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September 22, 2023

We’ve been sharing our favorite upset picks on weekends, but favorites deserve love ❤️ too. Here are senior editor Max Meyer’s top favorites to cover this weekend.

Oregon State -3 (-110) at Washington State [Sat., 7 p.m. ET]

Washington State has been a nice surprise so far this season, especially how explosive the aerial attack has been with QB Cam Ward and new OC Ben Arbuckle. But I think Oregon State is a tough matchup in a few areas.

One of the Cougars’ biggest questions coming into the season is how they would defend the run without much size up the middle. They haven’t really been tested much in that area (tied for fifth-fewest rush attempts allowed) since they’ve raced out to double-digit leads in the first half in all three games. Oregon State had Pro Football Focus’ best run-blocking grade in CFB in 2022, and four starters are back from that group. Not surprisingly, the Beavers 🦫 are averaging 6.3 YPC (7th in CFB) this campaign and have allowed 1 sack through 3 games.

Oregon State’s defense already has 12 sacks through 3 games (tied for eighth in CFB in sacks per game) after registering just 20 last season. Wazzu’s offense has been explosive, but it’s also been one-dimensional due to a lack of ground game thus far. If the Cougars aren’t mixing it up with more run plays, that’s an advantage for Oregon State’s pass rushers. This seems like a game that Oregon State takes over by being a bully in the trenches.

Browns -3.5 (+100) vs. Titans [Sun., 1 p.m. ET]

Yes, the Nick Chubb injury absolutely matters. But if there was any matchup where his absence won’t make as much of an impact, it’s this one. The Titans have been outstanding at stopping the run, but they gave up the most passing yards in 2022. The way to put up points on this team is by attacking the secondary. Deshaun Watson has not looked good to start this campaign, but at least he gets a much easier task here compared to his first two matchups.

On the flip side, there may not be a bigger mismatch on this entire Week 3 slate than the Browns’ defensive line against the Titans’ offensive line. Jim Schwartz has done a masterful job as Browns DC thus far and Cleveland has a deep group of pass rushers. Ryan Tannehill wilted against the Saints’ pressure in Week 1, including throwing three interceptions. Cleveland’s defense should be able to feast 🍴 as well.