College Football Picks Week 3: Texas Tech at Arizona
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Week 3 of college football concludes with what should be a shootout in the desert late Saturday night as the Texas Red Tech Raiders square off with the Arizona Wildcats in Tuscon. Texas Tech opened as 3-point favorites at William Hill and the 77 Over/Under (now 75) is the highest total on the board at online sports betting sites. Airing on ESPN at 10:30 pm ET, this game should make for the perfect Saturday nightcap.
Let’s break down the game and get to my late-night college football pick.
College Football Picks Week 3 – Texas Tech at Arizona +2, O/U 76.5
A new sheriff is in Lubbock, County after athletic director Kirby Hocutt parted ways with Texas Tech quarterback legend Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury had far more success in Lubbock as a player than during his time as head coach.
Kliff Kingsbury might be gone, and while there are no longer direct roots from the Mike leach coaching tree in Lubbock, the Red Raiders are still scoring. Hocutt brought in Matt Wells who led Utah State to multiple 10-win seasons before making a move to the Lonestar state. Those seasons came about, in part, thanks to offensive coordinator David Yost, who now calls the plays for Texas Tech. So far, Texas Tech has only played Montana State and UTEP dominating the teams on both sides of the ball. It’s tough to gauge how good Texas Tech is considering the inferior competition, but what we do know is that Texas Tech isn’t afraid to play fast. In fact, Under Wells and Yost, they may end up moving quicker than they did during the Leach and Kingsbury eras.
At Utah State, Yost’s offense averaged an impressive 47.5 points per game in 2018, the second-highest clip in the country. His offense managed to score more points against Michigan State than any other team last season. Kingsbury didn’t provide the new coaching staff with any great recruiting classes, but you have to think Wells and Yost have more talent to work with than they did in Utah. While Yost isn’t a direct disciple of Leach’s, he did spend time as the inside receivers coach for the offensive guru at Washington State. Yost’s version of Leach’s air raid is a hybrid of the spread offense that made Utah State one of the fastest-paced offenses in college football. The main difference between Yost and Leach/Kingsbury is the greater emphasis on running the ball for Yost’s teams. The Aggies were only one of four teams to put up a top-20 passing attack and a top-35 rushing offense. So far, Texas Tech hasn’t reached those numbers, but they also haven’t played their starters a full game.
Yost’s formula should give Arizona’s man-defensive scheme fits Saturday night. Arizona’s defense gave up a combined 79 points to Hawaii and Northern Arizona. Through the first two weeks they rank 126th in scoring defense and 126th in passing defense. And their first down and third down defensive rankings are even worse.
The toughest test for Texas Tech will be stopping Arizona’s explosive dual-threat behind center, senior quarterback Khalil Tate. The Wildcats have trouble stopping other teams from scoring, but they don’t struggle to find the end zones themselves, hence the 77.5 point total. Texas Tech needs to find a way to win the turnover battle, an area they’re -2 thus far. The Wildcats, on the other hand, have snagged six interceptions, four of which came about in their 45-38 loss to Hawaii.
My College Football Picks Week 3 — Texas Tech at Arizona
Arizona’s defense might have a six-pack of interceptions but Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman has taken care of the ball in his short college career. Bowman only has one interception this season and the threw 17 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions in 2018 as a true freshman. Arizona only has two sacks on the season. Unfortunately, putting more pressure on the offensive line than they did against Hawaii and Northern Arizona won’t come easy against an offense that prides itself in using their extraordinarily fast pace to make the opposition “tap out.” Texas Tech and Bowman should have plenty of chances to exploit Arizona’s man-defense downfield. Speaking of bad defenses, Texas Tech isn’t exactly known for their defensive prowess. In recent years, the Red Raiders have had some of the worst defenses in the nation. Texas Tech’s 2019 defense has looked better under the new coaching staff, so there’s at least some optimism that they can stop Arizona enough times to win and cover the spread.
My College Football Picks: Texas Tech -2 (use our FanDuel Sportsbook promo code to get these odds)
For more general betting tips, check out our college football picks betting guide.
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images