College Football Odds Week 2: Picks Against the Spread for Top 25 Matchups
The eyes of the college football world will be on Ames, Iowa, this weekend. In one of the biggest early matchups of the 2021 college football season, bitter rivals No. 10 Iowa and No. 9 Iowa State will face off with not only bragging rights on the line, but also a potential inside track toward the College Football Playoff.
Separated by just 130 miles, these two teams have faced off nearly every year since 1976, and the teams' first matchup was in 1894. There's no shortage of bad blood between them, and after missing last year's matchup because of the COVID-19 pandemic, expect a little extra juice when this one kicks off.
For both teams, Saturday presents a chance to nail down a signature win for the CFP committee, and particularly for the Cyclones, a chance to prove themselves legit contenders to the Big 12 crown.
The Hawkeye State showdown is one of just two matchups featuring a pair of Top 25 teams, though 23 of this week's Top 25 will be in action. We wouldn't recommend putting the mortgage down on either Iowa or Iowa State, but there are some sneaky good games out there.
Week 2 Top 25 College Football Schedule
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; Predictions in bold.
Friday, September 10
Kansas at No. 17 Coastal Carolina (-25) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Saturday, September 11
No. 12 Oregon (+14.5) at No. 3 Ohio State (Noon ET, Fox)
Alabama State at No. 25 Auburn (N/A) (Noon ET, SEC Network)
No. 13 Florida (-29) at South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC)
Middle Tennessee at No. 19 Virginia Tech (-20.5) (2 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra)
Toledo at No. 8 Notre Dame (-16.5) (2:30 p.m. ET, Peacock)
UAB at No. 2 Georgia (-24.5) (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Colorado (+17) (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
Murray State at No. 7 Cincinnati (N/A) (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Ball State at No. 11 Penn State (-23) (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Mercer at No. 1 Alabama (N/A) (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State (-4.5) (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
South Carolina State at No. 6 Clemson (N/A) (5 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Western Carolina at No. 4 Oklahoma (N/A) (7 p.m. ET)
No. 15 Texas(-6.5) at Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Eastern Michigan at No. 18 Wisconsin (-26) (7 p.m. ET, FS1)
Appalachian State at No. 22 Miami(-9) (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Austin Peay at No. 20 Ole Miss (N/A) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Georgia State at No. 24 North Carolina (-25.5) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 21 Utah (-7) at BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Stanford at No. 14 USC (-17) (10:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
UNLV at No. 23 Arizona State (-33.5) (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Colorado (3:30 P.m. ET, Fox)
Options are not exactly abounding for Top 25 ATS picks in Week 2. Six teams are playing FCS opponents, and a number of others are playing particularly unimpressive FBS opponents—looking at you, North Carolina State and Florida.
But one of the weekend's underrated games is happening in Denver, where No. 5 Texas A&M and Colorado face off in the city for the first time since the two teams left the Big 12 in 2011.
The Buffaloes easily handled FCS foe Northern Colorado in Week 1, and they rode a dominant running game led by preseason All-Pac-12 running back Jarek Broussard. CU ran the ball a whopping 49 times in Week 1, and that trend will likely continue against the Aggies with Buffs sophomore quarterback Brendon Lewis still getting his feet under him.
Texas A&M pummeled a hapless Kent State squad, but quarterback Haynes King isn't going to strike much fear in Colorado's hearts after throwing three interceptions last weekend. The Aggies have a bludgeoning rushing attack, though, and they're likely to lean heavily on Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, who combined for 237 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.
With the over/under set at just 51.5 and Texas A&M's weak run defense (226 yards allowed against Kent State), the Buffs are a good bet to keep this one closer than the 17-point spread.
Prediction: Colorado (+17)
No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State (Noon ET, Fox)
Let's be upfront about this: Whether Oregon stands a chance in this game largely depends on the health of defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is projected by many to be the first player taken in the 2022 NFL draft. That's how good he is, and that's how much of a difference he can make for Oregon's defense.
The Ducks offense wasn't stellar in a 31-24 win over Fresno State, but the Bulldogs are no slouch. They throw the ball all over the field and have a legitimate NFL talent at quarterback with Jake Haener.
But this week will be a different test. Ohio State has one of the best receiver groups in the country and a stable of backs that gashed Minnesota's lackluster run defense. But starter C.J. Stroud wasn't a world-beater against the Gophers, and while he did throw for four touchdowns, he only completed 59 percent of his passes.
If the Ducks have Thibodeaux and can force pressure to get Stroud uncomfortable—something Minnesota couldn't—they'll have some chances to force him into mistakes.
The Buckeyes are better than the Ducks and should win this straight up, but given OSU's defensive struggles against an inferior Minnesota squad, 14.5 points is a little too much of a stretch.
Prediction: Oregon (+14.5)
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