Triple Option: Andrew Caley's College Football Picks and Predictions Week 3

Some early-season variance upended the Triple Option last week, but Covers' resident NCAA ace, Andrew Caley, is back with our best college football picks for Week 3's action, including a Purdue side that can't be overlooked.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2021 3:33 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

Well, there’s another tradition in college football I’ll never get used to: Thinking you know how a team will perform after some good early-season results, only to get put on blast by some shocking outcomes. I’m talking to you, USC and Texas.

This week, we hope to find some consistency with a couple of road underdogs and while they are certainly not an underdog, is Alabama actually going into this weekend’s matchup against Florida undervalued?

The Triple Option returns with my best college football picks and predictions for Week 3.

College football picks and predictions for Week 3

Virginia Tech +3 (-110)

For starters, I think the wrong team is favored in this game. Virginia Tech looked dominant in its upset of North Carolina in its opener and then followed that up with a sound win over Middle Tennessee, covering the 20-point chalk. 

West Virginia, on the other hand, is coming off a 66-0 destruction of FCS Long Island University, but you really can’t take anything away from a game against FCS-level competition. More importantly, the Mountaineers dropped their opener to Maryland 30-24 as 2.5-point road favorites in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. 

West Virginia gave up 496 yards in that game against the Terrapins, getting outgained by 171 yards and turning over the ball four times. That is a recipe for disaster against a Hokies team that is all about ball control and getting takeaways. 

Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister has also been fantastic so far this year and is backed by a running game that has averaged 175.5 yards through the Hokies' first two games.

Meanwhile, the Hokies front seven will make life hard for a West Virginia offense that is full of question marks. The run game generated just 2.8 yards per carry against Maryland, while QB Jarret Doege went just 24-40 with 6.9 yards per completion and two picks.

Virginia Tech should be the better team in this matchup and have a very good chance to walk away with the win, but we’ll take the points just to be safe.

Alabama -14 (-110)

This must be a trap. But I don’t care. There is no way Alabama should just be a 14-point favorite for this matchup against Florida. The Gators have just way too many issues on offense which makes me question whether they can keep up with the Crimson Tide in this one.

Yes, Florida enters this matchup 2-0 straight up. But those wins came against Florida Atlantic and South Florida and the Gators failed to cover the spread in both of those matchups and that is just the tip of the iceberg for the Florida flaws. 

At the moment, Florida uses a two-quarterback system as neither Emory Jones nor Anthony Richardson has locked down the starting job yet. Jones is technically the starter, but he has thrown two picks in each of the first two games. Richardson, on the other hand, is the Gators’ leading rusher with 275 yards, but he completes 54.5 percent of his passes and is now dealing with a hamstring injury.

While going into the Swamp to make your first road start in the SEC is tough, Bryce Young looks up to the task. He is completing 70.8 percent of his passes for 571 yards, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Young faces an inexperienced defense that allowed 34 points to awful FAU and USF teams while giving up 224.5 passing yards per game. That currently ranks 81st in the FBS. That doesn’t bode well for a unit that allowed 30.8 points and 428 yards per game in SEC play last season. 

The Florida QB indecision will prove to be too much against what is one of the best defenses in the country. Bama should be able to contain whoever is under center and force them to throw into the teeth of an excellent secondary. It might take a bit for Bama to get rolling, but once they do, watch out.

Roll Tide.

Purdue +7 (-110)

Man. My boss is going to hate me for this one.

Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the AP Top 25 and 10th in Coaches Poll, but how good are the Fighting Irish really? Yes, they are 2-0 this season, but it may be the most unconvincing 2-0 on record.

Notre Dame needed overtime to take out Florida State in Week 1, a game in which they were 7-point road favorites. The Seminoles followed up that near-upset by losing to FCS Jacksonville State in a game where FSU was a mere 28-point home favorite.

The Irish then went out and nearly got upset by Toledo at home, gutting out a 32-29 win – thanks to a late touchdown pass from Jack Coan – as 16.5-point chalk.

Now, Purdue is largely untested so far this season, notching a 30-21 win over Oregon State at home and then crushing that façade of a football team, the UConn Huskies, 45-0. But the Boilermakers have gone out and done their job, covering the spread in both games, while the passing game, led by quarterback Jack Plummer and wide receiver David Bell, has been on point. 

Opponents have done most of their damage against Notre Dame on the ground, but Plummer should be able to pick his spots against a Notre Dame defense that has looked porous at times. Another key here is that Plummer is very good at not turning the football over, with just five picks dating back to last season.

On the other side, I just don’t know how you get behind backing Irish QB Coan. Yes, the checkdown artist made some big throws at the end of last game, but he just misses his spots too often. He is also missing two starting offensive linemen and will be up against one of the Big Ten’s best pass rushers in George Karlaftis.

On top of that, the Irish run game hasn’t really gotten going, ranking 109th in yards per attempt at just 2.7 per carry.

The cherry on top: Jeff Brohm is 17-5 ATS in his last 22 games as an underdog. Fade the Irish.

Week 3 odds overview

Tulsa at Ohio State (-24.5, 61): Bettors may be wary to back Ohio State after last week’s shocking loss to Oregon, but this is a good bounce-back spot for the Buckeyes. Tulsa is off to an 0-2 start and only managed to put up 40 total points in those games. It will be hard for Tulsa to keep up with the Ohio State offense here in a game where the Buckeyes may look to take out some frustrations.

Florida State at Wake Forest (-4.5, 62): How bad can things get for Florida State? Well, they are coming off a loss to FCS Jacksonville State as 28-point faves. But apparently, some think the Seminoles will bounce back against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons opened at -6.5 and have been bet down to -4.5. That is one of the biggest moves on the board this week. Good on you if you think this is the week for Florida State. I will stay away unless the Deacs somehow get down to a field goal.

Auburn at Penn State (-5, 53): The biggest game of the week is in Happy Valley. Penn State opened this matchup as a 6.5-point fave, but has been bet down to -5, and I’m not sure why. Yes, Auburn has exploded on the scene this season, but that was against Akron and Alabama State. Have we forgotten about Bo Nix’s road woes? I like the Nittany Lions by anything less than a touchdown.

Odds current at time of publish. Check out our college football odds screen to see live odds and to shop for the best prices.

Week 3 Triple Option betting card

  • Virginia Tech +3 (-110)
  • Alabama -14 (-110)
  • Purdue + 7 (-110)
NCAA parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed this week's Triple Option picks, you could win $59.58 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on college football odds?

You can bet on college football odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NCAA moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of college football prop odds. Head over to our best football betting sites for the top spots to bet on college football odds in your area.

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