Sunday, July 21, 2024

College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for top 25 games today in Week 3

The 2021 college football season is off to an eventful start to say the least. After two weeks nonconference matchups are petering off and many conference schedules will begin in earnest Saturday, so we could see even more shake-ups across the country in Week 3. 

There are three games between ranked opponents Saturday as No. 1 Alabama visits No. 11 Florida for the first time in a decade, No. 22 Auburn welcomes No. 10 Penn State, and No. 23 BYU holds a white out for No. 19 Arizona State. Overall, 23 of the teams ranked in the AP Top 25 will be in action throughout the day with other featured matchups including No. 3 Oklahoma vs. Nebraska on the 50-year anniversary of the Game of the Century and No. 12 Notre Dame looking to find its groove against Purdue.

While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff on Saturday to the final whistle. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the third full Saturday of the season.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Nebraska at No. 3 Oklahoma

Latest Odds: Oklahoma Sooners -22.5

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Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Nebraska will come out motivated for this game, especially since it will have long-term implications for coach Scott Frost’s job status. Unfortunately, the Cornhuskers are simply no match for a national title-caliber Oklahoma team. The only question about this cover is whether Oklahoma cares to keep scoring. Prediction: Oklahoma (-22) — Shehan Jeyarajah

Purdue at No. 12 Notre Dame

Latest Odds: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7.5

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2:30 p.m. | NBC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Notre Dame still holds a lofty spot in the rankings, but the Fighting Irish have gone to the wire each of the last two weeks. It remains to be seen whether Purdue is a good enough team to finally make the Fighting Irish pay, but David Bell and Jack Plummer have showed encouraging signs. After Notre Dame won its first two games by a combined nine points, take the points here. Prediction: Purdue (+7.5) — Shehan Jeyarajah

No. 1 Alabama at No. 11 Florida

Latest Odds: Alabama Crimson Tide -14.5

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3:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App — If Dan Mullen wants to at least have a chance, he will start Anthony Richardson at quarterback. It doesn’t sound like he’s prepared to due that based on what he has said publicly this week. In the end, though, will it really matter? Probably not. Alabama’s defense will tee off on whoever’s taking the snaps and ensure that the running game can’t get going. Todd Grantham will take unnecessary risks on the defensive side, and the Crimson Tide will roll to an easy win in The Swamp. Prediction: Alabama (-15.5) — Barrett Sallee

No. 10 Penn State at No. 22 Auburn

Latest Odds: Penn State Nittany Lions -5

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7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — I tabbed Penn State to win this game earlier this summer but changed my tune due to Bo Nix’s ability to take care of the football. In fact, everybody seems to be in tune with what Tigers coordinator Mike Bobo is asking. That sideline was total chaos under former coach Gus Malzahn. That’s not the case now. Running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter will feast against a defense that hasn’t seen a duo quite like this and lead their team to a win and cover.  Prediction: Auburn (+6) — Barrett Sallee

No. 19 Arizona State vs. No. 23 BYU

Latest Odds: Arizona State Sun Devils -3.5

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10:15 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — I do think that there will be somewhat of an emotional letdown for BYU and maybe even for the Cougars fans who not only brought a ton of energy to the Utah game but also traveled well to Las Vegas for the opener against Arizona. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards had this game circled for most of the preseason and knows that it will be the team’s best chance to test its Pac-12 title-contending chops against a quality opponent before getting into conference competition. One read of this matchup is that BYU is the more battle-tested team, and that may prove true early in the game, but I also think the Sun Devils have a higher ceiling and more gas in the tank. Prediction: Arizona State (-3.5) — Chip Patterson

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 3, and which Top 25 favorite goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $3,500 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.

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