The Best Week 2 College Football Picks and ATS Predictions
Week 2 of the college football season gets underway this weekend after some wild upsets over Labor Day Weekend. Teams like UC-Davis, Northern Illinois, ETSU, and Montana won games as massive underdogs, while several other ranked teams fell to lower-ranked foes, as Clemson, LSU, Indiana, Wisconsin, and UNC all suffered defeats.
This weekend is sure to bring plenty of more surprises, but let’s take a look at three angles we feel are best bets with our Week 2 college football picks.
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Week 2 College Football Picks, Best Bets
There’s no doubt that the three biggest games on the board this weekend are matchups between Oregon-Ohio State, Iowa-Iowa State, and Washington-Michigan. With plenty of eyes — and betting dollars — expected to be on these games, our picks will focus on these marquee showdowns.
Oregon vs. Ohio State Pick
Ohio St. plays host to Oregon in an early kickoff, a tough ask for a Ducks bunch crossing the Mississippi River and playing at a Big Ten school for the first time since 2015.
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Oregon is ranked and getting a boatload of points here, but could struggle against a Buckeyes team that seemed to move seamlessly into the post-Justin Fields era with its dominant win at Minnesota last weekend. Oregon has never beaten Ohio St. in nine tries and Buckeyes’ head coach Ryan Day is a perfect 12-0 straight up at home, as well as 11-2 SU overall against ranked opponents.
While an outright win doesn’t necessarily get us a cover, it’s worth noting that Ohio St. has covered each of its last three second games of the season, all as double-digit favorites, winning by an average of nearly 34 points per game. Day has led this team to a 24-2 SU and 15-9-2 ATS record in his time in Columbus.
Oregon snuck past Fresno St. last weekend, but there were signs of the troubles they might endure this season due to the loss of last year’s starting quarterback and defensive coordinator. They scored 31 points against Fresno St., a number they reached in all but one regular season game last year. They also conceded 24 points, a number they only allowed more than seven times in their last 19 regular season games.
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Oregon is just 8-16-1 ATS in its last 25 games against non-conference opponents. The Ducks have covered just two of their last 10 games as road dogs and just one of their last six as road pups of more than three points. They lost their only two games both SU and ATS under head coach Mario Cristobal playing as underdogs before October. In fact, the Pac-12 is just 8-18 ATS since 2005 in September playing away at a Top 10 team, including an 0-2 ATS mark against Ohio St.
Look for Oregon to prove overmatched here against an Ohio St. team that just reloads every year. The Ducks should slip to 12-21-1 ATS after their last 34 SU victories, a role they went just 1-3 ATS in last season.
Our Pick: Ohio State -14 (BetMGM -110)
Iowa vs. Iowa State Pick
For the first time since 1977, the Cy-Hawk rivalry game between Iowa and Iowa St. was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. This highly-anticipated affair that means so much to both programs and their fanbases will have extra meaning this season, as both teams are loaded and play with much at stake. The host Cyclones rest comfortably in the Top 10 of any worthy poll, while Iowa’s convincing win over Indiana also vaulted it into the Top 10.
Iowa St., although unimpressive offensively in its 16-10 victory over UNI in Week 1, returns its entire starting offense and most of its starting defense from last year’s squad that reached the Big 12 title game. The team’s final three games against ranked opponents last season produced 48 total points or less. The Cyclones are stacked along the offensive line and should be able to pound the rock with star running back Breece Hall, keeping the game clock running.
The Cyclones have played over the total just four times in their last 29 games following a SU win and just five times in their last 27 against above .500 opponents. Iowa St. has now played nine of its last 12 September games under the number and have seen just three of its last 16 against the Big Ten go over the posted total. As home favorites, the boys from Ames have played just 16 of their last 51 games over, as well.
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Iowa was dominant last week against Indiana, winning 34-6 and allowing just 77 yards on the ground (233 total yards against).
The Hawkeyes have played over the total just once in their last 11 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing prior. They have also played six of their last seven under after a SU win of 20 or more points previously. Further, just three of the last 12 Iowa games after allowing less than 20 points in the last game have gone over. Iowa has also stayed under in five of its last seven games after allowing less than 275 total yards last time out.
With so much at stake for both teams, experienced groups on each side, and a heated rivalry back after a year hiatus, expect the same type of smash mouth football that has prevented all but one of the last six Cy-Hawk games from going over the total.
Even if they lose, expect the Hawkeyes’ FBS-best 26 game streak of holding opponents to 25 points or fewer to continue here. This rivalry has averaged total scores of just 44.3 points per game the last six meetings and only 41.1 points per game the last eight. This could prove to be the lowest scoring one yet.
Our Pick: Iowa/ISU Under 46
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Washington vs. Michigan Pick
Ranked or not entering the season, few people are going to buy into a Washington Huskies team that just lost to an FCS program, Montana, 13-7, last week. However, that loss surely generated a couple extra points of cushion for Washington bettors this week, as they are now getting a robust 6.5 points from Michigan in Saturday night’s matchup at The Big House.
Michigan did its part to earn the large favorite tag here, dismantling a Western Michigan group that was picked by many to contend for the MAC Championship this season. Yet, we think the Wolverines still have questions to answer before they deserve to lay this kind of number against the kind of quality opponent we believe Washington yet may prove to be.
First, Michigan never had to test its pass attack much in the walkover against WMU. They were able to get a big lead and run the ball at will, gaining 335 yards on the ground on 43 attempts. Throwing for 226 yards on just 13 completions and 17 attempts proved ancillary at best and will doubtlessly prove a tougher venture here. After all, even in defeat, Washington held Montana to just 232 total yards, only 105 of which came through the air.
As such, Michigan will surely attempt to pound the rock again here, chewing up valuable clock for those betting the favorites and shrinking the Wolverines’ margin for error to win this game and cover this big spread. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s crew is just 1-4 ATS in its last five second games of the season.
Michigan is haunted by several other troubling trends, as well. They are just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 against non-conference opponents and 2-10 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games after a SU win. Finally, the Wolverines are a staggering 1-10 ATS in their last 11 against Pac-12 teams.
As for Washington, the Huskies have won and covered five straight games after back-to-back SU losses, adding another two wins in unlined games by more than 40 points each time in that role along the way.
Michigan hasn’t covered a home game as a single-digit favorite in nearly two years and there are plenty of valid reasons Harbaugh entered this season on his last coaching leg with the Wolverines. A convincing win here might make us put his team back under the microscope for another look, but, for now, we don’t believe they are a touchdown better than this experienced Washington group.
Our Pick: Washington +6.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook -110)
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