While Week 3 didn’t feature a number of high-end matchups, several underdogs made Saturday awfully interesting. Kansas State and Arizona State (both picks of mine last week) were two dogs who did more than cover and picked up huge road upsets.
For this week, our focus shifts to a trio of home underdogs, two of which are playing like teams which could steal an outright win over their favored foes. Let’s take a look and break down all three of those contests.
Michigan State at Northwestern, 12 PM, ABC
Spread: Michigan State -9 (-110)
The Spartans were home last week to take on Arizona State. The defense put forth a tremendous effort, but the offense couldn’t get anything going. In the end, the Sun Devils pulled out a 10-7 stunner.
The Wildcats opened up the season by falling flat at Stanford. They had a quick bye in Week 2, but returned to action last week with a 30-14 win over UNLV. Last season, the program was a surprise winner of the Big Ten West.
They would go on to get housed by Ohio State in the title tilt, but followed that up with a win over Utah in the Holiday Bowl. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald has done a solid job during his tenure. Northwestern is lacking on offense in the early going, but the defense remains stout.
Michigan State bumped Brad Salem up to offensive coordinator in the offseason. He hasn’t been able to cure the ills on that side of the ball. The Spartans remain a defense which no one wants to face, but they have trouble putting points on the board.
The Spartans are big road favorites and the better team on paper. However, can we really expect Michigan State to put it together on the road on offense against another tough defensive team after they struggled so mightily at home against Arizona State? Northwestern covers and keeps it close.
Washington at BYU, 3:30 PM, ESPN2
Spread: Washington -6.5 (-110)
The Huskies enter this game at 2-1. They dominated a pair of lesser foes at home, but dropped a 1-point home decision to Cal in a game impacted by the elements. The team is ranked #22 in the latest AP poll, but the perspective will change with another loss.
BYU was hammered by visiting Utah to the tune of 30-12 in the opener, but they recovered quickly. In Week 2, they pulled out a stunner in OT on the road over Tennessee. Last week, it was another OT shocker, this time a home victory over a ranked USC squad.
This Cougars team is balanced with nice talent on both sides of the ball. We can certainly say the same about Washington, but the team has already shown it’s going to have trouble with teams in the same ballpark this year. BYU falls into that category.
There’s something brewing in Provo, UT this season. While BYU can’t continue to play with fire by going to OT, this independent team has proven it can hang with the Power 5 schools in 2019. Cougars cover, and an outright upset isn’t out of the question.
West Virginia at Kansas, 4:30 PM, ESPN+
Spread: West Virginia -4 (-110)
As 20-point road underdogs last week, the Jayhawks went out and took a perceived layup away from many bettors. Not only did they cover in their road tilt with Boston College, but they went ahead and spanked the Eagles by a score of 48-24.
The huge win was a significant one for Kansas, as it snapped a skid of 48 straight road losses versus Power 5 opponents. That’s quite a dismal stretch, but this year’s Kansas team is different. Les Miles has done a great job leading the program to a 2-1 start.
The Mountaineers have been pretty Jeckyll and Hyde this year. After squeaking by James Madison in the opener, they were pounded on the road by Missouri. They were 7-point underdogs for last week’s home date with NC State, but wound up winning 44-27.
Call it a crazy theory, but this doesn’t seem like a squad which can be trusted as of yet. Kansas has put together a balanced offensive attack with a strong ground game, and the defense has been coming to play. Jayhawks cover as home dogs and get the outright win to boot.