College Football Odds Week 2: Picks Against the Spread for Top 25 Matchups

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) drops back to pass while looking for receivers during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wake Forest Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

The Clemson Tigers have dominated the ACC over the past few years.

Dabo Swinney's program comes into Saturday's opener against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with 22 consecutive victories in conference action. Clemson has gone 8-0 in ACC regular-season play and won the ACC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons.

Another conference victory should occur this weekend against a Wake Forest team that has scored six points in the last two meetings with the Tigers.

While Clemson has the potential to put up a ton of points and cover its 33.5-point spread, it may not be the highest-scoring ranked side Saturday.

The Oklahoma Sooners face the Missouri State Bears in a nonconference tune-up before Big 12 play, and large totals are expected in Spencer Rattler's first start under center.


College Football Week 2 Schedule

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Saturday, September 12

Syracuse at No. 18 North Carolina (-23) (Noon ET, ACC Network) (Over/Under: 65.5)

Louisiana at No. 23 Iowa State (-12) (Noon ET, ESPN) (O/U: 57)

Duke at No. 10 Notre Dame (-20.5) (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) (O/U: 54.5)

Missouri State at No. 5 Oklahoma (-42.5) (7 p.m. ET) (O/U: 66.5)

No. 1 Clemson (-33.5) at Wake Forest (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC) (O/U: 60)

UTEP at No. 14 Texas (-43) (8 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network) (O/U: 58.5)

Picks against the spread in bold.



No. 1 Clemson (-33.5) at Wake Forest

Betting the 33.5-point spread in favor of Clemson seems like a fairly easy call. The Tigers have outscored Wake Forest 115-6 in their last two meetings, and Trevor Lawrence had six touchdowns and zero interceptions in those victories.

The junior quarterback should get his Heisman Trophy campaign off on a high note against a side that simply isn't built to compete with the top team in the ACC.

Lawrence is 45-for-52 with 447 passing yards and six scoring throws in his career against the Demon Deacons, who had 41 passing yards in last year's meeting.

In the last two losses to Clemson, Wake Forest has 16 first downs and 354 total yards. If those trends continue Saturday, the Demon Deacons will be in for a rough night.

Dave Clawson's team will have experience at quarterback where Sam Hartman takes over for Jamie Newman. The 21-year-old started in 2018 and played behind Newman in 2019.

Hartman had 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his first year as a starter and does have experience playing Clemson. But he is at a disadvantage since both of Wake Forest's 1,000-yard receivers from 2019 are not on this year's roster. Kendall Hinton left for the NFL and Sage Surratt has opted out of the 2020 season.

Lawrence faces a similar dilemma with Justyn Ross out injured for the season and Tee Higgins now in the NFL, but he has five-star players to slide into their spots and Hartman does not.

Amari Rodgers is the Clemson quarterback's top returning receiver, and he also has running back Travis Etienne to rely on in the passing game if he needs him.

Etienne's explosiveness on the ground could also help the Tigers open up a substantial gap on Wake. He ran for 121 yards on 16 carries against the Demon Deacons last November.

Clemson has more returning stars on offense and two of the best offensive players in the nation, so it's hard to bet against it while playing a team it has outplayed in recent years.


Missouri State at No. 5 Oklahoma (-42.5)

The 42.5-point spread in favor of Oklahoma does not seem preposterous once you look at its recent history in opening games and against FCS opposition.

In 2019, Lincoln Riley's team routed South Dakota 70-14 in its second game of the campaign. The opener was against Houston. Two years ago, the Sooners outpaced Florida Atlantic 63-14 in their first game and routed UTEP 56-7 in 2017.

Oklahoma achieved that success against weaker opposition with new quarterbacks coming into its system, which bodes well for Rattler.

The one advantage the 19-year-old holds over Jalen Hurts' debut in crimson and cream last year is he has spent a year learning the system before taking the starting role.

The significant point spread looks even better when you consider Missouri State is coming off a 1-10 season and produced six points against its lone FBS foe, Tulane.

Oklahoma may be more inclined to leave Rattler and other starters in the game longer than usual since they need to receive as many in-game reps as possible before Big 12 play begins September 26 against Kansas State.

Even if the Sooners' starters are withdrawn at some juncture in the second half, they should have enough firepower to outclass Missouri State.

Look for Charleston Rambo to be the main big-play threat. He is Oklahoma's top returning wideout and could be as dynamic as CeeDee Lamb was for Hurts in 2019.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.


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