College football predictions Week 2 from Wes Reynolds

September 7, 2023 12:43 PM

College football expert betting picks for Week 2

Wes Reynolds is on VSiN Tonight (9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET / 6-9 p.m. PT) and will be posting his weekly college football and NFL best bets for us. He is also one of the hosts of our Long Shots golf betting podcast. He also writes weekly golf previews 

College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits | College Football Power Ratings

(odds as of September 7, 9:35 a.m. PT)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7.5; 51) at NC State Wolfpack

Matchup Analysis

Notre Dame travels to Carter-Finley Stadium on the heels of winning its first two games against Navy and Tennessee State by a combined score of 98-6.

Sam Hartman has been as good as advertised having completed 82.5 percent of his passes (33/40) for 445 yards and six touchdowns versus zero interceptions. However, the competition gets stiffer here as Hartman knows all too well. Hartman is just 1-2 as a starter against NC State. In those three starts, he has thrown six touchdown passes but also six interceptions and was sacked 13 times. Wolfpack defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, now in his fifth season in Raleigh, is very familiar with Hartman and his tendencies.

Gibson's defense did allow a 71-yard touchdown run in NC State's non-covering (-14) 24-14 victory at UConn last week; however, with the exception of that long run, basically stymied UConn's offense and only allowed 3.8 yards per play aside from the big gainer.

Meanwhile, Wolfpack QB Brennan Armstrong's reunion with Robert Anae, who was his offensive coordinator at Virginia from 2018-2021 as part of Bronco Mendenhall's staff, was a bit of a mixed bag in the first game. Armstrong, who led the ACC in passing yards at UVA during the 2021 season, only threw for 155 in the opener but did run 19 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns. NC State likely did not want to show much in its debut with the Fighting Irish on deck.

The Irish are also in a long-term bad point spread spot historically. Road favorites in the third game of the season that come off consecutive wins of 25 points or more are just 12-27 ATS since 1982.

Like the theme song for the nWo Wolfpac, the off-shoot of the legendary 1990's pro wrestling faction the New World Order (nWo), says: "Don't turn your back on the Wolfpac(k)."

Bet: NC State +7.5 (bet to +7)

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Colorado Buffaloes (-3, 59)

Matchup Analysis

"Coach Prime" Deion Sanders, with 86 new players, took Colorado into TCU last week and won outright as 20.5-point underdogs, 45-42. Now the Buffs have to show that they can handle success (plus all the media hype) as they were as high as 8.5-point underdogs to Nebraska over the summer and the line has flipped slightly less than two touchdowns.

If you watched Colorado in its spring game, you saw that this offense had the potential to be explosive with Shedeur Sanders at the helm. Sanders threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns and had four different receivers each eclipse 100 yards. Sean Lewis, head coach last season at Kent State, looks to be a shrewd hire as offensive coordinator.

Also, if you watched Colorado in its spring game, you saw that the defense was going to be a work in progress. The Buffs gave up 6.8 yards per play and 7.1 yards per rush attempt to a TCU team that was replacing its quarterback (Max Duggan), its running back (Kendre Miller), its top three receivers (Quentin Johnston, Taye Barber, Derius Davis), its three starting interior linemen, and its offensive coordinator (Garrett Riley, now at Clemson).

Nebraska didn't exactly set the world on fire offensively in its 13-10 loss at Minnesota, although they did run for almost five yards a clip (37 carries, 181 yards) against a Gophers defense that was top ten nationally in 2022.

The Huskers fell short due to Georgia Tech transfer QB Jeff Sims throwing three interceptions in opposing territory, including one in the end zone right before halftime.

However, the Huskers defense only allowed 251 yards to the Gophers in Tony White's first game as defensive coordinator in Lincoln. White, a Rocky Long disciple, and his defense are difficult to prepare for since they switch defenses constantly. The base defense is a 3-3-5, but they will switch to a 4-2-5, to a 4-3, and even a 3-4.

Expect Matt Rhule's bunch to be better in its second game. Rhule is 9-3 ATS as a single-digit away dog in his college career.

The current line at DraftKings is just Colorado -3, but there are plenty of 3.5s in the market including at BetMGM and Caesars plus several Vegas spots including Wynn, Stations, Resorts World, and Treasure Island.

Bet: Nebraska +3.5 (Play to +3)

Texas State Bobcats at UTSA Roadrunners (-13, 66)

Matchup Analysis

While "Coach Prime" and Colorado got all the publicity for their upset of TCU, the Buffaloes did not pull off the biggest upset in college football last week. That honor belonged to Texas State, who was as high as 26.5-point underdogs and were +1500 on the money line in its 42-31 victory at Baylor.

