Stability Mismatches for Week 2 in college football

September 8, 2022 11:34 PM
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Last week’s Stability Mismatches produced a record of just 6-9 ATS, with several bad beats. The fact that we’ve already seen 18 Stability Mismatches over the Week 0/1 schedules (8-10 ATS overall), and have 14 more in Week 2, shows just how much instability the super-senior rule can cause.

I’ll be watching the teams with transfer-portal quarterbacks more closely in the coming weeks, particularly Oklahoma with Dillon Gabriel and USC with Caleb Williams. Playing in familiar systems with familiar offensive coordinators, these players looked comfortable in their first games with their new teams. This could set up a permanent tinkering of my system to the returning/new quarterback values. Be sure to consider this as you handicap this week’s games based on the system.

If you missed the full explanation of my Stability System or are new to VSiN, I encourage you to go back to the VSiN College Football Betting Guide or other archived stories at VSiN.com to find reports in which I detail the methodology. For a short explanation, this Stability System, which I’ve employed for the last 11 seasons without a losing campaign, measures one team’s stability against another’s. Using a point-assigning process for coaches, quarterbacks and returning starters, I come up with an overall Stability Score for each team. When the difference between these scores is 8 or higher, I consider it a Stability Mismatch.

An important note: The Stability Score difference in any matchup has nothing to do with the point spread. I am simply making the assumption that oddsmakers have not given enough credence to the Stability Difference.

Here are the 14 Stability Mismatches for Week 2. I’ll continue to offer mismatches over the next couple of weeks. After a few games, oddsmakers typically make the full adjustments. However, you should feel comfortable employing this strategy in the first few weeks of the season.

Duke at Northwestern (-9.5)

Stability Advantage: Northwestern by 15

Northwestern was the toast of college football after a Week 0 win over Nebraska in Dublin. The Wildcats looked very sharp, a totally different team than the one that left the field in November. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski had a very nice game against the Cornhuskers and will look to build on that success this week against Duke, a team that routed Temple 30-0 in its opener. Don’t overreact to that blowout, however, as the Owls looked more like a Division II team than one in the FBS. This is a massive stability edge for what figures to be a confident Wildcats team.

Middle Tennessee State (+ 7.5) at Colorado State

Stability Advantage: MTSU by 11

Colorado State was an easy fade winner for the Stability System last week at Michigan, but this week’s opponent and point spread is a different animal. The Rams are expected to win this time, and by a healthy margin. This despite being beaten 51-7 while gaining just 3.7 yards per play in the opener — and being one of the more unstable teams in the country. MTSU doesn’t provide a whole lot of reason to get excited, as the Blue Raiders dropped a 44-7 decision to a James Madison team playing its first FBS game. In a game such as this one, trusting a historically winning system is one of the only reasons to back a team.

Akron at Michigan State (-34.5)

Stability Advantage: Michigan State by 14

Akron struggled in its opener against Saint Francis (Pa.), eventually escaping with a 30-23 victory. It gets a lot tougher this week as the Zips have to travel to Big Ten country to take on Michigan State. In their last outing versus a Big Ten opponent in 2018, they were clobbered 42-3 at Illinois. The Spartans come off an easy win in their opener over another MAC team, Western Michigan, but did fail to cover the point spread. While it may seem daunting to back a team that scored 35 points last week, and 31.8 PPG last season, as a 34.5-point favorite, consider that Akron allowed 60 points to Auburn last year.

Houston (+ 1.5) at Texas Tech

Stability Advantage: Houston by 15

Houston survived a tough test at UTSA last week in triple overtime and now faces another at Texas Tech. The Cougars are playing to lofty expectations after their 12-win season in 2021 and have brought back most of their key players. Texas Tech won its opener 63-10 over Murray State and put up an impressive 605 yards of offense. However, quarterback Tyler Shough was banged up and is expected to miss the next couple of games, enhancing the challenge for a team playing in new systems and squaring off against a tough, hungry, in-state opponent.

Kansas (+ 13.5) at West Virginia

Stability Advantage: Kansas by 9

Talk about a difficult spot to cover a point spread. West Virginia, coming off an emotional loss in the “Backyard Brawl” against Pitt, now faces its first conference game against a team it has beaten ATS just once in its last nine tries. The Mountaineers looked every bit the inexperienced team on defense against the Panthers, allowing an astounding 19.3 yards per pass attempt. Kansas is coming off a 56-10 blowout of FCS Tennessee Tech. The Jayhawks have scored 42.3 PPG in their last four dating to last season. Kansas coach Lance Leipold was recently given a contract extension, and this program is gaining confidence. The Jayhawks figure to be a hungry dog here.

