Hopefully you’ve recovered from a wild opening weekend in college football because Week 2 is already on the doorstep. Alabama at Texas is the blockbuster game Saturday, but there’s a lot of intrigue surrounding games like Iowa State at Iowa and Tennessee at Pitt. We’re diving deep into the College Football Week 2 slate to try and find the best bets on the board.
Last week, I went 1-2 in this piece on a tough ending to Utah-Florida. But there’s no time to dwell on the past, it’s time to dive into this week’s slate!
Free College Football Pick’em! Compete for $50 in prizes every week by entering our free college betting games.
College Football Week 2 Best Bets
To place a bet on any of the games below, click on their odds in the tables.
No. 1 Alabama at Texas
This line opened at Alabama -17 and almost immediately ballooned to -20. In terms of closing line value (CLV), this line should be theoretically toast. But I’m not convinced 20 points is high enough (you can find 19.5 points for a few cents nod as of Thursday morning).
Texas is starting two true freshmen on the offensive line: Cole Hutson at right guard and, most importantly, Kelvin Banks Jr. at left tackle. Banks specifically will be tasked with blocking freak-of-nature Will Anderson or his runningmate Dallas Turner. Anderson already pulled in five tackles and one for a loss in limited Week 1 snaps against Utah State; he finished with 31.5 TFLs last season, second-most ever.
It’s hard to gauge just how good or bad the Texas OL really is from their Week 1 outing against ULM. This week, we still may not get a sense as Alabama rosters perhaps the most ferocious pass rush in the country.
On the other side, Texas fields the 47th-ranked defense per SP+ with a secondary omitted from Phil Steele’s top-64 DB units. Against Heisman winner Bryce Young (18-195-5), this secondary might be bleeding yards from the get go.
Against a former assistant in Steve Sarkisian, Nick Saban is going to put the throttle all the way down. I don’t expect this game to be close at all.
- Brett’s bet placed Sept. 8 at PointsBet
- Best available number: Alabama
No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pittsburgh
One team that’s subject to Week 1 overreactions is Pittsburgh. Numbers coming from the Backyard Brawl suggest the Panthers played a good game, but that’s not what I saw. Kedon Slovis missed plenty of reads, held onto the football too long, and took disastrous sacks. Against an offense like West Virginia, they had some cushion. Against an offense like Tennessee, they won’t.
Even with some of the best starting field position last week, the Vols ran 87 plays– fourth-most in the country. I don’t trust a Frank Cignetti Jr. offense to keep pace with what Tennessee rolls out.
Pitt’s defense severely underwhelmed expectations, now landing 69th in the SP+ ratings. WVU’s Bryce Wheaton (9-97-2) was a problem for Pitt all night long until he gifted them the game-winning pick-six. This smells like opportunity for All-SEC selection Cedric Tillman, who logged over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs last season.
That said, this number moved a whole point in favor of Pitt on Thursday morning (from -6.5 to -5.5). I’m not laying the juice for a fairly inconsequential half-point move– six points only pushes 6% of the time– so I’d lean with the round six at -110.
- Brett’s bet placed Sept. 8 at Caesars Sportsbook
- Best available number: Tennessee
Iowa State at Iowa
The Army-Navy Game and the CyHawk Game are my two favorite under bets each and every year. Since 2016, these teams combined for over 45 points once (a bizarre 44-41 shootout in 2017); even in a 2016 42-3 blowout, the game touched that 45 point mark. The last three matchups combined for 16, 35, and 44 points.
Those previous games also featured an Iowa team with a much more capable QB than Spencer Petras and Iowa State with a true home run threat back (Breece Hall). Now, both of these offenses are rebuilding from the studs with new personnel. Without overreacting to the embarrassing effort turned in by Iowa last week, that offense has some serious issues.
Xavier Hutchinson (8-128-3 last week) was named a preseason All American and he’s large and by far the best offensive player in this game. But against another All American– corner Riley Moss– and the nation’s seventh-ranked defense in the SP+, Hutchinson likely isn’t going to rip the top off the game.
With the better of the two offenses is playing one of the best defenses in the country, CyHawk feels like another stagnant game.
- Brett’s bet placed Sept. 6 at Caesars Sportsbook
- Best available number: Under
Mississippi State at Arizona
Moreso than personnel or data, the circumstances surrounding this game is driving this bet. If that’s not your cup of tea, feel free to cut it short here.
Last year, I pinpointed bizarre kick times and places in intriguing bets, specifically when Nevada played at 8:00 a.m. locally for the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit and got boat raced by Western Michigan. Keep in mind, these are college-aged kids who aren’t seasoned travel vets like in the NFL. Mississippi State kicks this game at 10:00 p.m. in Starkville and I love a good body clock game. Tucson is also a bizarre place to play.
Arizona looked feisty in their opening game against a solid San Diego State defense. Transfer Jacob Cowing arrived to the scene with eight catches, 153 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. Jayden de Laura looked comfortable in the ‘Cats offense after coming down from Washington State.
Mississippi State fields a really strong defense (14th in SP+ rating), but oftentimes defense can be left behind in lengthy trips. Shift focus now to the Mike Leach offense and star QB Will Rogers facing off against a high-octane Arizona offense at night and you’re in store for a good, old fashioned shootout.
I like Arizona to score points in this game. That doesn’t mean they’ll win outright– hell or even keep this single-digits– but when you’re spotting me 11.5 points this late at night for the home team with a talented offense, I’m going to take those points every time.
- Brett’s bet placed Sept. 8 at FanDuel Sportsbook
- Best available number: Arizona
College Football Week 2 Odds
Follow TheLines on Twitter for all college football odds and analysis, and best of luck with your college football Week 2 bets.