Week 3 was chock-full of marquee matchups. As predicted, it entertained and suprised. Here's a look at what bettors learned.
Louisville Owns A Record-Breaking Offense; Arizona’s Most Disappointing
Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is an offensive mastermind, and he’s uncovered a special quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Together the two are skyrocketing past oddsmakers’ expectations on offense, and setting records to boot.
The Cardinals have scored 22.8 points more than the betting market’s projections through their first three contests, the most of any team. Per ESPN, the ACC program joins Baylor (2013) as the only FBS team to post 60-plus points in each of their first three games to begin a season. Jackson, who was +5000 to win the Heisman Trophy prior to the opener, has 18 total touchdowns, the most by any player during this stretch in the last 20 years.
Bettors might want to hop on board this gravy train because it may take another few weeks for the books to catch up. Army (17.8), Akron (16.8), Texas State (12.3) and Cal (11.3) round out the top five schools scoring more than bettors’ predict.
On the other side of the spectrum, Arizona trudges out the most underwhelming offense. Starting quarterback Anu Solomon has missed the last two games, but backup Brandon Dawkins led the Wildcats to 47 points in their win over Hawaii on Saturday. The score matched their total combined points through the first two games against BYU and Grambling State.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez may have a tough time keeping any offensive momentum against Washington next week. The Huskies haven’t allowed more than 14 points in any of their three games this season. Georgia Southern (-13.3), Buffalo (-13.0), Bowling Green (-11.5) and San Jose State (-11.3) makeup the most disappointing offenses to date.
Florida State’s Defense Has Issues; Houston’s Is Surprising.
Some suggested the 2016 Florida State defense possessed the potential to be the school’s best ever prior to the season. Hmmm okay. Not including its 52-8 walk in the park over Charleston Southern, it’s allowing 18.3 points more than the betting market’s projections, second most in the country. Only Marshall (20.4) has performed worse. Granted the unit was up against two explosive offenses in Ole Miss and Louisville, more is expected from one of the preseason favorites to win it all. The defense was thoroughly out-played, out-coached, and pushed around against Louisville, giving up two touchdowns or more in each quarter.
The Seminoles have a chance to pick up the pieces this weekend against South Florida, a team they’ve held to 17 points or less in the last three meetings. It won’t be easy, though. The Bulls enter the game averaging 49.7 through their first three games.
Most fans think of potential playoff spoilers Houston as an offense-first team behind Greg Ward Jr. at quarterback, but it’s defense is the most surprising of any in the nation. It’s allowed 10 points or fewer than the market projects in each of its first three games—its 12.8 average below the mark tops the nation. The rest of the top five are Army (10.8), South Alabama (-10.8) SMU (-10.5) and UMass (-10.4).
Big 12 Playoff Chances Are Toast; Is Big Ten For Real?
The Big 12 had another rough weekend, and the chance any team makes it to the playoffs rapidly diminishing with few worthy out-of-conference matchups remaining. It is 2-6 SU (3-5 ATS) against Power Five conferences after Texas fell to Cal (50-43) and Ohio State whipped Oklahoma (45-23) on Saturday. Toss in a 1-2 SU (0-3 ATS) mark against the AAC, and its common opponents stature will turn up weak when it counts. Baylor and West Virginia are the only two undefeated, and the chance they get through the conference schedule unscathed are slim. Oklahoma, the preseason favorite to win the Big 12, is carrying two losses, which will not give them a chance to play for the title in all likelihood.
Iowa fell to North Dakota State 23-21 and Wisconsin had to work hard to dispose of Georgia Sate 23-17 as 35-point chalk, but overall, the conference’s best look top-notch and it is playing better than all other Power Five conferences against the number through Week 3. The Big Ten is scoring 1.3 points better than the spread; no other Power Five conference is in the plus-range. This is largely due to Ohio State averaging 24.8 points better than the number. Michigan (6.5) and Nebraska (4.7) are the only other in the Big Ten playing a field goal or better. The Big 12 is the nation’s worst, playing 4.1 points below the number, while the AAC is tops at 4.0.