During the college football season, Stadium’s staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice. 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.
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Iowa +4.5 over Iowa State.
I have to get something off my chest: I love QB Brock Purdy and I love betting on Matt Campbell. However, my favorite pick against the spread this week is Iowa +4.5 at Iowa State. Six of the last eight Cy-Hawk games have been decided by 10 points or less, and in this matchup I will take the points.
Iowa’s defense is currently No. 1 in Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings and the Hawkeyes have a massive special teams edge over the Cyclones (which came heavily into play in the 2019 game between these two teams). Despite my love for Purdy and Campbell, I have to back the Hawkeyes in this spot.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: NC State -1 over Mississippi State.
This isn’t the greatest weekend for college football bets, so I’m going with what worked for me last week, and that’s betting the Wolfpack. They looked great in their 45-0 win over USF, and while a road game against Mississippi State is a tougher matchup, NC State has the offensive talent to win this one. Plus, Mike Leach’s Bulldogs didn’t inspire much confidence in their comeback victory over Louisiana Tech.
Kate Constable, Stadium Host & Digital Producer: Notre Dame -17 over Toledo.
Notre Dame just barely squeaked out a win over FSU last week, failing to cover the -7 spread. But with the Irish at home for the first time this season, I like ND to cover the -17 spread against Toledo in what will be a much more comfortable win for Irish fans.
Notre Dame QB Jack Coan looked strong in Week 1, throwing for 366 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception. Their passing game proved that it can have success even when the run game doesn’t get going, so any positive addition to the rushing attack on Saturday means the Irish will put up a lot of points.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Pittsburgh -3 over Tennessee.
This was the game that jumped off my screen when the Week 2 lines dropped on Sunday. Pittsburgh opened as the favorite giving under a field goal, and I made sure to immediately bet it.
My enthusiasm in this game comes from being able to fade Tennessee against a Power Five school at a reasonable price. The Volunteers opened the season last Thursday and labored for the first 30 minutes against Bowling Green, who is one of the worst FBS teams. Michigan transfer Joe Milton finished with a 47.8 completion percentage, and if he was only able to accomplish that against lowly Bowling Green, then Pat Narduzzi’s defense should have success in Knoxville.
2. What is another bet you like?
AS: Utah -7 over BYU.
The “Holy War” is one of college football’s most underrated rivalries, and on Saturday night I’ll be backing Utah at BYU. The Cougars got a Pac-12 victory in Week 1 against Arizona, but the Utes are a huge step up in class, and multiple power ratings that I trust have this handicapped closer to a double-digit game.
Kyle Whittingham’s defense is nasty (third among Pac-12 teams in total havoc last season) and QB Charlie Brewer has the tools to take this offense to new heights. I’m hopeful I can find -6.5 in the market before kickoff, but I will be fine laying seven points.
BW: Iowa State -4.5 over Iowa.
I’m probably only going to bet two or three college games this weekend, and I’m leaning toward the Cyclones as one of my wagers. Both offenses in this week’s Cy-Hawk game looked less than great in their Week 1 victories. Iowa only scored 20 offensive points against IU at home, while Iowa State struggled with Northern Iowa all game. In this one, I think a combination of Iowa State being at home and having the two best offensive players on the field will give them more than enough to cover.
KC: Liberty -4 over Troy.
Liberty QB Malik Willis is an absolute stud and also one of 20 starters returning from last year’s 10-1 team. As a dual-threat QB, he completed 64.2% of his passes last season and rushed for 944 yards. After the Flames’ 48-7 win over Campbell in Week 1, it looks as if Willis has picked up right where he left off, completing 65.2% of his passes and rushing for 55 yards in the game. With Willis leading this team, I like Liberty to cover the -4 spread, even on the road. Not to mention the Flames are also 9-0 ATS in their last nine games.
NJ: Under 40.5 in Air Force-Navy.
