NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 2 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
My first impression of Week 2 now that I've taken a good look is that it's a really weak schedule overall but that I like a lot of huge underdogs in what could be a letdown Saturday for some marquee programs.
No. 11 Notre Dame had a massive home win last Saturday vs. Michigan and opened at -37 this week against Mid-American Conference school Ball State. The Cardinals were awful last year, especially on defense, but they do play fast and could run the Irish a bit ragged. I fully expect Notre Dame to be flat at the start, and the spread has dropped to -34.5 with the total jumping from 58 to 62.5.
How much enthusiasm do you think No. 9 Washington will have as it had to travel back across country after last Saturday's crushing loss to Auburn? The Huskies are -45 against FCS school North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks are an excellent FCS program.
Auburn, up to No. 7 in the new AP poll, seems set up for a major letdown as a 50.5-point home favorite against some school called Alabama State. (It's ridiculous that both Alabama and Auburn play two FCS schools on their 2018 schedules.) One of the games of next week is LSU at Auburn, and the No. 11 Bayou Bengals also seem poised to be flat this week off the big win over Miami as they are -38.5 vs. SE Louisiana.
How about No. 14 West Virginia off its rout of Tennessee? My Heisman pick, and perhaps the early favorite now, Will Grier, should put up monster numbers vs. Youngstown State but probably only plays a half. The Mountaineers are -33 but perhaps glancing ahead to a tougher test next week at NC State. WVU did lose starting linebacker Charlie Benton to a season-ending knee injury in the win over the Vols.
Here are some notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Arizona at Houston (-3.5, 71): This line has dropped from Cougars -7, and the total has risen from 64. It's a tough spot for the Wildcats with a 9 a.m. ET start time, meaning a really short week considering UA played late last Saturday night and was upset 28-23 at home by BYU. Arizona QB Khalil Tate was a top Heisman candidate but fell flat in going just 17-for-34 for 197 yards with a TD and rushing (that's where he's magnificent) for 14 yards and a TD on eight carries. Of course, Arizona's new coach is Kevin Sumlin. He got his head-coaching start at Houston in 2008. The Cougars opened with a 45-27 win at Rice. UH's Heisman candidate, defensive tackle Ed Oliver, had 13 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. That guy is ridiculous.
UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma (-30, 64): The Sooners opened at -28. The Bruins looked absolutely awful last week in a loss at Cincinnati and now have to kick off at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Will UCLA have starting quarterback Wilton Speight? The Michigan transfer is being called day-to-day with a back injury but reportedly is progressing. He left in the second quarter vs. the Bearcats after going 8-for-12 for 45 yards with a pick; Speight also broke three vertebrae in his back last year that ended up costing him the rest of the season at Michigan. If Speight can't go, it should be a combination of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Devon Modster. Could be a long year for Chip Kelly.
Tulsa at Texas (-23, 62): The total has risen four points and the spread one. The Longhorns crapped the bed last week in losing 34-29 at Maryland, which doesn't even have its head coach and dealt with the death of a player over the summer. The Terps, who blew a 24-7 lead, forced three turnovers in the final 6:09 and scored the game's final 10 points. Horns QB Sam Ehlinger was just OK, going 21 of 39 for 263 yards with two scores and two picks - both of those came in the fourth quarter on potential game-winning drives. The last was a terrible pass on 3rd-and-10 with Texas at the Maryland 33 and 1:29 still to play. Coach Tom Herman says that Ehlinger remains his guy, but he might have a short leash with the very capable Shane Buechele on the bench. Texas, by the way, is now 1-5 in one-score games under Herman.
Kentucky at No. 25 Florida (-13.5, 50): The Gators opened at -15.5 with a total of 53.5. While Kentucky is pretty much at full strength headed to Gainesville, Florida has about 15 guys listed on its injury report as either suspended or hurt. UF came out healthy from last week's win over Charleston Southern but had a few guys who missed that one - DB Shawn Davis, WR Jacob Copeland (a top recruit) - expected to sit here. As for the six guys or so who were suspended for Week 1, well, Coach Dan Mullen hasn't said yet. None of the guys are stars, but a few are valuable contributors. My guess is they play in the SEC opener. The real reason I'm including this game is UF's incredible 31-game winning streak in the series, longest in the FBS. Last year, UF rallied from down 13 in the fourth and won 28-27 on a 5-yard TD pass with 43 seconds to go. A Kentucky 57-yard field goal as time expired was short.
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