10 Best College Football Predictions Against The Spread: Week 2
What games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the Week 2 weekend of the college football season?
Results So Far ATS: 14-6-1
Last week was all about the favorites picking all ten to crank it up and win easily – the picks went a decent 6-4.
The real killer over all was the under – there was a massive wave of lower-than-expected scoring games that made Week 1 either very good or very rough for the investors.
This week a few underdogs are sprinkled in, but in general, 1) the lines still seem a tad too high on the totals – go under until the shift to normal comes – and 2) the favorites still look good in the over-reactionary second week.
So let’s start with an interesting dog that might be creeping up come Saturday …
Click on each game for preview
LINE Ohio State -14.5
ATS PICK Oregon
And now we get the hook.
Sort of liked this when it opened at Buckeyes -11.5, loved at 14, yay at the 14.5 it bumped up to after news of the Kayvon Thibodeaux injury came out.
Oregon’s mediocre performance in the win over Fresno State solidified the double-digit line – it would’ve been around 9.5 had the Ducks won by 30 instead of 31-24 – but blow that off.
Oregon is one of the few teams in America that can run with Ohio State. It’s got the athletes, it’s got the talent, and it’s got the guys to potentially pull this off outright if Ohio State QB CJ Stroud struggles and if the O line doesn’t take over.
The Buckeyes should pull this off, but the 14.5 is a tad too high.
LINE NC State -1
ATS PICK NC State
It went from a Pick to NC State -2.5 to Pack -1.
That all might be tremendous undervalue considering Mississippi State isn’t very good at college football under Mike Leach.
It needed to pull a 35-34 win over Louisiana Tech out of the fire, the offense still isn’t working like it’s supposed to, and that’s coming off a 2020 that started and ended well and was a disaster in between.
Somewhat quietly, NC State has the upside, experience, and talent to be the second-best team in the ACC if it can put together a a string of consistent performances.
Nah, you never like the ACC over the SEC on the road, but the real spread should be NC State -8ish instead of just the 1.
LINE Miami -9
ATS PICK Appalachian State
Warning … I’m trying to make a pick happen here.
I firmly believe that if I make a prediction with enough conviction, it’ll happen.
I take full responsibility for picking Michigan State into the 2014 Rose Bowl, and I’ve been working on making Texas A&M a College Football Playoff team by predicting it to be true.
Maybe I’m not fully committed here – although I probably should be – but I’m trying to make the world believe that Appalachian State is not only the best team in the Sun Belt, but it could win this outright with its experience, running game, and timing by catching Miami between Alabama and Michigan State.
The Mountaineers might just win this outright, and the world is giving us nine points.
LINE South Alabama -14
ATS PICK South Alabama
Welcome to the first of five I Despise Picking Big Spreads When The Underdog Is Totally Awful, I’m Lying, I Love It predictions for this week.
I’m also picking out of spite, even though it was Tennessee’s fault for fumbling late and not covering against Bowling Green.
Until the Falcons can prove they can do something right, I’ll overreact and go the other way.
Akron. A winless 2019 Akron was the last FBS team Bowling Green has beaten in the last 12 games.
More than anything else, I’m in on Jake Bentley – the USA QB who formerly played for Utah and South Carolina. He was brilliant in the 31-7 win over Southern Miss, and he’ll be just fine again this week.
Bowling Green has lost each of its last nine games – and 15 of its last 17 – by well over two touchdowns. It’s about to do it again.
LINE Temple -6.5
ATS PICK Temple
Not only is this the second I Despise Picking Big Spreads When The Underdog Is Totally Awful, I’m Lying, I Love It pick of the week, but I’m also trying to make a pick happen as I combine my belief systems.
I think Temple is better than it’s been playing over the last two years, including in the rim-rocking, 5 turnover-fest of a loss to Rutgers last week. But this is more about Akron.
The Zips lost to Auburn 60-10 – being outgained on the ground 316 yards to -3 – making it seven total annihilations they’ve suffered in the last eight games and 22nd in the last 24.
Temple has hardly been a prize going 1-8 in its last nine games, but you’re asking for a touchdown win over one of the most reliably bad teams going.
NEXT: No. 5 Pick Against The Spread: Buffalo at Nebraska
LINE Nebraska -14
ATS PICK Buffalo
Ohio out of the MAC was a favorite in some places over Syracuse last week. The Orange were one of the plays in last week’s 10 Best Picks piece and turned in a 29-9 win.
The underground hipster kids were all slamming to the MAC’s Western Michigan not only covering against Michigan, but possibly winning outright. That was never going to happen, and it didn’t in a very large 47-14 way.
As a noted and proud Power Five over Group of Five snob, I don’t take this pick from the MAC lightly …
Buffalo might beat Nebraska.
The Huskers are still a bit of a mystery. There’s a chance the loss to Illinois to start the season was just a quirky misfire thanks to sloppy Week 1 mistakes. There’s a small part of me that thinks something is about to click under Scott Frost and then all will seem right with the world.
Or Nebraska is a big bowl of meh and might be happy to be in contention for a bowl game late in the season.
This is just the third Power Five program Buffalo has faced since losing to Minnesota 17-7 to open up the 2017 season – blowing away Rutgers in 2018 and losing to a great Penn State in 2019.
