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College football Week 3 betting trends to know – ESPN



September 19, 2020
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3:30 PM ET

  • ESPN Stats & Information

College football action continues into Week 3. Here are some betting trends and stats to know prior to kickoff on Saturday.

Odds listed are from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and subject to change.


Tulsa Golden Hurricaneat No. 11Oklahoma State Cowboys(-22.5, 66.5), noon ET (on ESPN)

• Tulsa has covered five straight against ranked opponents.

• Oklahoma State has covered 15 of its past 20 games against nonconference opponents, including 14 of its past 16 dating to 2016.

• Big 12 is 2-5 against the spread (ATS) against non-Power 5 teams this season, including three straight-up (SU) losses (all to Sun Belt). That is tied for the most losses in Big 12 season openers to non-Power 5 opponents since 1978 (FBS era).

Stats to know:Both teams rank top-15 in percentage of returning yards on offense. Tulsa returns 93% (8th) while Oklahoma State returns 87% (15th).

No. 19Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns(-17, 58.5) atGeorgia State Panthers, noon ET (on ESPN2)

• Louisiana is 42-23-2 ATS (65%) in its past 67 road games, including 10-4 ATS under head coach Billy Napier.

• Georgia State is 1-7-2 ATS in its past 10 games as a double-digit underdog.

• Since 2000, there are 128 instances of a team winning SU as a double-digit underdog and then laying double digits in its next game. Teams are 79-54 ATS (59%) in those spots, including 12-3 ATS coming off a season opener. Louisiana won 31-14 as 13-point underdogs in its season opener at Iowa State last week.

Stats to know:Louisiana scored 31 points versus Iowa State, but 14 of those were on special teams. Moving forward, one might expect more from a Ragin’ Cajun offense that put up the 8th-most PPG in the nation last season (37.8) and returns 74% of its offensive production. Note, Georgia State returns 10 of its top 12 tacklers, but the Panthers did allow 36.2 PPG last season (121st out of 130 teams).

Syracuse Orangeat No. 25Pittsburgh Panthers(-22, 50), noon ET (on ACCN)

• Syracuse is 1-5 ATS in its past six road games.

• Pittsburgh has failed to cover 15 of its last 21 games versus FBS opponents when laying 21 points or more.

• Total has gone under in 12 of Syracuse’s last 16 September games.

• Under is 17-7 in Pittsburgh’s last 24 conference games.

Stats to know:The last time Pitt was favored by at least three touchdowns was 2016, also against Syracuse. The Panthers won in a 76-61 shootout and the 137 combined points is still the most points scored in a non-overtime game in FBS history.

Boston College EaglesatDuke Blue Devils(-5.5, 52), noon ET (on ESPN3)

• Boston College is 14-4-1 ATS as a road underdog since 2014.

• BC has won 13 of its last 16 season openers.

• Total has gone under in 21 of 30 games Duke has been favored by 7 points or fewer under head coach David Cutcliffe, including 15 of 19 versus ACC opponents.

Stats to know:BC has a completely revamped coaching staff, including head coach Jeff Hafley and veteran offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. Hafley was the co-defensive coordinator for an Ohio State team that ranked 4th in the nation in PPG allowed (13.7) last season. Meanwhile, Cignetti most recently served as offensive coordinator in the NFL for the Rams (2015) as well as Rutgers (2011) and Pittsburgh (2009-10). If you consider his first season at each of those stops, the under was a combined 29-11.

Navy MidshipmenatTulane Green Wave(-7, 49), noon ET (on ABC)

• Navy has covered five straight following a loss.

• Navy is 31-16 as a road underdog since 2004.

• Tulane has covered 21 of its past 30 games as a favorite.

• Over is 5-0 in Navy’s past five road games.

Stats to know:Navy allowed 55 points to BYU in its season opener and head coach Ken Niumatalolo largely blamed it on deciding against significant contact during fall camp. One thing is for certain, full-contact is back, which might aid the fact that the total has gone under in nine straight after Navy has allowed 50 or more points (games within the same season).

South Florida Bullsat No. 7Notre Dame Fighting Irish(-26, 50), 2:30 p.m. ET

• South Florida has covered nine of its past 11 as an underdog of at least 21 points. The under is also 10-0 in those games (one game without a listed total).

• Since 2016, Notre Dame is 4-10-2 ATS versus unranked opponents as an AP Top-10 team.

• Under is 12-5-1 when Notre Dame is a favorite of at least 24 points (includes all games in our database with over/under data).

