So far this season we’ve had a really strong start in the betting circuit with this column going 5-3 in Week 1, and the Wisconsin football betting preview going 2-0 in the opener. If you tailed these picks you should be strapped with cash heading into Week 2, but there is no time to rest on your winnings.
This week the slate is not as appetizing as last week’s, but there are still a ton of great games across the board. With that, let’s take a look at my favorite bets of the week.
Pitt (-2.5) @ Tennessee
There are a few games across the country that have incredibly contrasting styles of play, and this is one of them. Both teams come into this contest 1-0 after beating up on two of the worst teams in the FBS with Pitt taking down UMass and Tennessee taking down Bowling Green.
We didn’t see a ton to go off of in either opener but I still really like Pitt in this contest for a few different reasons. First, Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi is very familiar with Tennesee’s coach Josh Heupel’s system. Heupel was formerly the coach at UCF and they played a home and home series with Pitt in 2018/2019. I think that familiarity should give an advantage to Pitt in this spot with Tennessee lacking the same personnel that those UCF teams had.
That leads me to my next point, Joe Milton. The former Michigan quarterback transferred to Tennessee last year and won this job, but I am still not sure how well he works in this offense. Milton has a rocket arm, but the accuracy is not there. He throws every throw like it’s a fastball, and in turn, he completed just 47% of his passes against Bowling Green.
Do that against a Pitt front seven and that will put you in pressure situations all day. It just does not seem like a matchup that favors Tennessee at all. I grabbed this number right away at 2.5 but it has already moved to 3 and 3.5 in some spots so try and shop around.
Tulsa @ Oklahoma State Under 51.5
If you’ve followed my betting write-up for the past few years you know I love a good under bet. I especially love under bets in games involving wind. On Saturday, the forecast in Stillwater, Okla. calls for 101-degree temps and 20 MPH winds. I believe that is a tough forecast to couple with two teams that struggled against FCS opponents a week ago.
On one sideline Oklahoma State came away with a 23-16 victory over Missouri State last Saturday. The big news was that quarterback Spencer Sanders was unavailable to play in that opener because of COVID protocols. The reports this week are still sounding like Sanders may be out once again. In his presser, head coach Mike Gundy said he was “unsure” if Sanders will be able to play which means Oklahoma State may be hindered in the passing game when you couple a backup quarterback with the wind mentioned above. Last year, backup Shane Illingworth came into the Tulsa game for a hurt Sanders and went just 4-of-5 for 79 yards.
On the other side, Tulsa is coming in off a brutal loss to UC-Davis 19-17. Part of the reason for that loss is because Tulsa was without 13 players in the first half a week ago due to their suspensions for a brawl against Mississippi State a year ago. Those players returned in the second half, but it was not quite enough.
Overall, Tulsa is a very similar team to where they were a year ago which is very defensively sound. They lose Zaven Collins to the NFL, but this group returns most other pieces. I think this defense will still be solid and I think the many other factors lead this to be a good under bet with two teams very familiar with each other.
Washington (+7) @ Michigan
Sometimes the most profitable angle to take in college football, especially early, is to bet against public overreactions. There are a few instances this week, this being one of them. Last week Washington came out and laid an egg losing 13-7 to FCS Montana. Montana is a top FCS program, but that is no excuse.
On the other side, Michigan came out and dominated a pretty good Western Michigan group. Those results moved this line in a big way. Coming into last week, Washington was a one point underdog and since then this line has inflated all the way to seven.
I think that is a massive overreaction to what we saw a week ago. To add to that, Michigan was dealt devastating news this past weekend as star-wideout Ronnie Bell was ruled out for the season with a knee injury. Bell was their top big-play guy and his loss will greatly hinder the explosiveness of this offense and only help a Washington defense that looked good in week one.
Lastly, once again, the weather will be in play in this contest. The forecast in Ann Arbor, Mich. is calling for 17 MPH winds which could lead this to a ground and pound type contest which is what Washington already wants to do. The total is low already at 48.5, which leads me to like the dog even more.
The lower the total, the more profitable dog. I think that coupled with the overreaction of the public plays nicely into Washington here. I don’t know if UW wins outright, but seven is a big number in this spot.
Toledo (+18.5) @ Notre Dame: This Notre Dame defense did not look good a week ago giving up a ton of explosive plays against an FSU offense that couldn’t throw. Toledo can make plays with the run and the pass and will be a good test for this Marcus Freeman defense moving to a new scheme.
Air Force @ Navy under 43: One of the best trends in football, the service academy under. Since 2005 when two service academies meet head to head the under has hit 80% of the time. Insane. This total has already dropped to 40.5 but I think I’d still play there after seeing what Navy did last week.
UAB (+24.5) @ Georgia: JT Daniels has been listed as questionable in this contest with an oblique. That means Stetson Bennett may be in play. To be frank, he’s straight cheeks. He completed just 55% of his passes in his time last year, throwing eight TDs and six INTs. I think Georgia is fine trying to win this game with its defense which again leads me to the dog with a low total.
NC State (-2.5) @ Mississippi State: NC State’s 3-3-5 defense is already built to rush three and drop eight. That style of defense slows down Mike Leach’s offense. On the other side, I think Devin Leary can attack this Mississippi State defense for big plays so I like the road favorite here.
Iowa @ Iowa State (-4.5): Again, overreaction in play here. Iowa dominated, Iowa State struggled. Easy money on the Hawks right? Eh, not so fast. I have not played this yet as I want to see where the number gets to but Iowa State will be a pick barring something crazy.