Thu. Feb 27th, 2020

Weekly R & R: NCAA Football Week 3

Welcome to this week’s Weekly R & R where we, Rex and Ronald, will provide our best bets every week in college football. Our consensus plays combine Rex’s power rankings model and Ronald’s SDQL system to find a perfect match. We’ll also provide our own personal picks with analysis as well. 

Picks: Consensus Picks | Ronald’s Picks | Rex’s Pick

Consensus Plays

NIU vs Nebraska (-14, 54.5) 9/14 8 p.m. EST

NIU is on back-to-back games against Power 5 schools. They proved their ability to stop the run against Utah. Making Nebraska one dimensional would favor NIU, as Adrain Martinez is an inconsistent passer. Additionally, the offensive line has looked shaky. The Huskies send four pass rushers in order to help protection against scrambling quarterbacks. This strategy can contain Nebraska and keep NIU in the game.

Nebraska’s defense has not been convincing in their first two games. They allowed 21 points to South Alabama at home and collapsed last week in Colorado. Maybe they were looking ahead in the South Alabama game, but allowing them to throw for 231 yards at home is concerning. Ross Bowers can exploit Nebraska’s defense with explosive plays. He has thrown for a touchdown over 60 yards in both games so far. 

Rex’s model has Nebraska as 8 point favorites. 

Keys to the Game:

  • Can Nebraska avoid looking ahead to their matchup next week against conference rival Illinois?
  • Will Nebraska be able to bounce back strong after an overtime loss to an unranked opponent.

Consensus Pick: NIU +14 (-105). If NIU scores more than 21 points, they can cover. 

Rex’s Plays

Pittsburgh vs Penn St. (-17, 53.5) 9/14 12 p.m. EST

A weak offense is on the road facing an explosive offense and a stout defense. It could get ugly for Pittsburgh in this “rivalry” game. The only hope to avoid a blowout is the Panthers’ defense. If they are able to hold Penn St. to under 30 points, they could cover. However, I do not expect that to happen. The Nittany Lions will get their offense back on track early and roll throughout the game. They will be flying down the field behind a raucous home crowd. Expect a similar showing to their offense in Week 1. 

The biggest mismatch is Pitt’s offense versus Penn St.’s defense. The Panthers have only scored 24 points in the first two games. Do not expect that total to rise much. They are facing a defense similar to Virginia’s in Week 1. Penn St.’s defense ranks in the top-25 in the SP+, where Pitt offense ranks 105th. Pitt will struggle to gain any momentum. 

Key to the Game:

  • If Pitt can score more than 14 points, they have a shot at covering. 

Rex’s Pick: Penn St. -17 (-110). 

Colorado St. vs Arkansas (-10, 64) 9/14 4 p.m. EST

Arkansas is switching to their backup transfer QB after two weeks. The Ben Hicks hope appears to be dead in Fayetteville. Chad Morris had success with him at SMU, but he has struggled greatly thus far. Nick Starkel, the new starter, has looked better but the bar is not set high for the Hogs under center. 

This predicts to be a closer game than ten points. Both of the team’s strengths and weaknesses match up against each other. Arkansas struggles on offense (116th SP+) and similarly, Colorado St. on defense (114th SP+). On the other side of the ball, Arkansas’s defense has shown signs of life, but, CSU can score and they should be able to again this year. They won last year’s game 34-27 and have scored more than 30 points in each game this season. 

Key to the Game:

  • Colorado St. has 6 negative plays through two games. Continue that trend against Arkansas, and they will put up points. 

Rex’s Pick: Colorado St. +10 (-105). Colorado St. has a shot to win outright again, but I expect another one score game and will gladly take the 10 points. 

Iowa vs Iowa St. (-2, 44.5) 9/14 4 p.m. EST

The Cy-Hawk rivalry will get ESPN GameDay for the first time in their history. These matchups are notoriously tough and come down to one score. Each squad boasts a top notch defense, so points will come at a premium. They both rank in the top-20 in yards per play allowed. This is due to the pass rush each team has. They wreak havoc on the opposing quarterback throughout the game. So, establishing the run will be critical. Something the Cyclones failed to due in last year’s 13-3 loss, totaling 19 yards rushing. 

Brock Purdy and Nick Stanley may be relied on too heavily if both teams struggle to run the ball. Both squads run the ball on more than 50 percent of their plays. Therefore, forcing these quarterbacks to throw the ball to ignite the offense, which neither do exceptionally, sets up well for the under. 

Rex’s Pick: Under 44.5 (-105). 

Florida St. vs Virginia (-7.5, 58) 9/14 7:30 p.m. EST

Bryce Perkins should have his way with Florida St.’s defense. They rank 109th in the SP+ and will be facing a better QB than their previous opponents. Allowing 80 points so far and 44 at home to UL-Monroe does not show signs of improvement. Virginia is completing 70 percent of their pass attempts and averaging 5.2 yards per run. Expect UVA to dominate the time of possession. 

Bronco Mendenhall’s defense will be facing a potent, high-tempo offense. The key will be stopping them early and often. By not allowing FSU to establish a rhythm, Virginia’s offense will be aided in the time of possession battle. This was crucial in Boise St.’s comeback win against the Seminoles in Week 1. 

Rex’s Pick: Virginia -7 (-120). I bought the half point. 

Youcapper’s Picks

North Carolina vs Wake Forest (-3, 66.5) 9/13 6 p.m. EST

The Tar Heels are 2-0 after facing two quality opponents and will now be facing a third in a row against the Demon Deacons. The Deacons are also starting the season 2-0 while averaging 39.5 points per game, but the defenses they’ve faced so far have been subpar.

Sam Howell is doing an incredible job managing the Tar Heels’ offense and limiting mistakes. I don’t expect Deacons QB Jamie Newman to be as efficient this week as he was against Utah State and Rice as coach Brown has been doing a great job preparing his defense each week, allowing just 22.5 points per game against quality opponents. 

Key to the Game:

  • Can the Tar Heels put enough pressure on Jamie Newman to disrupt timing with his receivers?

Youcapper’s Pick: Under 66.5.

Memphis vs South Alabama (+19, 57.5) 9/14 3:30 p.m. EST

Kenneth Gainwell will again be the featured back with Patrick Taylor expected to miss this game. Gainwell played great against an overmatched Southern University team last week, but may not have as much success against a stingy South Alabama defense. South Alabama allowed just 14 points against Jackson State last week, and though the Jaguars were defeated 35-21 against Nebraska in week one, 21 of the Cornhuskers’ points were scored by the defense or special teams.

South Alabama QB Cephus Johnson turned the ball over four times in Week 1 and again two more times in Week 2. Johnson will need to make better decisions this week to keep the ball out of the Tigers’ hands. If he can do that, South Alabama should be able to cover the 19 point spread.

Keys to the Game:

  • Can Jaguars QB Cephus Johnson limit his turnovers?
  • Will the Tiger’s be able to completely focus on this game with a battle against Navy coming up the following week?

Youcapper’s Pick: South Alabama +19.


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Disclaimer – Blindly tailing these bets is not recommended, please do your own research. The decision to fade or follow is ultimately yours. Good luck!