We may not have the same volume of games to choose from, compared to a normal year, but there is still money to be made with college football picks in 2020. On a positive note, the number of games being played continues to rise with each and every week. Even after the cancellations of FAU-Georgia Southern, Charlotte-North Carolina and Houston-Baylor, we still have 20 games taking place across the country this weekend.
More games mean more opportunities to find edges amongst the lines. The bar is now set high after going a perfect 3-for-3 last week. While sustaining sports betting perfection is a guaranteed impossibility, I am optimistic about a successful encore performance. With that said, here are my best college football picks for Week 3.
Odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
Week 3 College Football Picks
UCF at Georgia Tech (+7.5)
After trailing 10-0 at halftime in their own season-opener at Florida State, Georgia Tech clawed their way back, pulling out a rather stunning 16-13 win. True freshman quarterback Jeff Sims played a fantastic second half, finishing with 277 yards passing and one touchdown. Despite throwing two interceptions, Sims maintained poise throughout his first collegiate start. The Yellow Jackets’ running back committee has the talent and versatility to wear down any defense, and the wide receiver corps is vastly improved relative to last season.
Saturday’s game will be the first of the year for UCF. That alone could render the Knights at a basic disadvantage right from the opening kickoff given that Tech has a full game under their belt. Despite having several key players opt out of the season, UCF is still plenty talented. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel will look to follow up a terrific freshman season in which he passed for over 3,600 yards and 29 touchdowns. He will have to navigate through a lot of turnover at the wide receiver position, with Tre Nixon being the only proven threat. With three returning starters along the offensive line, plus Tennessee transfer Marcus Tatum figuring to slot in at tackle, UCF should be able to protect Gabriel and preserve their quick-striking offensive game plan from a season ago.
The key for Georgia Tech figures to be controlling the time of possession battle and wearing down the Knights on defense. Conditioning has been a key issue for all teams this year due to the disruptions in offseason workouts and practices. If the Yellow Jackets can weather the potential storm in the first half, we could see fatigue set in for UCF in the third and fourth quarters. Tech getting a full touchdown and the hook at home is too good of a college football pick to pass up.
Boston College at Duke (Under 51.5)
Saturday marks the first game of the year for Boston College. The Eagles struggled mightily on defense in 2019, but they welcome back a wealth of experience. New head coach Jeff Hafley has to be licking his chops at the opportunity to work with linebackers John Lamot and Max Richardson. Both are excellent tacklers and might be one of the most underrated linebacking duos in the country. On offense, Boston College will likely see transfer QB Phil Jurkovec make his first collegiate start. The Eagles also have a changing of the guard at the running back position with A.J. Dillon now in the NFL. While everything could come together just fine, there are bound to be some stumbles in the first game of the season.
Meanwhile, Duke has a game under its belt, a 27-13 loss to Notre Dame last week. The Blue Devils’ defense played well against the top-10 ranked Fighting Irish. Duke was able to generate a decent pass rush throughout the game, and it will be interesting to see how the battle between the defensive front and the Eagles’ talented offensive line unfolds. Even if Boston College is able to establish control of the line of scrimmage, it’s not as if the offense will be racing up and down the field. If Duke managed to hold up against Notre Dame’s experienced offensive line last week, what’s the reason to think they can’t do the same against BC?
To be quite honest with you, I’ve stared at this line for some time and am still having trouble such a high total for this ACC battle. No matter how you slice it, I don’t see many offensive fireworks coming from either side in this one. Under 51.5 is by far my favorite college football pick of the week.
Navy at Tulane (-6.5)
I want to preface my support for this college football pick by saying I do not expect Navy to look as bad as they did two weeks ago against BYU. Ken Niumatalolo is simply too good of a coach to have back-to-back horrendous performances. Reinstating full-contact practices should help clean up the swaths of missed tackles Navy had in their season-opener. The Midshipmen should be able to get their rushing attack going in this one and remain competitive throughout. With that said, it is still a transition year at the quarterback spot, and Dalen Morris was far from impressive in the opener. There are also three new starters along the offensive line this year for Navy.
After playing three sloppy quarters against South Alabama last week, Tulane seemed to get the ball rolling in the fourth. Keon Howard settled down, and he should be able to pick apart the Navy secondary given the talent advantage the Green Wave receivers figure to have. While several backs earned carries in the win over USA, Tyjae Spears was the headliner, posting 105 yards on 11 carries, a 9.5 ypc clip. If Howard can take better care of the ball and improve in passing accuracy, this Tulane offense has the capability of giving opposing defenses plenty of headaches.
One could point to my play against Tulane last week as a reason to doubt this pick. Simply put, I felt that the betting market was too low on an improved South Alabama team. With back-to-back ATS covers and one win outright as three-touchdown dogs, this sentiment has been justified so far. Tulane is the more talented football team once again this week, and there are too many question marks for me to be excited about Navy, at least in the early stages of this season. With a game now under their belt and home-field advantage, I like Tulane to win by a touchdown or more.