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SabertStxVii Week 3 College Football Picks

SabertStxVii Week 3 College Football Picks

Week 1 and 2 have gone well for me, as well as for most of the people on TSE.  I wrote in my Week 2 Recap about my thoughts from the weekend which can be found here.  I refer to these notes as well as the Week 1 notes when looking at the Week 3 card. Below you will find my College Football Picks for week 3.

2.5* Units Penn State – 6.5 vs. Navy – WIN

Units  Auburn -16.5* vs. Louisiana-Monroe – LOSS

1* Units Virginia Tech -10 vs. Pitt – LOSS

1* Unit Minnesota – 2.5 vs. Western Michigan – WIN

1.5* Units, TCU -21 vs. Kansas – LOSS

 1.5* Units Maryland +3 vs. UConn -PUSH

1.5* Units Rutgers +7.5 vs. USF – WIN

Week 1: 5-3 +3.5* units , Week 2: 6-2 +10* units, Week 3: 3-3, -.5* units

Overall: 14-8 + 13* Units

I’m sure a lot of you are getting annoyed of hearing me (or reading me) say this, but I am not an keen on being early season bettor. I’m not saying that there are not opportunities, there are, but I don’t try to chase early on because we still don’t know what teams will bring. The next few weeks will show us a lot.

When I first looked at the Week 3 card, I thought a lot of things were very tight. The books definitely put some good lines out this week. A few things have developed, but I do not foresee myself repeating last week (in volume, not in record). I would rather hit one play and hit it well than play five and hit two of them. Striving for 60+ percent here.

College Football Picks

(BEWARE: chalky card)

2.5* Units Penn State – 6.5 vs. Navy 

Penn State coming off of two really tough losses. Should have came away with one last week. Returning back to Happy Valley for their second home game, against a weak Navy team, gives PSU a final chance to salvage their season. If they lose this week, it will be awfully unfortunate.

This team still can play. They aren’t dead. The defense is solid. A strong offensive Ohio U team put up 24 points while PSU had 3 turnovers to Ohio’s zero. Last week the defense held UVA to 17 points, while they easily could have had 25+ if they would have made a few of the field goals. McGloin played well going 19 for 35 for 200 yards and 2 TDs. He put PSU in position to win this game, and that’s all you can ask of your QB. The defense played adequate in this game to give them the win (well, not really, but its all you can ask a shitty QB for a shittier offense).

They are going up against a Navy team that got blown out in Ireland by Notre Dame. Navy did get an extra week rest to plan to play against this PSU team, but they are just honestly outmatched. They lost quite a bit on offense, and quite a bit on defense. Teams like Navy don’t reload like Big10 teams do.

Notre Dame scored on 8 of 11 possessions that they had against Navy. Navy is young, fumbled the ball 5 times, losing 3 of them. They also threw a pick. I expect them to clean up their act, but taking down a pissed off PSU team with a coach that learned from Bill Belichick, if PSU is scoring, I don’t expect them to stop.

Final Score

PSU 31, Navy 13

Units  Auburn -16.5* vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Auburn looked like crap last week, we all know it. How soon we forget that they gave a decent game to Clemson. If you had Clemson vs. Louisiana Monroe, before LM stole a game from Arkansas, what do you put the line at? Over 30? Probably.

Auburn played well against Auburn. It was a hard fought game that came down too Clemson scoring a TD and a FG in the 4th quarter to take this game, which you can read about here. Auburn only punted the ball 3 times this game, with their other change of possessions coming on 2 turnovers. Kiel played well going 11 for 27 (still not great). They ran the ball well and played good defense.

What blows my mind in capping and gambling are those who are overrating LM and underrating Miss St. State is good. They have a complete team, a good coach, and good recruiting backed by a great university (okay, well atleast great fans). I can’t even tell you anything about LM because they are not a solid ball club. What I found is they return their QB, some RBs, their WRs, 2 OL on offense. They lost their best 2 DEs, best LB, and best Secondary player. They took advantage when Tyler Wilson got hurt. Don’t forget that game was 24-7 at halftime and Arkansas was clearly in control.

Not taking anything away from LM. They capitalized last week on an Arky team that is poorly coached, overrated, and their best player got injured. I’ll take the pissed off Auburn team, with better coaching, better recruiting, better fans, looking to beat up on someone, in their first home game of the year going against a team that has to battle 2 SEC powerhouses away from home in back to back games.

