College Football Odds Week 2: Picks, Spread Predictions for Top 25 Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2018

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: Quarterback Kelly Bryant #2 of the Clemson Tigers runs the football during the first quarter of the Tigers' football game against the Furman Paladins at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
Mike Comer/Getty Images

Potential is the best word to describe the Week 2 college football schedule.

There's potential for a handful of upsets to occur throughout Saturday, while there's also potential for the top teams in the nation to run rampant and produce eye-popping offensive totals.

Of the Top 25 teams facing FBS opposition, eight are favored by 20 points or more, and that list doesn't include the ranked programs taking on FCS opponents with no odds set.


Week 2 College Football Schedule

Friday, September 7

No. 16 TCU (-21.5) at SMU (8 p.m., ESPN2) 


Saturday, September 8

New Mexico at No. 5 Wisconsin (-35) (Noon, BTN) 

Western Michigan at No. 21 Michigan (-28) (Noon, FS1) 

No. 18 Mississippi State (-9.5) at Kansas State (Noon, ESPN) 

UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma (-30) (1 p.m., Fox)

William and Mary at No. 12 Virginia Tech (2 p.m., WatchESPN)

Portland State at No. 23 Oregon (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

Arkansas State at No. 1 Alabama (-36.5) (3:30 p.m., ESPN) 

No. 3 Georgia (-10) at No. 24 South Carolina (3:30 p.m., CBS) 

Rutgers at No. 4 Ohio State (-34.5) (3:30 p.m., BTN) 

Ball State at No. 8 Notre Dame (-34) (3:30 p.m., NBC) 

North Dakota at No. 9 Washington (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network) 

Savannah State at No. 22 Miami (6 p.m., WatchESPN) 

Youngstown State at No. 14 West Virginia (6 p.m.) 

South Carolina State at No. 19 UCF (6 p.m, ESPN3)

No. 2 Clemson (-12) at Texas A&M (7 p.m., ESPN) 

Southeastern Louisiana at No. 11 LSU (7 p.m., ESPN2) 

Alabama State at No. 7 Auburn (7:30 p.m., SEC Network) 

Kentucky at No. 25 Florida (-14) (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 13 Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh (8 p.m., ABC) 

No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford (-5.5) (8:30 p.m., Fox) 

UConn at No. 20 Boise State (-31) (10:15 p.m., ESPNU)

No. 15 Michigan State (-6) at Arizona State (10:45 p.m., ESPN) 

All Times ET. All picks in bold made against the spread when applicable.

Odds obtained from OddsShark, some odds unavailable.


Tricky Road Tests Await Handful of Ranked Teams

Five teams in the Top 25 visit a variety of unranked opponents in Week 2.

Clemson's trip down to Texas A&M will receive the most attention because of both programs' profiles, College GameDay's visit and the marquee national television time slot.

Joining Clemson in prime time is Penn State, which faces an intriguing cross-state rivalry clash with Pittsburgh. The Nittany Lions need to make a statement after stumbling at home against Appalachian State in Week 1.

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Amani Oruwariye #21 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after intercepting a pass in overtime to clinch the win against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on September 1, 2018 at Beaver Stadium in State College, P
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The other three games feature an interesting combination of teams that are more than capable of springing upsets if they get everything right.

TCU appears to be in the least amount of danger against SMU, but the Mustangs did go 7-6 in 2017 and have their focus on playing spoiler over their next to games, with a trip to Michigan upcoming in Week 3.

Mississippi State might be in the worst shape of the five teams because of the location and time of its visit to Kansas State.

There will be few football players who choose to play for an SEC school who will relish the challenge of a road game in Manhattan, Kansas, at 11 a.m. local time.

The Bulldogs have tougher opponents ahead in the first season of the Joe Moorhead era, and Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder knows exactly what it takes to beat a ranked team at home.

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Michigan State gets thrown into Week 2 of the Herm Edwards experiment during Pac-12 After Dark in one of Saturday's final games.

That is just asking for all sorts of chaos as fans on the East Coast begin dreaming of the NFL's first Sunday.

The Spartans are in the same boat as Penn State, as they need to improve following a rough Week 1 on home soil.

However, Michigan State might not be able to progress as much as it would like since the Sun Devils possess one of the top offensive combinations in the Pac-12 in quarterback Manny Wilkins and wide receiver N'Keal Harry.


Will Heavy Home Favorites Be Able to Cover? 

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The top programs playing at home in Week 2 face different challenges than those taking the road.

Teams like Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Wisconsin face significant underdogs in their respective home stadiums, which means they are all expected to win by at least 15-20 points.

Anything less than commanding double-digit victories will allow teams' critics to poke holes and ask questions that might not have surfaced otherwise.

In the case of the Crimson Tide, Buckeyes, Badgers and Oklahoma Sooners, they enter Week 2 as 30-plus-point favorites.

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The players and coaches don't care too much about the large spreads, but bettors must decide how much confidence they have in each program.

In Week 1, 11 ranked teams won by 30 or more points, including Wisconsin, Alabama and Ohio State.

The recent results serve as a precedent for how large of a lead each team is capable of building up, and it gives bettors hope that selecting a heavy favorite will pay off.

As the weeks roll on, the spreads for games featuring ranked teams will be tighter because of the upgrade in competition. But for now, it's a bit of guessing game regarding how many points each team is capable of producing against a lesser opponent.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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