GJ Kinne is the new head coach at Texas State. Last year, he took Incarnate Word to the FCS Semifinals in his first season there. This is another big opportunity for him to get a major win as we have teacher vs. student in this Texas State at UTSA matchup. Kinne faces Jeff Traylor, who was his high school coach and mentor at Gilmer High School in 2006.

Texas State comes off a major triumph last week while UTSA went to Houston and outplayed the Cougars but came away with a 17-14 defeat. The Roadrunners outgained Houston 417-334, held the Cougars to just 2.7 yards per carry on the ground, and ran for 208 yards (5.9 yards per carry), yet lost largely because QB Frank Harris, now in his seventh year in the program, threw three interceptions after only throwing nine in 14 games last season and just six in the 2021 season. The three picks happened in the span of five minutes during the third quarter.

Texas State is riding high, but UTSA, under Traylor, is 5-1 ATS in games off a loss in the last three years. Texas State's defense is still a work in progress having given up 6.9 yards per play to a Baylor team who lost its starting quarterback (Blake Shapen) in the third quarter due to an MCL injury in his left knee.

The Roadrunners should get back on track here. Meep Meep.

Play: Texas State -13 (Play to -14)

Houston Cougars (-10, 52.5) at Rice Owls

Matchup Analysis

Speaking of Houston, they got the victory over UTSA despite being outgained by almost 100 yards (and only rushing for 2.7 yards per carry) courtesy of a +3 turnover margin.

Rice, despite being drastically overmatched, did cover at Texas last week in a 37-10 defeat as 35-point underdogs.

The Owls are 0-7 SU and 2-5 ATS vs. Houston since 2011, but they did cover on the road against the Cougars as 17.5-point underdogs in a 34-27 loss.

Houston is re-tooling in its first season as a member of the Big XII. Clayton Tune and Tank Dell are now in the NFL, and the defense lost its top five tacklers and top two pass-rushers.

JT Daniels is now at his fourth school and was just average in his Rice debut. However, he should play better this week against a drop-in-class opponent.

Houston has its first Big XII conference game against TCU next week and may look ahead of its crosstown city rival, who will certainly be motivated against its "big brother" rival.

Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen is just 3-10 ATS as a double-digit favorite during his tenure at Houston.

Bet: Rice +10 (Play to +7.5)

Oregon Ducks (-6.5, 69) at Texas Tech Red Raiders

Matchup Analysis

Texas Tech had a 17-0 lead at Wyoming, and it looked like the Red Raiders were heading to an easy win and cover in Laramie before falling 35-33 in double overtime.

Meanwhile, Oregon put up 81 points in its opener against FCS Portland State.

The Red Raiders did outgain Wyoming 431-320, but they struggled to run the ball at 2.8 yards per carry. Texas Tech also beat themselves with mistakes (seven penalties for 69 yards).

Now we get the Tyler Shough bowl as the current Red Raiders QB (31/47, 338 yards, 3 TD, INT last week) gets to face his former Ducks team and an Oregon pass defense that ranked 110th nationally in passing yards allowed (270.5 yards per game), 108th in completion percentage (64.2%), and 123rd in third down conversions (48.1%).

The game of the year lines had Oregon -3.5. Now the number is approaching 7, and you can take +7 (-115), as I did, at a couple of stores including BetMGM. Oregon looks a little overpriced off their highest-scoring output in the modern era. Plus, there could be conditioning concerns late in the second half as the Ducks look to find water in that West Texas humidity.

Bet: Texas Tech +6.5

Arizona Wildcats at Mississippi State Bulldogs (-9.5, 60.5)

Matchup Analysis

Mississippi State, despite playing lower competition in SE Louisiana of FCS, was in an emotional spot last week playing at home in Starkville for the first time since Mike Leach's passing.

This year, defensive coordinator Zach Arnett takes over as head coach and brings in two new coordinators. Offensively, the Bulldogs are moving away from the Air Raid and to a more pro-style offense. Even with a veteran QB like Will Rogers, that is a difficult transition.

In order to ease that transition, the Bulldogs used Vanderbilt transfer QB Mike Wright, who had 95 yards on five carries last week in the opener, as a runner. However, Arizona now has that on film and should be prepared for it.

Arizona lost at home to Northern Arizona two years ago in Jedd Fisch's first season, but they paid back the Lumberjacks in last week's opener 38-3.

The Wildcats covered as double-digit underdogs at Washington and beat a then No. 9 ranked UCLA last season to improve from 1-11 to 5-7. This should be the year that Arizona returns to postseason play.

The defense only returns three starters, but that is not a bad thing considering they ranked in the bottom ten nationally in points per game, yards per game, yards per play, and third-down conversions. However, the offense improved by over 13.5 points per game under QB Jayden de Laura and could take advantage of a Mississippi State secondary that loses four of five starters.

The Wildcats got dominated at home, 39-17, by Mississippi State, but this year the Bulldogs are more of the team in transition.

Bet: Arizona +9.5 (play to +8)

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