Final Score:

Auburn 34, LM 10

1* Units Virginia Tech -10 vs. Pitt

To be honest, this line makes no sense to me.  I know this totally goes against everything that I say, but contrasting from how they looked on paper pre-season, Pitt has looked DOWNRIGHT awful this year. I’ve said not to over-react to early season games, especially when the team has a good returning group of talent.  There are a few reasons why I am on VT here.

Pitts looked awful. I thought last week against a weaker Cincy D in their first game, Pitts experienced QB would string together some good drives and scores. They got into the redzone quite a bit, but continually made mistakes. They made bad decisions, they had bad coaching calls, they used their timeouts terribly. Does that improve now that they aren’t coming off of a short week? Possibly.

Regardless, this VT team is good. I try and imagine that the first weeks never happened, what the line would be. I think on paper, VT is opening at 6.5 or more, ATLEAST. VT has a great defense. Their defense is the strong point of this team. We saw how they stopped a running GT team early in the season. Ray Graham will get his yards, but this defense is super athletic. Pitt will be stymied quite a bit.

I think this could be a breakout game for Logan Thomas. The word is that VT is running a lot of the no huddle. I think they watched the UC vs. Pitt film a few times, and saw how Pitt reacted to the no huddle: terribly. Regardless, Logan is a dangerous enough threat to run the ball and pick up 5 yards every time, that VT will be able to move the ball here. Pitt’s defense is not good. I think I have come to that conclusion. They lost a lot, and they got throttled by some offenses im not too high on to begin with.

Finally, VT is absolutely killer on the road. Beamer will have his boys ready for this game, to give Pitt an early taste to the ACC. Why not bet more on this one? Well, Pitt is a home, running, double digit dog, which I hate to go against.

Final Score:

VT 31 Pitt 17

1* Unit Minnesota – 2.5 vs. Western Michigan

Middle of last year I decided that Minnesota was going to join La Tech. La Tech was the team I rode every week, and Minny would be the team I faded. They exceeded my expectations. They came into this year returning quite a few starters.

They had a tough game out of the gate against a weak UNLV team and then went to New Hampshire and got their offense going. The game was over by halftime. It is pretty tough to judge what Minnesota team we are going to get this year. Will they set the tempo or will the play to their opponents level.

Western Michigan on the other hand opened up with Illinois. They struggled to move the ball, especially on the ground. Against Eastern Illinois in week 2 they finally got their act together. They are a passing team and match up against a Minnesota defense that returns a safety and CB and also has some great players that worked into the line-up ths year in the secondary.

Against UNLV they only allowed 116 passing yards and caused 3 interceptions. I’m not even going to quote the NH game. This year, their pass defense currently ranks 3rd (from playing 2 bad teams I know), but last year their pass defense was 107th. I think this is a situation where losing some starters is possibly a good thing.  If you stop Western Michigan’s pass, you beat them basically.

I think Minnesota is a renewed team, building off the momentum from last year. They have started to figure things out on offense, they are 2-0 and people in the Cities are excited. This is their first home game, the players are pumped, and I expect a good showing.

Final Score

Minnesota 30 Western Michigan 17

1.5* Units, TCU -21 vs. Kansas

I have quite a few favs on the card so I figured adding one more wasn’t a huge deal. TCU should absolutely demolish this KU team.

They will be running a spread attack that I really don’t see KU being able to stop. This is an offense they have been working on for awhile to bring to the Big 12. They get back a key player on the line of scrimmage and on top of that, KU’s defense is not good. The defense gave over 400 yards up to South Dakota State as well as Rice.

They are a 2-10 team from last year that literally ranked last in Total Defense and Scoring Defense. They gave up on average 44 points. I see TCU going over that here, and probably by halftime.

The question then becomes, can TCU hold these guys on defense?  I think so. Games are won in the trenches and I think TCU dominates both. Dayne Crist is a decent (at best) QB, but he just doesn’t have it around him.  They have a shitty coach who also makes the offensive play calls. I think TCU can stop this inefficient offense.

Because this is an away game, and possible opportunities for a backdoor, the unit play will be smaller.

 Final Score:

TCU 51 Kansas 23

 1.5* Units Maryland +3 vs. UConn

Yeah, I know. I gave in. I’m weak. I’m playing a dog. I like the Terps here in everything I’ve seen. Yeah they almost blew the first game of the season too my alma mater. You have to wear some blinders while looking at some of these games. Go off of last year and returning talent.

