Week 3 might not have provided the highest profile matchups, but we were able to find value in different lines yet again. Finishing 5-3 on the day +3.75u, we were a 42 point Q4 and a South Carolina garbage-time touchdown on the last *real* play of the game away from going 7-1. I want to get on some early lines yet again before we see negative movement so here are 3 plays I'm hopping in on.
Clemson Tigers @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12:00 ET)
Favorite: Tigers -7
If Wake Forest has ambitions to reach a New Years Six bowl, they'll have to avoid performances like last week against Liberty. Entering the game as an 18.5 point favorite, Wake had to rely on a failed two-point conversion by the Flames to hold on to a 37-36 victory. Liberty is admittedly good for their size even without Malik Willis, and I'll give Wake Forest the benefit of the doubt looking forward to Clemson. Last season, the Demon Deacons and their mediocre defense couldn't stop DJ Uiagalelei and the subpar Clemson offense. While Wake's offense is just as good as last year, their defense has yet to improve and Clemson's offense looks slightly better than last year.
The Tigers have yet to play anyone decent this year, but at least the offense has been able to put up points in each contest. They've averaged 41.3 points per game over the first three games of the season, but that doesn't tell the full story. Uiagalelei still doesn't look good and they've only dominated on the ground in their last appearance against Louisiana Tech. In the first two games against Furman and Georgia Tech they managed less than 400 yards of total offense in both. Where the Tigers can't be questioned is their defense. They're an undisputed top-10 group with one of the best defensive lineman in the country in Bryan Breese back after the death of his sister. If they can disrupt the flow of Wake Forest, who is dependent on it with their heavy run-pass option system, they'll be able to slow them down much like last year.
Clemson will want this game to be a slow-paced dog fight and keep the Deacons off the field. Don't expect DJ Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense to put up 30 or more points due to their struggles so far against subpar defenses, and don't expect this Wake Forest offense to tear apart one of the best defenses in the country. While the Tigers did lose Brent Venables, they are familiar with the Deacon's scheme and should be able to mitigate damages. Give me the under and the Deacons to keep it close.
Pick: Wake Forest +7 -110 (1u) & u55.5 -110 (1u)
Baylor Bears @ Iowa State Cyclones (12:00 ET)
Favorite: Cyclones -2.5
Iowa State lost nearly all of their defense to the graduation and the draft last year, and while their recruiting isn't phenomenal their coaching and schemes certainly are. While they've only played SE Missouri State, Iowa, and Ohio, three teams who are offensively horrific, they've only allowed 27 points through the three contests. Breece Hall is at the New York Jets but their rush heavy attack is led by the capable Jirehl Brock. Hunter Dekkers at QB has been decent this year, but again two of the three defenses they've played are horrific and Iowa held him to horrible numbers. Facing easily their toughest test to date, the Cyclones will look to capitalize on being a short home favorite in route to a shocking 4-0 start.
Baylor got back to winning ways, thumping Texas State as they should after a narrow loss to the hand of BYU. Their defense hasn't been the problem, led by Gabe Hall and Siaki Ika at defensive tackle stopping the run. They've yet to allow more than 87 yards rushing this year and will stop the Cyclones offense earrly and often on the ground, forcing them into 3rd and longs consistently. Where they would like improvement is within their defensive backs. They're only allowing 206.3 yards per game but that's inflated by two cupcake games. BYU threw for 283 on Baylor without their top 2 wideouts. Iowa State's offense is objectively far worse than BYU's, so I don't expect the Cyclones to put up more than 20 points Saturday.
Baylor's offense came into the year with question marks at receiver, and recent injuries don't help. Their leading receiver this year has 93 yards and injuries to Monaray Brown and Ben Sims doesn't help that cause. Both could, and should, be back this game and I'm counting on that in my breakdown. Iowa State's front-seven hasn't graded all that well in PFF's system this season, so even though they've been dominant because of their opposition, I'd expect Baylor's dominant offensive line and running game to get open and open up the play action passing game. Give me Baylor to pull of an upset and get their season back on track.
Pick: Baylor ML +120 (2u)
USC Trojans @ Oregon State Beavers (9:30 ET)
Favorite: Trojans -6.5
If you've read my articles so far, you know just how high I am on the Beavers this year. So far, they've been nearly flawless. They dominated Boise State in week one forcing 5 turnovers then traveled to Fresno and won in a game of the year contender that the majority of the United States will never see. They were able to coast to a 68-28 victory in week 3 against Montana State as they prepared for Southern Cal to enter now. Oregon State is one of the most experienced teams in the country and returned key players on both sides. With three dynamic wide receivers in Tre'Shaun Harrison, Luke Musgrave, and Anthony Gould to go with South Carolina Gamecock transfer Deshaun Fenwick at running back, thise Beavers offense will pose threats to most teams they play.
While I'm all aboard this Beaver train having bet and cashed in on them every week so far to go along with their over 6.5 win total, this line is far too short and will close above 7. Southern Cal has looked nothing short of unstoppable offensively averaging 538.7 yards, split 318.3/201.7 between passing and rushing. Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison have slotted in seamlessly and that defense I personally was concerned with has largely looked solid. They've allowed 58 points through 3 games and will allow points to Oregon State, but they should out race the Beavers here on Saturday night. Give me one of the most talented offenses in the country to flex their muscle.
Pick: Trojans -6.5 -110 (1.5u)