I haven’t seen such an excellent Week 2 schedule in college football in quite a while. Hopefully, I can tap into the card to do better than my Week 1 record of 3-4.
I went 1-0 on totals, easily cashing with the Over in Texas State-Baylor, but I found out the hard way that Vanderbilt can’t be trusted when laying big points, failing to cover against Hawaii on my 2-unit Best Bet.
Stephen Nover’s TGD Picks Record: 3-4 (-2 units)
CFB Week 2 Best Bets
CFB odds used for these bets are current as of Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 11 p.m. ET at the sportsbooks indicated.
Wisconsin @ Washington State (Saturday)
BEST BET: Wisconsin -6 (-112)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 Units
I don’t believe in déjà vu, at least when it pertains to Wisconsin-Washington State.
The Cougars upset the Badgers, 17-14, on the road as 17.5-point underdogs in Week 2 last season. Wisconsin dominated in first downs and time of possession, but it failed to win. Now, it’s revenge time.
The point spread is considerably smaller, with Washington State so impressive in a 50-24 opening-week road victory against Colorado State.
Cameron Ward had a monster game for the Cougars, completing 37 of 49 passes for 451 yards and three touchdowns.
But the Badgers are a far more physical team and better coached following the change from the conservative Paul Chryst to Luke Fickell and his ace offensive coordinator Phil Longo.
The Badgers also upgraded at quarterback from the disappointing Graham Mertz to Tanner Mordecai.
Wisconsin didn’t lose its outstanding ground attack, which logged 314 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 38-17 Week 1 home win versus Buffalo. That kind of rushing makes things easier for Mordecai and sets up my favorite CFB pick.
Middle Tennessee State @ Missouri (Saturday)
BEST BET: Under 48 (-110)
Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
If this total is going to go Over, Missouri has to do the heavy lifting. The Tigers aren’t explosive enough, though. Their quarterbacks, Brady Cook and Sam Horn, are not downfield passing threats.
Missouri had only three plays of 20 yards or more against South Dakota, an FCS team, in its opener last week. Cook only threw one pass of more than 20 yards in the Tigers’ 35-10 victory.
But Missouri did show a stingy defense and an impressive defensive front. Middle Tennessee State is much stronger on defense, and the Blue Raiders were the fourth-best defense in the red zone last season. They have all but two defensive starters back from that unit.
Middle Tennessee State couldn’t hang against Alabama in its opener last week, losing 56-7. Among the takeaways from that game are that Blue Raiders quarterback Nicholas Vattiato is not very good, and the team played too slowly in averaging only 3.5 yards per play versus the Crimson Tide.
Missouri also does not push tempo. All together, there are good signs to play the Under. Missouri’s defense isn’t as good as Alabama’s, but it is SEC-caliber and can dominate a weak offense such as Middle Tennessee State.
Notre Dame @ North Carolina State (Saturday)
BEST BET: North Carolina State +7.5 (-110)
Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
North Carolina State’s defense is familiar with Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman, and the results haven’t been good for him.
Hartman has struggled trying to solve the Wolfpack’s 3-3-5 defense. Hartman went 1-2 against North Carolina State when he was at Wake Forest, posting a 54 percent completion rate with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of six-to-six.
Notre Dame has looked good in outscoring Navy and Tennessee State by a combined 92 points. But those were weak opponents, and the Irish will be at their third different venue in the last three weeks.
Notre Dame opened play in Week 0 when meeting Navy in Ireland and followed that with a home game in Week 1. Now it’s off to Raleigh, North Carolina, to face the Wolfpack.
North Carolina State will consider this its marquee game of the season, and it has had a couple of extra days to prepare having played last Thursday.
North Carolina State quarterback Brennan Armstrong was very good two years ago at Virginia, but he struggled adapting to the Cavaliers’ new offensive scheme brought in by Tony Elliott after he took over the head coaching job last season.
Armstrong’s transfer to join the Wolfpack should be a better fit for his dual running-passing style.
CFB Week 2 Betting Prediction Leans
Ball State @ Georgia (Saturday)
BET LEAN: Georgia -42 (-110)
A sluggish start didn’t keep top-ranked Georgia and new starting quarterback Carson Beck from rolling past two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Tennessee-Martin, 48-7, last week.
Expect another blowout home victory for the Bulldogs against Ball State, which lost 44-14 to Kentucky last Saturday.
Ball State can’t hang against the SEC big boys. The Cardinals lost at Tennessee in their opener last year, 59-10. They are 2-16 ATS in their last 18 straight-up losses during the past five seasons.
UTEP @ Northwestern (Saturday)
BET LEAN: Northwestern +1.5 (-115)
A turbulent offseason that cost well-respected Pat Fitzgerald his job after 17 years at Northwestern wasn’t rock bottom for the Wildcats. Being home underdogs to UTEP in this game is. The Miners haven’t beaten a Power 5 foe since 1967.
Look for the Wildcats to be better prepared and show more than they did against Rutgers this past Sunday. A Big Ten team does not lose at home to UTEP, which is 17-40 in the last five seasons under Dana Dimel.
Texas @ Alabama (Saturday)
BET LEAN: Under 54.5 (-110)
There is some great defensive talent here facing two quarterbacks who have yet to prove they are stars.
Alabama is running the ball more and playing slower with Bryce Young gone, so look for Texas to stack the line.
Some regard Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers as overrated, that he lacks accuracy on deeper throws. Early market activity is right betting this total down.
(Stay tuned for our full betting preview of Alabama vs Texas, coming Thursday.)
Central Florida @ Boise State (Saturday)
BET LEAN: Boise State +3.5 (-108)
Central Florida’s John Rhys Plumlee led all quarterbacks in rushing last season, and he accounted for four touchdowns in the Knights’ 56-6 home waltz against Kent State last Thursday.
But the Knights will be entering a hornet’s nest when making their first road trip to play Boise State after the Broncos were battered by 10th-ranked Washington, 56-19, on the road last Saturday.
Boise State is down from past seasons, but it still has a strong ground attack led by 1,000-yard rusher George Holani and a defense that ranked in the top 15 last year. This is a step down in class for the Broncos, who are 31-14 (69 percent) the past 45 times they’ve been an underdog.
How To Bet College Football Week 2
Here’s The Game Day’s guide on betting NCAAF for the second full weekend of action:
Week 1 lines were more accurate than usual
Usually, Week 1 lines are not close to the result in College Football. Teams have turnover and new coaching, which makes it hard to make lines. This year, the Week 1 lines were closer than usual to the final game result.
Expect more variance for Week 2.
Expect a double-digit underdog to win outright
The first month of College Football is filled with lopsided non-conference games. Frequently in these games, a +400 moneyline underdog or better wins outright. This is the week where we should see some chaos in college football.
Don’t overreact to Week 1
One danger of handicapping a small sample size sport like college football is in overreacting to Week 1 scores. Sometimes, teams have a bad day. For Week 2, find teams that overperformed in Week 1 and see if they are in a spot where they should revert to the mean.
- Read more about how to bet on college football.