During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 2 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: USC -7.5 over Stanford.
I hate this line. I don’t want to bet it. But I have to because this year’s Stanford isn’t even close to what the Cardinal have been under David Shaw. Quarterback Tanner McKee has a great pedigree and is a solid player, but he doesn’t have much around him roster-wise. The Stanford front seven is one of the worst in the Pac-12, and I expect USC’s offense to get plenty of chunk plays against this defense (the Trojans had nine plays of 20+ yards in the season opener against Rice).
So why am I hesitant to bet on USC? The Trojans have lost four of their last five at Stanford Stadium and have covered just two times in the regular season against the Cardinal since 2014. My heart tells me to stay away due to the history, but my head reminds me that Lincoln Riley and this USC team had nothing to do with those past losses.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Alabama -11.5 first half over Texas.
If you didn’t know already, I like winning bets. So I try to go with bets that win a lot — and Alabama first-half spread bets win a lot. This was one of the most profitable bets last season, and the Tide picked up where they left off by covering in Week 1. Now that it’s Alabama -11.5 against an unconvincing Texas squad, I’ll gladly scoop it up for the first half.
Sure, Texas QB Quinn Ewers looked serviceable in Week 1. But this Bama defense is more than just a step up from Louisiana-Monroe. We also know Nick Saban’s history of success against former assistant coaches, so the Tide should have no problem getting out to a strong lead at the half.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Army +3 over UTSA.
I usually have a high volume of bets for Week 2 of college football because I can spot overreactions to what we saw in the opening games. However, I’m having trouble finding line value this time around.
It definitely won’t be my favorite bet of 2022, but I’ll make the case for Army. UTSA is coming off a brutal home loss to an in-state ranked opponent in Houston last week. The Roadrunners had a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter and lost 37-35 in triple overtime. Having to travel to Army to face a triple-option team in the earliest TV time window is the perfect example of a “hangover” game for UTSA. On top of that, they have a Week 3 date at Texas next week. I’ll back the Black Knights on Saturday.
AS: Colorado +18 over Air Force.
I’m betting Colorado and the points this week despite the fact that the Buffaloes stink and Air Force is one of the best teams in the Group of Five. I believe this line has gotten so high after opening at Air Force (-14) because Colorado gave up 275 rushing yards on 30 attempts last week against TCU. While that doesn’t bode well for a matchup against a triple-option team, I don’t believe the Buffs’ defense is as bad as it looked in the opener.
In addition, the Falcons open conference play the following week and will hope to get out of this one healthy. I don’t feel great about it, but I’m riding with Karl Dorrell’s team on the road.
BW: UAB -6.5 over Liberty.
No more Malik Willis means no more Liberty love from me. Not only is this Liberty’s first true test of the year without their former QB, but it’s a revenge game for UAB after the Blazers lost to Liberty in their home opener last season. Listen, the Blazers are legit this year. They showed it in Week 1 when they comfortably covered a 40-point spread by beating Alabama A&M 59-0.
The Blazers also LOVE running the ball, as they did it 36 times last week for 231 yards. Liberty? Well they gave up 252 rushing yards to Southern Miss. Give me UAB by double digits in this one.
NJ: Boston College +3 over Virginia Tech.
Both teams are coming off tough losses last week, as Virginia Tech was upset by Old Dominion on the road and Boston College fell at home to Rutgers. In a spot where both teams are looking to bounce back, I’ll take Boston College’s Jeff Hafley over first-time head coach Brent Pry. The Eagles also have a better QB in three-year starter Phil Jurkovec. In games between two middling ACC teams, I tend to look toward the underdog, and I’ll do exactly that in this game.
AS: Kentucky (+190) over Florida.
Florida looked awesome in a season-opening 29-26 victory against Utah, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 remaining before staging a goal-line stand to seal it. The Gators are No. 12 in the AP Poll after starting the season unranked and now have heightened expectations in Billy Napier’s first season.
I believe the Gators are good, but not good enough to warrant being -225 on the moneyline against Kentucky. Will Levis is a better quarterback than Utah’s Cameron Rising, and I expect Levis and UK to have a real shot to pull off the upset at The Swamp.
BW: Georgia Southern 1H ML (+600) over Nebraska.
Since I don’t really love any true underdogs this weekend, let’s have a little bit of fun and fade Scott Frost — at least to start the game. The Cornhuskers were tied (!!!) with North Dakota last weekend at the half and lost to Northwestern in Ireland. Who’s to say Georgia Southern can’t scare Scott Frost and company through two quarters this Saturday? Do I have any other stats to back this up? Nope. But this will be a fun bet to root for, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
NJ: Georgia State (+230) over North Carolina.
North Carolina was involved in the wildest Week 1 game when they beat Appalachian State 63-61, in a game that featured 62 points scored in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels go back on the road for the second straight week to play another Sun Belt team. QB Drake Maye looks great for UNC, but Gene Chizik’s defense has been a complete disaster early in this season.
Georgia State lost 35-14 to South Carolina last week, but the Panthers had a lead in the second half and South Carolina twice blocked a punt for a touchdown. I think there’s a lot of variance in this game, so I’ll have a small bet on Georgia State at this price.
AS: I have quite a few games circled this week and am watching a lot of numbers on this week’s board. If any of these numbers pop I’m firing: Arkansas (-7) vs. South Carolina, Pitt (+7.5) vs. Tennessee, Iowa (-3) vs. Iowa State, and BYU (-2.5) vs. Baylor. I don’t know if any of these games will get there but I’m hopeful.
BW: Northwestern -10 over Duke.
Because it’s Duke, I want to fade them to infinity and beyond (please don’t sue me, Pixar), but because it’s Northwestern, I’m also scared to lay 10 with them. The Wildcats held their own across the pond in Ireland, but I’m still not convinced this is a team that can consistently cover — especially in this semi-new rivalry game. Will NU win? Probably. But can they play a good enough game to cover by double digits? I’m skeptical.
NJ: Under 40.5 in Iowa State vs. Iowa.
Everything about this game says under after Iowa scored seven points against South Dakota State last weekend in a 7-3 win. It wasn’t a traditional way to get to seven for the Hawkeyes as they had one field goal and two safeties to stave off an FCS foe. Betting the under seems like an easy call, especially since Iowa State is replacing a lot on offense from their team last season. That being said, 40 feels too low for me because of the possibility for a defensive/special teams touchdown or turnover setting up a short field.