Stats to know:Notre Dame’s season opener against Duke was a tale of two halves. The Fighting Irish gave up 246 yards in the first two quarters, but just 86 after halftime.

No. 14UCF Knights(-7.5, 60.5) atGeorgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 3:30 p.m. ET (on ABC)

• UCF has covered four straight season openers.

• Georgia Tech has failed to cover eight of its past 10 as a home underdog.

• Georgia Tech is 4-12 ATS in its past 16 games dating to late 2018.

• Georgia Tech is 1-8 ATS in non-conference games since 2018.

Stats to know:Georgia Tech has lost nine straight versus AP Top-15 teams. The Yellow Jackets’ last such win was a 22-16 triumph back in 2015 against the same Florida State team they beat last week.

No. 23Appalachian State Mountaineers(-4.5, 59) atMarshall Thundering Herd, 3:30 p.m. ET

• Appalachian State is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 road games dating to 2018.

• Since 1978 (FBS era), there have been 28 instances of a team winning by at least 55 points and being a home underdog in its next game. Teams are 8-20 ATS in those spots, including 2-10 ATS since 2009. Marshall beat Eastern Kentucky 59-0 in its season opener.

• Total has gone over in 16 of Marshall’s last 19 non-conference games.

Stats to know:Marshall has lost 17 straight versus AP Top-25 teams by more than 25 PPG. Its last and only win as an FBS member against a ranked opponent came as a 20.5-point underdog versus Kansas State back in 2003 (W, 27-20).

Troy Trojans(-3.5, 64.5) atMiddle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 3:30 p.m. ET (on ESPN)

• Troy is 19-9-2 ATS in its past 30 road games.

• Troy is 1-8-2 ATS in season openers since 2009.

• Middle Tennessee has failed to cover four straight games in September.

• Total has gone under in seven of the past eight meetings dating to 2005.

Stats to know:The Blue Raiders got shutout 42-0 in their season opener at Army. Second-year starting quarterbackAsher O’Harahad his worst game at Middle Tennessee, throwing for just 46 yards and two interceptions to go along with 18 rushing yards. One can likely expect more from an offense that returns 87% of its production from 2019 and projects 35.3 PPG in 2020, per Phil Steele.

No. 17Miami Hurricanesat No. 18Louisville Cardinals(-2.5, 64.5), 7:30 p.m. ET (on ABC)

• Hurricanes have lost 15 of their last 17 road games against ranked opponents.

• Louisville is 2-8 ATS against ranked teams since 2017.

• Total has gone under in 11 of Miami’s last 14 road games since 2017.

Stats to know:ESPN FPI gives the Cardinals a 10.2-point edge, over a touchdown more than the opening line at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

Louisiana Tech BulldogsatSouthern Mississippi Golden Eagles(-5, 57.5), 7:30 p.m. ET (on ESPN2)

• Louisiana Tech is 18-8-1 ATS as an underdog since 2014, including 14-6-1 when getting points on the road.

• Total has gone under in 14 of Southern Mississippi’s last 20 games following a loss under head coach Jay Hopson.

Stats to know:Last season, Louisiana Tech became the first Group of 5 team to shut out a Power 5 team in a bowl game since the BCS/Playoff era began in 1998 (W, 14-0 versus Miami in the Independence Bowl).

Texas State Bobcats(-6, 63) atUL Monroe Warhawks, 7:30 p.m. ET (on ESPNU)

• Texas State has just four wins in its last 32 conference games, including four straight losses to UL Monroe.

• Warhawks are 7-18 ATS following a loss under head coach Matt Viator. UL Monroe is coming off a 37-7 defeat at Army.

• UL Monroe is 8-19 ATS in its last 27 games dating to late 2017.

Stats to know:Entering the season, Phil Steele projected Texas State as the 9th-most improved rushing offense while the Warhawks rushing defense was projected 128th out of 130 teams.

Wake Forest Demon DeaconsatNC State Wolfpack(-2.5, 53), 8 p.m. ET (on ACCN)

• Home team has covered 11 of past 13 meetings.

• Wake Forest has covered 11 of its past 15 as a road underdog.

• NC State has won six of its past seven season openers.

• NC State went 2-10 ATS last season. Only Akron (1-11 ATS) had a worse cover percentage.

Stats to know:NC State was outscored by 25.3 PPG in its final six games last season (0-6 after a 4-2 start), including a 44-10 blowout at Wake Forest.

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