday at 9 EST. They’ll go over showdown picks and picks against the spread, as well as Ben’s hot take college football picks.
Iowa at Iowa St 4 PM EST : Iowa -2 O/U 43.5
As I said this is the premier game on Week 3, so much so that College Gameday is in Ames. The battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy is one of the best rivalries around and this game usually comes down to the wire.
So far so good for the Hawkeyes, who have beat up on Miami Oh and Rutgers in their first two games. They haven’t left Iowa City, and really haven’t been tested against those opponents. Senior QB Nate Stanley is experienced and one of the better signal callers in the Big Ten and will put some pressure on the ISU defense. The offensive line is banged up with All American tackle Alaric Jackson expected to sit and that is a big void to fill.
Iowa always wants to run the ball and they have a handful of reliable backs to hand the ball to. Its no surprise to see an Iowa team that wants to control the clock and really grind out games as HC Kirk Ferentz has been doing that for decades. The O/U in this one sits at just 43.5 so neither team is expected to really come out firing and light up the scoreboard.
Defensively is the question mark for me as Iowa’s first two opponent didn’t push them and the Hawkeyes only returned four starters from last year. Add in that currently they are a little banged up in the secondary and this Iowa State offense is going to find out quickly exactly how good this D is.
We have only seen Iowa State once this year back in Week 1 against Northern Iowa. It wasn’t the best effort as it took triple OT to defeat the FCS Panthers, but nevertheless ISU is 1-0. They have experience on both sides of the ball with 16 starters returning and a legit QB in Sophomore Brock Purdy.
Coming off the bye week ISU should be sharper and they will need to be if they want to break this four game losing streak to Iowa. To me the big advantage Iowa St should have is upfront where they have one of the better D-lines in the entire country. That is going to put pressure on Iowa’s protection and with them a little thin upfront it could really cause problems on the road for the Iowa offense.
Both teams sport quarterbacks who can make plays and as this spread indicates it’s a toss up situation. Iowa State HC Matt Campbell has not beaten Iowa and this is a spot where at home off a bye he needs to have his team ready to play. I think the injuries in both the secondary and upfront cause some problems for an untested Iowa team and they leave Ames with their first loss of the season.
My Pick: Iowa St +2
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Arizona St at Michigan St 7 PM EST: Michigan St -14, O/U 41.5
This spread opened at -10.5 so clearly it has been moving and I see some -14.5’s out there so make sure to shop around for the best number available. Arizona State and Mich St both come in 2-0, but as the spread indicates Vegas has them in different classes and this game will certainly be a measuring stick for both programs.
Arizona State is coach by Herm Edwards and led by a Freshman QB in Jaylen Daniels who hasn’t seen anything like the Spartans defense so far. Last week ASU won 19-7 against FCS Sacramento State and in Week 1 beat up on Kent State 30-7. The 12 point win last week is concerning as they offense looked sloppy and the talent gap between these opponents couldn’t be bigger.
If ASU is going to win they have to be better upfront and allow RB Eno Benjamin to have some opportunities to break free. He is going to be busy as he is the big playmaker on this offense and needs to take the pressure off Daniels in his first road game. Defensively ASU has looked good, but the quality of opponent once again makes it hard to tell exactly where the unit is. Michigan States offense isn’t high powered, but they are going to test the Sun Devil D right from the opening kick.
MSU also comes in 2-0 cruising past Tulsa and Western Michigan both at home. The Spartans have a senior QB in Brian Lewerke and are always known for a ground and pound type scheme that allows them to rely on their defense. This year they have 9 starters back on the offense and will easily build off the terrible 18.7 PPG in 2018.
This Spartans defense is no joke and when you combine that with the problems on Arizona State’s O-line it could be a disaster. Currently Michigan State is giving up on average -3 yards rushing a game. Yes you read that right as Tulsa ran for a whopping -73 yards while Western Michigan went nuclear getting a positive 67 on the ground. This shows MSU gets after quarterbacks and can rack up the sacks in a hurry if you cannot protect.
Not much needs to be said here for me as this spread has exploded and for good reason. Hopefully you still have some good numbers out there as this is a game I had my eye on for a bit this week and think that Michigan State completely shuts down this Arizona State offense in route to an easy W in East Lansing.
My Pick: Michigan St -14
NC State at West Virginia 12 PM EST : NC State -6.5, O/U 45.5
This feels like a giant trap and I’m probably going to fall right in it, but here we go with NC State in Morgantown to take on West Virginia.
I was against them when they played East Carolina and they were impressive rolling thru the Pirates and now showing much of a drop off from the massive losses on the offensive side of the ball. In Week 2 NC State shut out Western Carolina which means almost nothing, so it remains to be seen how good they are. Still they clearly have something working with QB Matthew McKay and the reason I like this game has more to do with their opponent rather then NC State themselves.
It looked like this would be a tough year for the Mountaineers and I shorted them a bit before the season started in the win total department. HC Dana Holgorsen left for Houston and they lost a ton on both sides of the ball leaving them with a major rebuild for 2019.
They opened with a hard fought win against a quality FCS James Madison team and then went to Missouri in Week 2. I’ve seen A LOT of horrible football in my time, but this was up there on teams who just look completely lost. West Virginia had 32 rushes for 30 yards and Mizzou led 31-0 at halftime. Keep in mind Missouri was coming off a loss to Wyoming so they aren’t exactly a juggernaut and this WVU offense is just brutally ineffective.
I know being at home especially in an environment like Morgantown is a big deal, but I cannot back a team with such a poor offensive unit. WVU should struggle once again and even though NC State to me is an average at best ACC team I think they are able to win this going away and really start to show that WVU is destined for the bottom of the Big 12 this season.
My Pick: NC State -6.5
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Good Luck everyone!