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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 2 Picks


It is week two in college football and I'm flying high right now. Mother Nature did me a solid and wiped out the end of the Georgia game on Saturday so the record is a lot better than it could have been. After one week, many are crowning Ohio State national champs, but remember that the argument last season at this point was Alabama and Oregon vs. the field. There are several high-profile matchups which you most likely won't find on this page as it just doesn't fit the "Mid Major" or non-Power 5 persona that I have. 

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Record: 7-4

Buffalo (1-0) at Penn State (0-1)

One fan base who is ready for a season reboot is Penn State after the 27-10 loss to Temple last week. The Nits looked awful and couldn't protect their all-world quarterback forcing many to mumble about his actual talent. It'll be fine for PSU who gets a breather against Buffalo on Saturday. The Bulls are coming off a win over Albany, but their defense is nowhere near what the Owls bring. I think there's a great overreaction here from Vegas and the public. Buffalo will struggle to score on PSU's defense which played well until it got tired towards the end. We have a really strong lean to Penn State in this one but the official pick is... SELECTION: Under 53

Marshall (1-0) at Ohio (1-0)

A pair of impressive debuts meet in Ohio as the Bobcats host Marshall. The Thundering Herd has to be flying high still after knocking off Purdue 41-31 at home. They showed some balance behind Michael Birdsong and Devon Johnson. The issue came on the defensive side where the Boilers put up almost 500 yards of offense and could have won if not for four turnovers. Ohio beat Idaho at their place 45-28 and had some offensive balance of their own. The Bobcats were beaten up a bit through the air by the Vandals, but also benefited from three turnovers. Marshall has gone over in 15 of their last 27 games and eight of their last 12 road contests. SELECTION: Over 60

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Hawaii (1-0) at Ohio State (1-0)

Ohio State looked like champions in their win against Virginia Tech on Monday night. It's a worry that there's a quick turn-around for the Buckeyes in this one, but they don't get much competition. Look, we pumped up Hawaii as one of our favorite underdog win totals, but they are in for a world of hurt on Saturday. The Bows beat Colorado despite only managing 302 yards of total offense. They struggled against the run allowing Colorado to put up 215 yards on the ground. Ezekiel Elliott could have that by the end of the first quarter. Hawaii has been an underdog of 31 points or more just seven times since 1992. Ohio State has covered six of their last eight September games. Urban Meyer will find some way for his team to get up for this one. SELECTION: Ohio State -40

Wake Forest (1-0) at Syracuse (1-0)

First off, as a Syracuse grad, let me just say how stoked I am that we are 1-0. That said, losing Terrel Hunt was a huge blow that could cripple the offense. Eric Dungey looked alright against Rhode Island who is a lower level FCS team. Wake Forest's defense is a lot better and will now be able to focus on the run game, forcing the freshman to beat them. The Orange's defense held URI to just 64 yards of total offense. Wake put up gaudy numbers against Elon as they accrued nearly 600 yards of total offense. These two fan bases at least have some good feelings for one week. The last two years Syracuse has taken the contest with wins of 13-0 in 2013 and 30-7 in 2014. Cuse has gone under in 12 of their last 16 conference games while Wake has gone under in 15 of their last 25 overall. This one will be ugly. SELECTION: Under 43.5

Toledo (0-0) at Arkansas (1-0)

Toledo's finally going to take the field after last week's washout of their contest against Stony Brook. The Rockets will be without running back Kareem Hunt and DE Allen Covington for this one and they are two important pieces. The offense still figures to move the ball a little with Phillip Ely, Logan Woodside and Alonzo Russell. Arkansas had a 48-13 win over UTEP last week and did so behind their passing game. The Razorbacks should have no issue moving the ball on a Toledo defense that allowed 49 points to Missouri and 58 to Cincinnati last year. The Rockets have gone over in six of their last nine non-conference games. SELECTION: Over 55

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North Texas (0-0) at SMU (0-1)

North Texas takes the field for the first time this season as they play at SMU. The Mustangs hung with Baylor last Friday until the Bears pulled away. Chad Morris' offense was impressive scoring 21 points on Baylor while putting up 369 yards of offense. The Mustang's defense struggled with Baylor, but no one will confuse North Texas and the team out of the Big 12. The Mean Green return four starters from an offense last year that averaged 27.2 points per game. Revenge will be on the side of the home team who lost 43-6 to North Texas last year. The Conference USA team has failed to cover in eight of their last 12 road games. SELECTION: SMU -4

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Idaho (0-1) at USC (1-0)

The Trojans get another tune-up before they host Stanford next Saturday. USC railed on Arkansas State to the tune of a 55-6 score and 509 total yards of offense. Cody Kessler is trying to keep himself in the Heisman race and will look to pad his stats in this one. Idaho gave up 45 points at home to Ohio allowing nearly 500 yards of offense. Steve Sarkisian will not be happy with how many yards his Trojans allowed on defense. USC has been a favorite of 31 points or more 16 times since 1992 and has covered half of them. Idaho, meanwhile, has failed to cover in 16 of their last 24 games including eight of their last 13 on the road. I hate swallowing this many points, but I have to in this one. SELECTION: USC -43

North Carolina A&T (1-0) at North Carolina (0-1)

North Carolina will be pretty unhappy entering Saturday's game as they blew a chance to knock off South Carolina because of multiple INTs in the end zone. This is an offense that should have no issues scoring points in this one as you've got to believe that Marquise Williams will be improved. He's got a ton of weapons to get the ball to and UNC is going to want to prove that its mojo is back.  The Aggies are coming off a 61-7 win over Shaw last week. We're not asking for many points from A&M in this one, as North Carolina should be able to do most of the heavy lifting. There's a lot of speed on both sides of this one. SELECTION: Over 61.5


- Massachusetts gets their first game finally as they travel to take on Colorado. The Minutemen are going to be a good football team, but how will they handle taking on a team with a game under their belt. Last year these two met in Foxboro and UMass nearly knocked off the Buffs 41-38. I really like Blake Frohnapfel at quarterback and he's got the underrated Tajae Sharpe at wide out. Nine starters are back on defense for the MAC squad. UMass has covered in 12 of their last 20 Saturday games. If they had a contest under their belt, I'd make them an official play. Since they don't, they are relegated to the notes section. 

- I really wanted to take Oregon State +16 on Saturday, but the problem with that is the early start time. All I can do is point to Stanford's slow start last week as a Pac-12 team with an early kickoff, and say no thanks. The Beavers have a freshman quarterback and a young defense with just two starters back. Michigan played well, but the offense continues to be an issue. The Wolverines stack the box to slow down Storm Barrs-Woods and this is a lose low-scoring game. If you'd like to take the chance, I'd almost tease OSU and the under and hope their body clocks get them up early. Michigan has covered just one September game over the last three seasons. 

- Bowling Green taking on Maryland is an interesting matchup at noon on Saturday. The Terps put up 50 on Richmond in week one, but a lot of it was due to William Likely's return game. Maryland threw for only 138 yards with Perry Hills struggling under center. Bowling Green lost a shootout with Tennessee 59-30. The Falcons held their own on offense, but couldn't slow down the Volunteer running game. The noon kickoff here may mean that Byrd Stadium will not be as juiced as it would be for a later contest. Money is coming in on the road team which is almost taking away their value. I'd consider Bowling Green in this one as they should be able to try to kick away from Likely and force the Terps to go longer distances to score.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.