All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. My picks are in bold, with that team’s spread attached. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.
My first week got off to a terrible start, as I lost every Thursday and Friday wager, with most coming in ugly fashion. Had I been paying more attention, I would have noted that the tail end of Hurricane Harvey was to be hitting Memphis around the time of the game in which I had bet on the Tigers (and lost).
The pick in which I was most disappointed with myself was Tulsa. I thought the Golden Hurricane would be able to put up more points against Oklahoma State’s defense.
Let’s get to this week’s wagers, where I will be attempting to bet against overreactions to Week 1.
1. Memphis +3.5 at UCF: After Memphis QB Riley Ferguson threw for just 97 yards on 25 attempts in a tropical storm, I expect him to bounce back in a major way.
2. Stanford +7 at USC: Stanford has recruited very well along the offensive line and should be capable of blocking up against the Trojans.
3. Oklahoma at Ohio State -7: Tight end Mark Andrews is a real weapon for the Sooners, but do they have enough weapons around him to go into Columbus and pull the upset? Ohio State was physically superior last season in Norman.
4. Georgia at Notre Dame -4: I happen to like new Georgia QB Jake Fromm a lot. And Georgia has plenty of defensive talent. But Notre Dame has the offensive line to block it up, and QB Brandon Wimbush is very talented himself.
5. Nebraska at Oregon OVER 69 points: Both teams could easily score in the 40s here, with the disparity between offense and defense on both sides.
6. Northwestern at Duke +3: Duke QB Daniel Jones is the real deal. Northwestern barely outgained Nevada in Week 1 on a per-play basis.
7. TCU -3 at Arkansas: I do not often lay the points with road favorites, but I am high on TCU and believe the Horned Frogs are a superior bunch.
8. Old Dominion at UMass +4: Old Dominion’s offense is not good enough to be laying points to anyone on the road, so I am taking UMass.
9. Fresno State +44 at Alabama: I look for Alabama to try to develop its passing game some after playing a draining game against FSU. That might lead to points, but it could also lead to some punts as the kinks get worked out. Fresno State’s offense is very experienced.
10. UAB +14.5 at Ball State: I successfully wagered on Ball State in Week 1 under the logic that Illinois should not be a favorite of a touchdown over anyone. I am now reversing that logic and thinking UAB has too much talent to be underdogs of two touchdowns against a MAC team.
11. Iowa at Iowa State +3: I successfully wagered on Iowa in Week 1, but taking the field goal at home is too much to pass up.
12. Cincinnati at Michigan -34: The popular narrative is that Michigan might be a really good team late in the season as its youth matures. I am of the opinion that the Wolverines are really good right now. Michigan outgained Florida by 60 percent on a per-play basis in Week 1, with only two turnovers returned for touchdowns keeping the score remotely close.
13. UTSA at Baylor -16: Baylor is in for a rough year and lost to FCS Liberty in Week 1. But look closer at the result, and see the Bears outgained liberty 8.3-5.7 on a per-play basis, which is excellent.
14. Eastern Michigan at Rutgers -5: You can do this, Rutgers. You can beat a middling MAC team.
15. South Carolina at Missouri -2.5: South Carolina was outgained by NC State, 504-246, and still won, thanks to turnovers and special teams, two elements of football not as repeatable on a week-to-week basis as offense and defense.
16. Western Kentucky -7 at Illinois: Unfortunately for the Ilini, being in the Big Ten is not actually worth any points on game day.
17. Louisville -9.5 at North Carolina: UNC is not good. It simply lost way too much offensive talent, and its defense hasn’t been anything to write home about in recent years. Look for Lamar Jackson and the Cards to put up a ton of points.
18. San Jose State +27.5 at Texas: Texas allowed over 8 yards-per-play against Maryland. San Jose State has had an extra week to prepare for this after opening on Aug. 26 against USF.
19. Marshall at N.C. State -24: As noted above, NC State outgained South Carolina, 504-246, yet lost. This is one of the better 0-1 teams in the nation.
20. Louisiana Monroe at Florida State -34: FSU must break in new QB James Blackman, a true freshman who has been on campus for only about two months. But ULM is a bad team, and the athletic difference here should be stark.