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NCAAF Week 3; Georgia look set to beat the spread again
Updated September 13, 2023
Week 3 of the 2023 NCAAF season has arrived, bringing with it some exciting matchups. Notably, the SEC boasts key showdowns, including No. 11 Tennessee facing unranked Florida and No. 14 LSU taking on Mississippi State. Meanwhile, the top-ranked team, No. 1 Georgia, will host their rival, South Carolina.
The Florida Gators find themselves as underdogs, receiving nearly a touchdown at their home turf, a relatively rare sight. However, this line might have been even more significant if it weren’t for the underwhelming start by the Tennessee Vols, who managed just a lackluster 30-13 victory against Austin Peay in their previous NCAAF game.
Florida, on the other hand, experienced a setback with a 24-11 loss to Utah in their season opener. The Gators had their fair share of misfortune and struggled with execution, notably going 1 for 13 on third-down conversion attempts. The upcoming matchup between these teams will likely shed light on the true form and potential of the Gators moving forward.
The current spread has taken an unexpected turn, coming in lower than initial expectations just a few weeks ago. This shift owes some credit to Mississippi State’s impressive 2-0 start, including their nail-biting 31-24 overtime victory against Arizona. This win extends the Bulldogs’ winning streak to five consecutive games, dating back to last season.
However, the main reason behind this adjusted spread is LSU’s surprising 45-24 loss to Florida State in Week 1. While LSU’s recent 72-10 thrashing of Grambling didn’t offer much insight into their championship aspirations, the upcoming matchup in a challenging conference road setting will be a critical litmus test for Brian Kelly’s squad.
There’s been no evidence to challenge the belief that Georgia stands as the undeniable frontrunner for the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs have efficiently handled their nonconference affairs, outscoring their opponents 93-10 in two commanding victories. Furthermore, they enter their upcoming home game against the Gamecocks as nearly four-touchdown favorites.
It’s worth noting that South Carolina pulled off a stunning 20-17 upset against Georgia back in 2019, a memory that lingers. However, the Bulldogs have since responded with three consecutive victories. While it may not be the ideal benchmark for comparing these two teams, this matchup serves as a valuable reference point for evaluating Georgia’s current squad in relation to their previous championship-contending teams.
The bookies are anticipating an exciting matchup in this game, favoring the Tar Heels by a touchdown over the Gophers. North Carolina made a strong impression with a convincing victory over South Carolina in their opening game. However, they faced a tough challenge in Appalachian State, narrowly winning in a thrilling 40-34 double-overtime contest last weekend.
On the other side, the Gophers are also off to a 2-0 start. Their wins, however, have come with some difficulty, with scores of 13-10 and 25-6 against Nebraska and Eastern Michigan, respectively. Minnesota’s defense has shown its strength, but it’s worth noting that the Tar Heels’ offensive prowess presents an entirely different level of competition and challenge for them.
The Buffaloes are proving to be a resilient force on the field. Deion Sanders’ Colorado team showed their strength with a notable Week 1 victory against TCU, and they further solidified their prowess with a commanding 36-14 home win over Nebraska.
With a 2-0 start against the spread, the Buffaloes now find themselves as more than three-touchdown favorites in their upcoming home clash against their in-state rivals.
Meanwhile, the Rams are coming off a bye week following their 50-24 loss to Washington State in the season opener. The extra preparation time, especially in the film room, could potentially work to their advantage. They’ll be facing a Colorado roster that has already surprised two opponents with their revamped approach. It remains to be seen whether the Rams can rise to the occasion and cover the spread in this matchup.