Massachusetts at Toledo (-28.5)

Stability Advantage: Toledo by 10

The system continues to pound on Massachusetts, and why not? After losing to Tulane 42-10 last week, the Minutemen face another big point-spread challenge when they travel to Toledo. The Rockets, usually known for their offensive explosiveness, were incredibly sharp on defense in their 37-0 win over LIU Post, allowing just 113 yards and 1.9 yards per play. For as tough as the “hook” seems on a 28.5-point line, UMass has been outscored by nearly 33 PPG over the last three seasons.

Syracuse (-22.5) at Connecticut

Stability Advantage: Syracuse by 9

Syracuse got off to a great start last week by putting up one of its most impressive performances in years, beating Louisville 31-7 as a 5-point home dog. The experienced and seemingly improved Orange offense put up 449 yards of offense after averaging just 367 yards per game in 2021. They are a huge road favorite this week against a UConn team that has performed admirably for new coach Jim Mora Jr. (2-0 ATS despite losing starting QB Ta’Quan Roberson in the opener).

Eastern Michigan (+ 10.5) at Louisiana-Lafayette

Stability Advantage: Eastern Michigan by 8

Louisiana-Lafayette wasn’t exactly tested in its season-opening 24-7 win over SE Louisiana, but there’s reason for concern after the offense mustered just 24 points, about two touchdowns shy of what oddsmakers projected. It’s not a surprise considering the Ragin’ Cajuns are working in a lot of new pieces on that side of the ball. They’ll have to score a few more points this week to win and cover against an Eastern Michigan team that put up 42 a week ago in turning back Eastern Kentucky. New QB Taylor Powell had a nice opener for the Eagles, throwing for three TDs and 9.0 yards per attempt. I was a bit surprised to see a double-digit line in this Group of 5 matchup of returning bowl teams.

Florida International at Texas State (13.5)

Stability Advantage: Texas State by 9

Texas State was one of the losers in this system last week, falling to Nevada 38-14. Before overreacting to that loss, and the seemingly awful prospects of the Bobcats covering a 13.5-point spread, consider that they were on the short end of a -4 turnover differential and were only outgained 278-277 by a Mountain West team. FIU survived against Bryant 38-37 and, after allowing 470 yards in that game, it certainly doesn’t appear that the young and inexperienced Panthers will be better this season for first-year coach Mike MacIntyre.

Arizona State at Oklahoma State (-11)

Stability Advantage: OSU by 9

Arizona State walloped Northern Arizona 40-3 in the opener, holding off the doubters for at least a week. The challenge this week is far stiffer, with a trip to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State. The Sun Devils are double-digit dogs for the first time since their 2020 opener. OSU had a monster offensive effort in its opening win over Central Michigan, particularly from QB Spencer Sanders. The Cowboys failed to cover the number as the Chippewas seemed almost desperate to get the ATS win. This is a tough, unfamiliar trek for ASU, especially with just seven starters back in 2022.

Hawaii at Michigan (-50.5)

Stability Advantage: Michigan by 8

I can’t say I’ve seen a 50.5-point favorite in my years tracking these Stability System plays, so Michigan will be breaking new ground here. The Wolverines pummeled Colorado State 51-7 last week and now get another Mountain West opponent in Hawaii, which has earned all of its underdog status for this one. In their first two games, the Warriors allowed a combined 112 points to Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky and an unsightly 7.7 yards per play. There’s a reason this spread is so high. Will Michigan be motivated enough to beat it?

Boston College (+ 2.5) at Virginia Tech

Stability Advantage: BC by 12

Boston College looked anything but an experienced, stable team in losing its opener to Rutgers and now tries to get its first win in a tough environment in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech was also upset last week, falling at Old Dominion to a hungry Monarchs team that was anxious to take down a Power 5 opponent. The Hokies played the role of an unstable team very well and it’s a bit strange to see them favored in this one.

New Mexico State at UTEP (-14.5)

Stability Advantage: UTEP by 14

New Mexico State was a fade winner for the system last week at Minnesota, while UTEP was a loser, running into an Oklahoma team that wasn’t nearly as unstable as some predicted. In fact, the performance of the OU offense and QB Dillon Gabriel was vintage Sooners. The task for the Miners is way easier this week and they will be desperate for a win after starting 0-2. UTEP has looked very strong passing the ball so far with QB Gavin Hardison, giving hope to covering this lofty spread.

USC at Stanford (+ 9.5)

Stability Advantage: Stanford by 16

Heed my earlier warning about transfer quarterbacks and USC before completely unloading on Stanford in this game. That said, the Cardinal will be a much tougher test than Rice for the new-look Trojans, a team that has completely flipped expectations and the opinions of oddsmakers in a single week. Coach Lincoln Riley’s team is a near double-digit road favorite against an experienced and hungry home dog. Stanford made quick work of Colgate last week in a 41-10 win behind a solid effort from QB Tanner McKee, who picked up where he left off last fall. Don’t expect this one to be easy for USC, despite last week’s showing.

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