Why I like Maryland? Their home, they have decent QB play, they have a good enough defense to give UConn trouble in the trenches. The  have been getting to the QB rather succesfully, and this will bother UConn’s new QB. Add this to the fact that it is UConn’s first game away from home, I like the dog in what I expect to be a defensive battle.

Final Score:

Maryland 17, UConn 9


1.5* Units Rutgers +7.5 vs. USF – WIN

 Not going to go too big on Thursday night this week. Thursday night big east screwed me last week but I still like this play.

There are a few reasons primarily why I am on Rutgers, first being coaching. I am not a fan of Skip Holtz. He does not have good coaching respectability by any of the coaching statistical specialist in the capping world, and he struggles at home.

USF never lead in a road game against Nevada until the very end.  This was a good, emotional, west coast win and they are now coming home for a Thursday night game. They are coming off a short week of practice (just 3 days) and had to really expend themselves to beat Nevada. Rutgers on the other hand had a cakewalk against Howard this past weekend.

The Rutger’s defense is stout. If you follow me, you know I believe that past performance is not indicative of future results, at all. I am strongly against random stats that cappers give way too much value into to decide their sides. Stats can help affirm your side, but by no means should they be huge factors. Cap whats in front not, not behind.

Trends always break. 10 reds does not mean that black is next on the roulette wheel. A stat I do like though is Rutgers being 42-4 since holding opponents to under 300 yards. I’m not saying they do it here (I don’t think they will actually, USF can pass decently), but they are a solid team on D again this year, and there are also a few other stats that I like.

I will blog about this shortly, but I ran a correlation of almost every stat in NCAA the past 5 years and how it correlates to Wins and Points, and among the top are Avg Rushing and Tackles for losses. Rutgers is better in both categories.

I see them getting in the backfield and disrupting USF’s passing game (which is their primary attack).  USF hasn’t seen a defense this good yet this season. USF on the other hand, struggled to stop Nevada. Rutgers isn’t prolific on O, but they also aren’t lethargic. A good defense on a short week is better than a decent offense.

In a Thursday night conference battle, I’m going to take the running dogs, with a better defense and better coach getting 7.5 points.

Final Score:

USF 23, Rutgers 20

For analysis, commentary, plays and randomness, follow @mtsabert on twitter.

13 Responses to “SabertStxVii Week 3 College Football Picks”

  1. SoonerBS says:

    Good luck, Sabert. I don’t play many Thursday night games anymore. The best I use to do was to play every game and just bet on the home team no matter the line. That system use to cash regularly. Teams really get up for this game since they are the only game in the nation that night.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Thanks for the comment. I typically try to lay off of mid-week games but I have enough time to put forth a good analysis so I think it atleast warrents a little bit of a look.

      The home team has been a super safe bet on the Thursday night ganmes, and I agree with you, they have the motivation on Natl. TV and at home.

      Why I went with Rutgers is because everything I have read is USF talking about how complex it is to grasp the Rutgers defense and how they aren’t your traditional 4-3. They run more of a Steelers or Pro-style D where all of hte players are all over the place (makes sense with Schiano being the HC and DC there for awhile).

      I think you add that in with the short week as well as Rutgers being a running dog, I think they can hang for awhile. USF should be able to pass themselves to a win. I need Rutgers to score around 20 for the cover I believe.

      • bktrembath says:

        I think you’re dead on with your thoughts on Thursday night games. I went with USF and got burned. I thought they were pretty solid, but they proved me wrong.

        I like your Auburn play, too.

  2. Tommy says:

    Sabert, do you think a good play in this situation here would be also a play in Rutgers 1st half? I aee USF coming out a little bit flat.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Thanks for the comment. I actually had a discussion with one of my buddies last night who read the play and then asked me the same thing. There are a few different perspective’s I have on this.

      First the game goes like we both think and Rutgers covers the first half spread. USF has struggled coming out of the gates. They scored 13 pts last week by halftime. That could be attributed to the long travel and higher altitude, etc. They will be confused against this Rutgers D coming off of short rest after a west coast came. What a lot of people don’t put a lot of value in is the fact that Saturday night Rutgers got to sleep in their own beds, and wake up Sunday, hit the training room up and watch film all day and get moving a bit. USF flew back Sunday and wasn’t able to do any of that so they are a day behind. Rutgers hasn’t scored too much early on either. I think the under could be a play if were going along this situation as well.