This year’s version is every bit as good as the team that should’ve won the MAC last year, and even without former star RB Jaret Patterson, it might be better.
It’s full of experience and is loaded with 13 super seniors to add even more depth to the mix.
The old guys on Illinois made a huge difference in the win over Nebraska.
The Huskers should be able to pull this off – the offense might have figured out the timing last week in its blowout win over Fordham – but the 14 seem like they’re too many.
And if I’m wrong, I’ll hear it in the P5 Snob meeting next Wednesday. There will be snacks.
NEXT: No. 4 Pick Against The Spread: UConn at Purdue
LINE Purdue -34
ATS PICK Purdue
Full disclosure – this was going to be the No. 2 pick but I felt bad. UConn is having a tough run, and it just felt mean to put it up so high.
Head coach Randy Edsall was going to step down at the end of the season after his program went 6-30 from 2017 to 2019, didn’t play last year, and started out 2021 losing 45-0 to Fresno State and 38-28 to Holy Cross.
Instead, he’s done now.
Meanwhile, Purdue is coming off a solid home win over an Oregon State team that many had pegged as ready to pull off the upset. It was hardly a perfect performance by the Boilermakers, but it was a nine-point win over a Pac-12 team.
I honestly would’ve thought about taking Purdue here if the line was in the 40s, and 34 is more than reasonable in the third I Despise Picking Big Spreads When The Underdog Is Totally Awful, I’m Lying, I Love It selections of the week.
UConn did manage to battle a bit with Illinois back in early 2019 in a 31-23 loss, and the 38-3 defeat to Indiana wasn’t next-level ugly. An early 2016 home win over Virginia was the last win over a Power Five team, and since then the Huskies haven’t been all that close against anyone, much less a good team.
If Purdue is focused, it might hit the 35 in the first half and go from there.
Speaking of no offense …
NEXT: No. 3 Pick Against The Spread: USF at Florida
LINE Florida -28.5
ATS PICK Florida
The only possible concern here is that USF finds some extra bizzaro gear it showed last year late in the season.
The program still has yet to win a game over an FCS team since Jeff Scott took over before 2020, but the offense got into a fun shootout in a 58-46 loss to UCF to end last season, and it almost pulled off wins in high-scoring battles with Temple and Memphis.
Those were all aberrations, and none of those teams were 2021 Florida.
Think Wisconsin 49-0 over USF to open the 2019 season and most Georgia Tech’s 14-10 survival in the game right after.
There’s one other concern – Alabama is up next for the Gators.
However, while Florida might not want to show too much, and it’s certainly going to want to save the starters, there’s work to do.
The passing game has to be better and sharper after last week’s win over Florida Atlantic, and a bigger scoring punch early would be nice. The defense should take care of the rest.
Be impressed if the Bulls can get to ten points and work from there.
Here’s your fun-fact for the day – this is Florida’s first road game against a now-Group of Five program since a 38-13 win at Memphis in 1989. This one will be uglier.
Be a little grouchy with the hook on the 28, but the team that ran for 400 yards on FAU should go off. Speaking of strange road trips …
NEXT: No. 2 Pick Against The Spread: Boston College at UMass
LINE Boston College -37
ATS PICK Boston College
UMass was my pick of picks last week – in the game preview the call was 51-6 Pitt, and it was 51-7; I’ll do better next time – because it stayed right on brand,
UMass football just doesn’t score.
As I pointed out last week, the Minutemen scored one touchdown in the four-game 2020 and haven’t scored more than ten in seven of the last eight games. The only win over the last 19 outings was over Akron in 2019 that went winless.
Between the transfer portal, rebuilding, and a whole lot of attempts to find something that works, UMass is struggling to find its footing in the world.
Enter Boston College, who makes the trip over to Amherst to tune up for … Temple? Okay, but there is some work to be done here.
The 51-0 win over Colgate was great, but the Eagles still have to find a running game before the dates start to get more dangerous. Missouri is up in a. few weeks, then Clemson, then NC State. BC has a passing game, but it has to do more.
It’s the D, though, that will get you where you need to be.
NEXT: No. 1 Pick Against The Spread: South Carolina at East Carolina
LINE South Carolina -2
ATS PICK South Carolina
Every once in a while there’s a line that appears way too easy to be real.
Many were screaming at me that the LSU -4 against UCLA was a gift. It was a package of socks.
It’s not like this is new territory for East Carolina as a program.
It pulled off a 41-19 shocker at home over North Carolina in 2018, stunned NC State 33-30 in 2016, and caught Virginia Tech in 2014 – UNC, too, – and 2015. It’s just that spread that’s so enticing.
However, this is the crazy-looking line for this week, and it’s not just because East Carolina couldn’t stop Appalachian State’s running game in a 33-19 loss.
South Carolina might be building back better under new head coach Shane Beamer, and it all worked in a 46-0 win over Eastern Illinois, but East Carolina has the firepower to be dangerous.
Here’s the problem. Nate Noel and Cameron Peoples each hit the 100-yard-mark for the Mountaineers. The Gamecock lines are better than App State’s.
Star South Carolina RB Kevin Harris is set to see time after getting past back surgery, but the Gamecocks should run for over 250 no matter what, control the clock, and overcome the dangerous ECU offense at home.
It’s only two points.