Week 3 of the college football season is a really strange one when you consider the fact that there are ZERO matchups between two ranked teams this week. That being said, we will try to identify some nationally relevant teams who are favored that need to be careful or at least be concerned about covering the spread.
Clemson at Syracuse +27.5
Clemson is a 27.5-point favorite in this matchup, and I think that is completely fair given what we saw Maryland do to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. However, I think that you have to take into consideration what Syracuse has done to Clemson over the last two years.
The Orange have had two consecutive one-possession games with the Tigers, and this Syracuse team isn’t that much different from a talent perspective than the last two. Trevor Lawrence did get hurt in the game last year, but Clemson should beat Syracuse by more than four at home regardless of its quarterback.
I don’t think that Syracuse has the horses to win this game, but the Orange have shown that they can really put the pressure on the Tigers, who really looked sloppy in their win over an even more sloppy Texas A&M team.
Florida at Kentucky +8.5
Florida comes into this game as the No. 9 team in the country, but they have not looked like the ninth-best team in the country so far, especially in their first game vs. Miami. I think that Florida has already shown teams that they lack discipline in certain aspects that could be exploited again on the road.
On the other side of the ball, Kentucky lost their quarterback to injury in their last game, and they lost their backup to the transfer portal in the offseason. This now leaves fifth-year senior Sawyer Smith to lead the Wildcats into SEC play.
I think that Florida is the better team, especially with the QB situation at Kentucky, but the line here suggests that the Gators could be in for a wild game.
Pittsburgh +17.5 at Penn State
Penn State had a dominant game vs. a horrible Idaho team in its first game, then got punched in the mouth by Buffalo before blowing them out in the second half. This game should be a really good litmus test for the Nittany Lions to see exactly where they are at heading into Big Ten play.
Pitt is a team that just last year got to the ACC Championship Game, although that does NOT mean that they are a great football team. However, it does mean that they can keep themselves in games and win a close one from time to time.
I expect Penn State to struggle at times in this game and I think that the Panthers can cover here.
Florida State +7 at Virginia
Virginia is the better football team in this game, but Florida State has the better players. This line might be the sketchiest of the day, and that is why I am prepared to see the Seminoles pull off a crazy win on Saturday night.
Virginia is not a power by any means, but they are a fundamentally-sound team with a few good players scattered throughout. Florida State is the complete opposite of fundamentally sound, but they are riddled with talent that has really never come to fruition.
Maybe FSU shows up big time in this game after a second wake-up call last week and shows that they are simply the more talented football team on the field in this game.
Oklahoma at UCLA +23.5
This is another interesting game with a team that should be better than how they have played so far. UCLA has looked really bad in its first two games, particularly on offense, where their head coach Chip Kelly specializes.
I don’t think that the Bruins can pull off the upset, but I do think that at some point, this offense has to get going a little bit, and UCLA has played decent defense to start the year. I am really looking forward to seeing Oklahoma and Jalen Hurts being tested as an offense because I think that they will eventually fall short when faced with an elite defense, but UCLA is not that.
The question I have is, can the Bruins force just one or two bad throws from Hurts and capitalize on it? Hurts and Oklahoma have been great so far, but they have played an FCS team and one of the worst defenses in the country. I do think they have less overall talent on the offense than they have had for the last few years, especially if you don’t count some of the talent that does not play much yet.