Aidan O Sullivan: Here's who I'm liking this weekend in 'College Ball'

7 min

Through 3 weeks the cream has remained at the top as finalists Clemson and Alabama remain unbeaten and look like near certain semi-finalists even at this early stage. USC, Oklahoma, and Penn State have been impressive in recent weeks albeit against relatively inferior opposition and tougher tests await for each.

This weeks slate is not mind-blowing by any means but fear not there is value to be had and below I will reveal where my ‘hard-earned’ money is headed.

USC (5) at California

  • Opening Line: USC -15.5
  • Opening Total: 63.5

Are the Trojans the real deal? USC blew out their arch nemesis of recent years Stanford in Week 2 and stuttered to a Double OT victory over Texas last week. QB Sam Darnold certainly looks the real deal and there is speed to burn on both sides of the ball. Is there a possibility of a letdown this week? Cal has been sneaky good so far this season and their victory over Ole Miss last weekend has opened many eyes out West.

Recency Bias and the fact that they are one of the more popular public teams has moved this line 1.5 points in USC’s favour out to 17.

It’s hard to envision an outright win for the Bears here but give me the points with the home team.

Alabama (1) at Vanderbilt

  • Opening Line: Bama -18.5
  • Opening Total: 43.0

If it looks, walks, and smells like an Under then it’s surely an Under right? Not so Amigos! This number is barking out to be played on the Over. In my mind, Alabama has been holding back something on Offense in recent weeks and this could be the week when Jaylen Hurts and the Tide get rolling.

Following a 3-0 start Vanderbilt is not sneaking into this one under the radar so expect Nick Saban’s team to be wired and focused heading into Nashville.

Vandy’s Offense under QB Kyle Shurmur has made decent progress so far this year and could be good for at the very least a field goal and TD here. Bama to nobody’s surprise should post 35-40 here, so sit back and watch this Over sail home comfortably.

Mississipi State (17) at Georgia (11)

  • Opening Line: Georgia -6.5
  • Opening Total: 51.5

For me, this SEC Showdown aka ‘The Battle of the Bulldogs’ is the game of the weekend. Since the line opened earlier this week, ALL of the money has come for Mississipi State and pushed this line to 4.5. Dan Mullen’s team is most definitely on a crest of a wave after handing LSU a hiding last week in Starkville. Is LSU any good though? This is a question that has to be asked.

Miss’ State QB Nick Fitzgerald dominated the Tigers D last week but Georgia’s Defense is a different animal.

Expect Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart to unleash a heavy dose of Nick Chubb on the ground and Sony Michel as a multi-purpose back, which will allow true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to have easy throws within an offense that thrives off play-action. Don’t forget Georgia went to South Bend in Week 2 to beat an improving Notre Dame unit. Lay the points here with Georgia!

Auburn (15) at Missouri

  • Opening Line: Auburn -17
  • Opening Total: 55.5

From the Battle of the Bulldogs, we cast our eyes to the battle of the Tigers, as Auburn head into Faurot Field to face a beleaguered Missouri team. The home team has been abysmal to start this season and a home defeat to Purdue last week has piled the pressure on Head Coach Barry Odom. On the opposite sideline, Auburn top man Gus Malzahn is feeling the heat from the natives most especially following a woeful Offensive output vs Clemson in week 2.

So with two teams who struggle to score you’d imagine the Total would be low here right? Not so fast my friend!

After opening at 55.5, the Total has now hit a whopping 60! The Missouri Defense is as awful as it’s Offense so that would cover the angle of an average Auburn Offense scoring but Auburn’s Defense is one of the top 5 in the game. Auburn may score 35 to 40 here but if Missouri’s Offense gets 2 Touchdowns that would be a shock. Take the Under here!

Click here for Matchbook’s latest NCAA Football Markets