A personal rule for me is that whenever two service academies play against each other, I must bet the under. This is a particularly strong bet when Army and Navy play each other in December, as the last 15 meetings between the two have gone under the total. All three of the schools run the triple-option offense, which leads to the clock continuing to run and the defenses playing against that same system in practice. I’m all for rooting for punts and eight-minute drives that end in a turnover on downs in this game on Saturday.
3. Which underdog of +200 or more on the moneyline has the best chance of an outright upset?
AS: Appalachian State (+260) over Miami.
I had a really difficult time finding an answer for this question, but have settled on Appalachian State visiting Miami this weekend. The ‘Canes are coming off a very physical game with Alabama in Week 1, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami starts slow after getting destroyed by the Tide in Atlanta last week.
I’m hopeful that Nate Noel, Camerun Peoples and the Mountaineer rushing attack can take advantage and build an early lead to take the crowd out of it.
BW: Washington (+215) over Michigan.
A long underdog on the road in the Big House? Michigan has never messed that one up before… In all transparency, I got this Michigan line when it opened at -4, but I can see the Maize and Blue losing in an embarrassing fashion this weekend — never put that past Jim Harbaugh.
Sure, Washington looked putrid in their Week 1 loss against Montana, but I’ve seen enough bad Michigan performances to want to take a shot at the ML here.
KC: Georgia Southern (+200) over FAU.
After losing to No. 13 Florida in its season opener, FAU prepares for an evenly matched game against Georgia Southern in Week 2. However, the Eagles proved they at least have a strong ground game in Week 1 with 365 rushing yards against Gardner-Webb.
I realize that Florida is a drastically better opponent than Gardner-Webb, but the Owls still gave up 400 total yards on the ground and could have their hands full this weekend.
NJ: Washington (+215) over Michigan.
This wager is all about the overreaction in the betting market to a 60-minute sample size for both teams. Entering Week 1, the look-ahead line for this game was Michigan -1. After the Wolverines dominated Western Michigan and Washington lost 13-7 to Montana, the line re-opened at -4 and has gotten pushed up to a full touchdown.
I’m not high on Washington, but I don’t want to overreact to one bad game when they may have been looking ahead to this matchup. Also, Michigan star wide receiver Ronnie Bell is out and the total has crashed down to 48.5, so expect this to be a tight, low-scoring contest.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
AS: Oregon +14.5 over Ohio State.
Oregon feels like the right side, but Kayvon Thibodeaux’s ankle injury is likely going to keep me off the Ducks. This number opened at 10.5 and quickly ballooned to where it sits now because of Oregon’s rough showing in Week 1 against Fresno State. I don’t think the Ducks’ offense is as bad as it looked last week, but with Thibodeaux’s status up in the air, I’m going to stay away.
BW: Oregon +14.5 over Ohio State.
That hook looks really tasty right here, but I just can’t bring myself to ever bet against Ohio State. They’re on that level where one minute the game is close and then 60 seconds later, they’re up 17 points. Ohio State at home with an early start for a West Coast-based Oregon squad really makes me hesitant to back the Ducks, even with that hook.
KC: Purdue -34.5 over UConn.
UConn might be the worst team in college football this year. They gave up 38 points to Holy Cross last week. I repeat, HOLY CROSS — an FCS team! The Huskies also played in Week 0 and were routed 45-0 by Fresno State.
Earlier this week, UConn head coach Randy Edsall announced that he’s stepping down immediately. If he’s already waving the white flag, I have a feeling it’s going to be hard for his players not to do the same. While I want to take this line, and still might, laying -34.5 points is a lot for any team, especially a mediocre Purdue program on the road.
NJ: Iowa +4.5 over Iowa State.
Early in the week I thought I would be betting Iowa in this game. The Hawkeyes cruised to a 34-6 win over Indiana in the opener and Iowa State struggled to beat Northern Iowa in Week 1. But Iowa’s win was aided by two pick-sixes, so the final score was a bit misleading. Ultimately, I don’t trust Iowa’s offense if they fall behind, so I’m going to stay away.