Betting Against the Spread: Week 2 Picks

Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)

We certainly do not condone gambling here at Athlon Sports, but much can be gleaned from a quick look at the points spreads. As we enter Week Two of the college football season we are still learning a lot about most football teams due to vanilla offensive game plans and atrocious levels of competition. Fans should have a much more accurate view of teams like Arizona State, Auburn, Rutgers and Michigan than after the first week of play.

Last week was an interesting one for my picks due to inclement weather and major suspensions. I got Maryland, Stanford, Michigan, LSU and the upset special Baylor on the positive side of the ledger while Georgia, Boston College and Auburn totally wet the bed. UCLA was one point away from giving me another upset win, but couldn't get it done in the end. I can't give myself the win for West Virginia, but I think we all know had the game been completed instead of halted with a quarter to go, they would have easily covered the spread.

On to Week Two with a heavy dose of road favorites...

Season Record ATS: 5-4-1

Week 2's Top Picks (all times eastern):

1. Tulsa at Tulane (+12)
Sept. 10, 3:30

Tulane allowed 295 yards passing, 174 yards rushing and 33 points last week at home to Southeastern Louisiana. I repeat: Southeastern Louisiana. Tulsa is coming off a brutal beatdown at the hands of the in-state Sooners and will be eager to get the bad taste out of its mouth. The Golden Hurricane are hungry and new head coach Bill Blankenship will get his first career win at his alma mater. Tulsa won this match-up last season 52-24. My pick: Tulsa -12

2. Stanford at Duke (+18)
Sept. 10, 3:30 PM

The Cardinal covered the 29-point spread last week for me at home against San Jose State and then some. David Shaw won his first game as head coach by 54 points. The last time Andrew Luck faced an ACC opponent like Duke, he led the offense to 68 points (68-24). In fact, Luck led the Cardinal to a win over ACC champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in the Orange Bowl. Duke, on the other hand, lost to Richmond in Week One and has nowhere near the firepower needed to keep this one even remotely close. My pick: Stanford -18

3. Alabama at Penn State (+10)
Sept. 10, 3:30 PM

The Tide enter Week Two as arguably the best team in the nation after destroying Nick Saban's alma mater Kent State 48-7. These two squared off in Tuscaloosa last fall to the tune of a 24-3 Alabama victory. While this team is missing key pieces on offense, the defense is clearly better. The best linebackers and secondary in the nation held KSU to 99 yards passing and -9 yards rushing in Week One. With Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin still rotating at quarterback, Penn State will have a tough time closing the 21-point gap from a year ago. My pick: Bama -10

Iowa at Iowa State (+5.5)
Sept. 10, 12:00 PM

The last three times these two have met, Iowa State has combined to score a total of 15 points (5, 3, 7). Iowa has scored 35 points two seasons in a row against the rival Cyclones. The total score of the last two games has been 70-10. The Hawks rolled in Week One 34-7 over a clearly inferior opponent in Tennessee Tech while ISU struggled mightly with its own inferior competition, beating Northern Iowa by one 20-19. There is no way the Cyclones have closed gap. My pick: Iowa -5.5 

5. Mississippi State at Auburn (+5.5)
Sept. 10, 12:21 PM

Auburn killed me last week as I thought that Utah State, with a true freshman quarterback, would be no test at all for the defending champions. The Tigers needed an onside kick to beat the Aggies after allowing 448 yards of offense and forcing zero turnovers against USU. The Bulldogs looked nearly perfect on Thursday night on the road against Memphis, winning 59-14. The Cam Newton legacy began last fall in Week Two when he led a fourth quarter drive to beat Mississippi State 17-14 in Starkville. This Auburn team is clearly in rebuilding mode while there are very few weaknesses for MSU. Dan Mullen has to win this game if he expects to compete for an SEC West crown. Mississippi State -5.5

6. New Mexico State at Minnesota (-18)
Sept. 10, 3:30 PM

The Aggies allowed 452 yards and 44 points at home to Ohio last week. New Mexico State has won five games over the last two seasons — beating New Mexico twice, San Jose State, Praire View A&M and Utah State. Minnesota, under new hard-nosed head coach Jerry Kill, nearly pulled off the shocker of the weekend by almost toppling the mighty Trojans of USC, losing 19-17. In the home opener for Kill, expect the Gophers to run up the score and win big in what should be the only time Minnesota appears in this article all season. My Pick: Gophers -18

Tier two picks if you're feeling lucky:

7. Cincinnati at Tennessee (-4.5)
Sept. 10, 3:30 PM
My Pick: Tennessee -4.5

TCU at Air Force (+1)
Sept. 10, 3:30 PM
My Pick: TCU -1

9. Georgia Tech at Middle Tennessee (+11)
Sept. 10, 7:00 PM
My Pick: Georgia Tech -11

Other Week 2 Content:

Mitch Light's Weekend On Tap: The Ten Best Games of the Weekend

Athlon picks every game of Week 2

College Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 2
Steven Lassan's 10 Key Storylines for Week 2

Exclude From Games: 
<p> Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.</p>

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