      Here’s the other situation I see. USF basically picks up where they left off. They are coming off an emotion, end of the game win in Nevada. This game could have given the team and offense confidence that they are capable. They are also pumped up because they are on National TV. They come out blazing.

      What do I think will happen? Probably a mix of both. I know that sounds vague. I think this game will be pretty smash mouth in the beginning, and once both the teams get loose that some plays will open up.

      My best play of this game is on the Rutgers game line for a few reasons I mentioned. USF had less time to prepare and less rest. Rutgers offense smashes the ball and has had success against BJ Daniels and USF.

      My leans outside of this would be U 1h, Rutgers 1h, U game. I see this being a 23 vs. 17 score. Worst case is So. Fla slings the rock well against this defense and Rutgers gets down early and has to move away from their run game.

      Best of luck and thanks for following.

  3. Doug says:

    BOL with ALL your action as Always. I do Love your site!

  4. C.J. says:

    I’m sorry but your description of Auburn’s performance against Clemson is ridiculous. Did you even bother to watch the game or check the box score? A QB going 11-27 is a pitiful stat line. The yardage was decent but most came on a wide open bomb to Emory Blake. “Auburn played good defense.” What?? They gave up 528 yards of offense including 320 (!!!!) on the ground! In what universe is that good defense? Again, sure they only punted 3 times, but they were 4-13 on 3rd down, hardly an indication of an offense in rhythm. Lots of holes on this Auburn team. QB isn’t trusted by his own coaches to throw the ball, coaches aren’t trusted by the players and fanbase, and the defensive fundamentals are just pathetic. ULM is going to chew up yardage after getting the ball out into space quickly. I can guarantee that the home crowd will turn negative quickly if things don’t go Auburn’s way from the outset… Lots of unrest there.

    Congrats on the win last night and best of luck moving forward.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:


      Totally understand all of your points and not going to refute them; they are valid. Auburn has certainly struggled on O, and while I brushed it off, it should be a reason for concern.

      There are certainly lots of holes on this team right now, which we’ve seen so far this season. This team was still an 8-5 team last year and only had some small holes to fill, and not really any on defense. I agree with you that both Auburn games got away from them, but they were playing two VERY solid offenses with lots of experience. Miss St returned quite a bit of talent on offense, and even more on defense while Clemson, well, we know what they’re like on offense.

      When it comes down to it, I know how these things play out. I highly, highly doubt that the ULM players went back to campus on Saturday / Sunday and said, “okay, lets get ready for Auburn now.” I’m sure they had some fun and are celebrating the win over Arky. I’m not saying they don’t care about this game, because they do, I just think it means A LOT more for Auburn. After watching them dismantle the Hogs last week, Auburn will not take this team lightly.

      This is more of a play fading ULM than it is touting Auburn, because I agree, they’ve looked like crap the first few weeks. What do you think the spread is here if Auburn played two trash teams before they face ULM? What my play came down too is being on the better team at home, desperate for a win.

      Thanks for the comment and best of luck.

      • C.J. says:

        Not sure the traditional letdown angle really applies here. I am thinking that ULM’s win over Arkansas makes them a little more dangerous. They come into today’s game knowing they have a realistic shot at beating two SEC teams in a row and doing something special. Not a hard sell for these kids. They have tasted a big upset a few years back when they went into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama. This time I would expect they are wanting more. I was impressed that the ULM quarterback mentioned Auburn in his postgame interview on the field. A good sign. Auburn, on the other hand, is going to be under intense pressure today. The boo-birds may be out early… not sure how the Auburn players will react to that. Lots and lots of frustration brewing on and off the field…

        • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

          Great call here. Seems like you got a good read on this Auburn team. I really think they struggle rest of the season, even after nearly sneaking by ULM for first win of the season.

  5. alkimyst says:

    I think this is a great spot to play AUb this week. ULM coming off the win of their LIFETIMES last week. Tough to re-focus college kids and get them to stop believing their newspaper clippings after a win like that. While Auburn has certainly looked mundane in their first two outings, the talent gap this week should play itself out, and I don’t think Auburn will make the same mistakes that Ark made last week and try to throw the ball all over the field. Churn and burn….

  6. SoonerBS says:

    Nice call on Rutgers, Sabert, and good luck today!


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