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2023 College Football Week 3 Odds, Overview & Picks

By Hank Blaine

No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, which means bad news for one of LSU or Alabama as both preseason Top 10 teams already have suffered a loss and still have to play each other. Here are three picks for Week 3 around college football, all games on Saturday, and all involving possible playoff teams.

Top 2023 College Football Week 3 Games to Bet

READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 3 Winners and Losers

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

No Big Ten school has looked better in the early going than 2-0 Penn State, which has easily handled West Virginia and Delaware. The Nittany Lions racked up a total of 541 yards and scored eight offensive touchdowns while holding the Blue Hens to only 140 total yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s 63-7 win. : Through his first two career starts, Drew Allar has completed 43-of-55 passes. He ranks sixth in the nation with a 78.2 completion percentage. Allar also sits 16th in the nation in passing efficiency (183.0) and 21st in yards per pass attempt (9.62). Penn State has scored at least 30 points in nine straight games, the nation’s longest streak. Defensively, Penn State has recorded at least six tackles for loss in each of the last 10 games, the longest streak among FBS teams.

Illinois will square off with Penn State for the first time since 2021, when the Orange and Blue pulled off a 20-18 top-10 road victory in nine overtimes in the longest game in college football history. The game will be the first meeting in Champaign between the two sides since 2018. Illinois’ last win over Penn State in Champaign was in 2014, when David Reisner’s 36-yard field goal with eight seconds left secured a 16-14 victory. Illinois is 2-12 all-time against Penn State teams ranked in the AP top 25, including a 1-6 record against Penn State teams ranked in the top 10. New starting QB Luke Altmyer has made an instant impact on the Illinois offense, as he leads the Big Ten in points responsible for (32) through the first two weeks of the season. Altmyer ranks fourth in the Big Ten in completion percentage (68.5%), fourth in yards per carry (6.8), fifth in total offense (273.5), and seventh in yards per pass attempt (7.56).

2023 College Football Week 3 Pick: Illinois

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers

It’s the first road game of the season for Kansas State, which has routed SE Missouri State and Troy thus far. K-State has scored over 40 points in each of its first two games for a second time under head coach Chris Klieman (2019). The Cats have hit the 40-point mark in each of their last four regular-season games, their longest streak in regular-season contests since the middle of the 2002 season. Senior quarterback Will Howard is coming off a five-touchdown performance against Troy as he threw for three scores and ran for two more. He enters the week tied for first nationally in points responsible for (27.0 pts/gm) and 11th in rushing touchdowns. Howard also now ranks ninth in school history with 29 career touchdown passes, while he is 23 completions away from entering the school’s top-10 list.

Missouri is also 2-0 after a 23-19 home escape vs. Middle Tennessee this past weekend. Brady Cook overcame a slow start to complete 14 of 19 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown. A pass interference penalty against Missouri wide receiver Theo Wease Jr. by Middle Tennessee’s Teldrick Ross late in the fourth quarter gave Mizzou a first down and allowed the Tigers used five running plays to run out the clock and preserve the win. Head Coach Eliah Drinkwitz improves to 19-19 at the helm of the program, including 15-6 at Faurot Field. The Tigers are currently on a nonconference home win streak of 15 games, dating back to Oct. 21, 2017, three shy of the program record (18). MU is 16-2 under Eli Drinkwitz when leading at halftime.

2023 College Football Week 3 Pick: Kansas State

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Florida Gators

Tennessee seeks its first win in the Swamp since 2003 in the final meeting between the two teams as SEC Eastern Division foes with divisional play ending after this season. The Gators lead the all-time series 31-21, but UT won last year’s meeting in a 38-33 thriller in Knoxville. Coach Josh Heupel’s UT teams (2021-pres.) have averaged 41.6 points per game and 492.5 yards of total offense per game, which is sixth and seventh in the FBS, respectively, during that span. With this past Saturday’s win over Austin Peay, Heupel became the quickest UT coach to 20 wins (28 games) since Phil Fulmer did it in 27 games from 1992-94. Coordinator Tim Banks’ attacking defense leads the nation in tackles for loss per game (12.5), and they are tied for first with Nebraska in sacks per game (5.5). Banks’ unit has racked up 11 total sacks, which is tied for first in the nation, and 25.0 total tackles for loss, which is second in the FBS.

Florida comes off a 59-7 win over McNeese State, its best defensive performance (112 yards allowed) in 86 games – since Sept. 17, 2016 vs. North Texas (53). In year one under DC Austin Armstrong, Florida ranks first in the Power Five and third in the FBS in total defense with 191.0 yards allowed per game. The Gators have surrendered just 150 total yards across their last six quarters. Florida also ranks eighth in the FBS and fifth in the P5 in passing defense with 115.5 passing yards allowed per game. The Gators have totaled 300-plus yards of offense against Tennessee in eight-straight games and in 13 of the last 14 meetings. The Gators also have rushed for 100-plus yards in 16 of the last 17 matchups. Florida has scored 31-plus points in each of the last five meetings vs. UT and 26-plus points in eight in a row.

2023 College Football Week 3 Pick: Florida

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READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 3 Sleeper Picks