Here are the biggest takeaways from Week 2 in college football that can help bettors going forward:
Tough Luck Losers
Georgia Tech outgained South Florida 602-426 and averaged 8.0 yards per play on offense. The Yellow Jackets took a 38-28 lead in the fourth quarter before giving up 21 unanswered points and losing 49-38. Georgia Tech opened as a three-point road favorite at Pittsburgh in Week 3 and that line is now at Georgia Tech -4. Georgia Tech could offer some value as underdogs when they host Clemson in Week 4.
The team that held the biggest box score edge in Week 2 without winning the game was Memphis. They outgained Navy 378-316 and averaged 9.7 yards per rush while holding the Midshipmen to 3.6 yards per rush. The issue for the Tigers was time of possession: Navy ran 30 more plays and had the ball for over 25 minutes longer than Memphis. Navy scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 22-21 as a seven-point underdog. Memphis has a weak schedule ahead but there might be an opportunity to back them when they host UCF on October 13 and travel to Missouri on October 20.
Don’t take anything away from Nebraska in their 33-28 loss against Colorado on Saturday. The Cornhuskers were already in a tough spot after their Week 1 game was postponed and they faced a Colorado team that routed Colorado State in their opener. Nebraska spotted Colorado 14 early points with two fumbles in the first quarter, but went on to win the total yards battle 565-395. Nebraska led in the fourth quarter before quarterback Adrian Martinez suffered a right leg injury and walk-on sophomore Andrew Bunch was asked to finish the game. Scott Frost had encouraging words to say about Martinez’s status, including that he might play in Week 3 against Troy. If Martinez is healthy, Nebraska could be a team that will cover big spreads as underdogs against the top teams in the Big Ten.
There was a lot to like from Texas A&M’s narrow defeat to Clemson. The Aggies almost pulled off an outright upset as 12.5-point underdogs and were a failed two-point conversion away from having a chance to send the game to overtime. Texas A&M outgained Clemson 501-413 and quarterback Kellen Mond threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns. Texas A&M was also on the wrong side of an unlucky play when wide receiver Quartney Davis fumbled before reaching the end zone, resulting in a touchback. Mond and the Aggies showed signs that they are ahead of schedule and could offer some betting value when SEC play begins. Texas A&M travels to Alabama in Week 4 and then has three winnable games against Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina before a bye week.
Teams to Buy
The talk all week before Michigan’s game against Western Michigan was about their opening loss to Notre Dame and the future of Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines proved they can still be one of the best teams in the country by jumping out to a 35-0 halftime lead on Saturday. Michigan averaged 8.5 yards per play and held Western Michigan to 2.8 yards per play. The loss to Notre Dame was a setback for Harbaugh’s squad, but that might have created betting value for Michigan in some Big Ten games with a closer point spread.
It’s time to take notice of the Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes shut out Northern Illinois for almost 58 minutes and only allowed 3.4 yards per play in Week 1. In Week 2, they stepped up in class against in-state rival Iowa State and gave up just a field goal and allowed 3.4 yards per play. The unit hasn’t struggled despite losing their top three leading tacklers from 2017 and second-round pick Josh Jackson. Iowa will get a huge test in two weeks when they host Wisconsin in a primetime game.
Coming off an impressive upset win over Texas in Week 1, Maryland faced a potential flat spot as they traveled to play Bowling Green. Maryland won 45-14 on the scoreboard and 565-158 in the yards battle. There is still uncertainty about what Maryland is going to do about D.J. Durkin and if that will be a distraction for the team. But offensive coordinator and interim head coach Matt Canada has done a great job in Durkin’s absence.
Teams to Sell
Northwestern defeated Purdue on the first Thursday of the season in what was viewed as an important game for the Big Ten West. You can discredit that game after the Week 2 results. Purdue lost at home to Eastern Michigan and now are seven-point home underdogs against Missouri in Week 3. Northwestern failed to score in the second half for the second straight game and fell at home to Duke 21-7. Stay away from betting on both of these teams.
It could be a long season for Kansas State if one of their two quarterbacks doesn’t emerge as the clear choice to be the starter. After narrowly beating South Dakota in Week 1, Kansas State struggled on offense in a 31-10 loss to Mississippi State last week. Quarterbacks Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton combined for 100 passing yards. The Wildcats have one final non-conference game before a challenging Big 12 slate starts with a trip to West Virginia.
The Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras were forgettable for Florida fans, but at least those coaches were perfect against Kentucky. That’s something Dan Mullen can’t say after his first attempt as the head coach in Gainesville as Kentucky snapped a 31-game losing streak to Florida. There has to be concern about the Florida defense after they allowed 8.0 yards per play and Mullen said they missed 20 tackles that resulted in 168 extra yards for Kentucky. Florida needs to solve their issues quickly as they play at Tennessee in Week 4, travel to Mississippi State in Week 5 and then host LSU in Week 6.