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If you took my advice last week, you ended up doing pretty well in Week 1. We headed into the Labor Day evening matchup between Ohio State and Virginia Tech at 4-0. Things were looking good as Virginia Tech took the lead heading into halftime. Unfortunately, starting quarterback Michael Brewer was injured in the third quarter and the team unraveled.
All things considered, 4-1 is a good start, and we should be able to continue that momentum with this week’s slate of games. Oklahoma is favored by 3 points heading into Knoxville to take on Tennessee. Neither team played a particularly difficult opponent Week 1, and I am staying away from this one with so many variables this early in the season. The same applies for the other marquee game of Oregon and Michigan State.
This week, there is value with some of the lesser known schools along with a few SEC teams mixed in for good measure. All lines are according to OddsShark and are subject to change.
Here are the best bets for Week 2:
1. Georgia -17 Against Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt lost last week to Western Kentucky 14-12. The Commodores were 3-9 last season and winless in the SEC. Things look bleak in Nashville for second-year Head Coach Derek Mason and Vanderbilt fans everywhere. Just when you thought it could not get any worse for Vanderbilt, the Georgia Bulldogs are coming into town.
Georgia is coming off a 51-14 victory against Louisiana-Monroe. The Bulldogs had 243 total yards rushing and running back Nick Chubb has his eye on Vanderbilt’s suspect defense. Expect the Bulldogs to rely heavily on the running game again and put a lot of points on the board. Georgia wins and wins big on Saturday.
2. Florida -13 Against ECU
These are two different teams than a year ago. ECU lost quarterback Shane Carden and wide receiver Justin Hardy who were in many ways the heartbeat of the Pirates success last season. Last Saturday, they let Towson hang around before defeating them 28-20.
The Gators are trending upward with the hire of new Head Coach Jim McElwain. Florida put up 61 points last week against New Mexico State, something that would seem impossible under Will Muschamp’s inept offenses. I like Florida to put some more points on the board this week and defeat ECU handily.
3. SMU Even Against North Texas
If you simply look at the box score from SMU and Baylor you would see a big Baylor victory. However, SMU was in the game until midway through the third quarter when Baylor ran away with it. This is a different SMU team than the one we saw a season ago.
The Mustangs hired former Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris as their new head coach. He has installed a fast-paced offense and looks to utilize quarterback Matt Davis’ dual-threat capabilities. Davis rushed for 115 yards against Baylor. It seems unfair that this game is just a pick ’em. I like the Ponies in this one and look for them to win big.
4. LSU -3 Against Mississippi State
Unfortunately, LSU’s opening game was cancelled so we were not able to see the Tigers in action. Here is what we do know. Leonard Fournette, one of the best running backs in the country, is back for LSU while Brandon Harris is the new starting quarterback. Expect the Tigers to have a bounce back year after going 8-5 last season.
Mississippi State was great last season, but they are missing a lot of key components from 2014. According to Phil Steele, the Bulldogs only return seven starters from last season. Southern Miss hung around for a half against the Bulldogs last week which does not bode well for this week’s game against LSU. Quarterback Dak Prescott is back, but he is not enough to beat the Tigers by himself. Expect this one to be relatively close, but LSU wins by more than a field goal.
5. Boise State -1.5 Against BYU
What a week it has been for BYU. Right after they completed a hail mary to upset Nebraska at home they found out starting quarterback Taysom Hill is out for the season. The highs and lows of college football all in one evening.
This is a perfect letdown spot for the Cougars after an emotional week. Tanner Mangum will get the start for BYU, but overall I like the talent of Boise State. This is a good Boise team that returns almost all of their players from 2014. The Broncos had a rough second half against Washington, but did have 185 rushing yards on the night. Look for Boise to play a complete game and take advantage of BYU coming off an emotional high of beating Nebraska.