What ten games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the first weekend of Week 2? Here you go. Enjoy.
Get ready for a theme in Week 2 – redemption, and the overreaction.
Week 1 is always a bit of a mirage, especially when teams that are supposed to be good haven’t jelled. Forget the upsets and strange collapses; the big boys – Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas A&M – failed to cover, too.
That means there should be plenty of good values to be had. Desperation can be a wonderful thing when it comes to figuring out who’s going to be focused, and it all starts out with …
10 Best ATS Picks So Far: 7-6
Click on each game for the game preview and fearless prediction.
LINE: UCLA -7.5, o/u: 45.5
ATS PICK: UCLA
UCLA was a hot mess in the loss to Cincinnati. Several key parts were hurt, the offense couldn’t get anything moving, and the passing game was non-existent. Also, chalk it up to it being a strange road game.
Sometimes teams go over a few time zones to play and are just … off.
Okay, so that’s a huge stretch – and it doesn’t give any credit to Cincinnati – but at home, get ready for the Bruins to at least do something right against a San Diego State team with an even worse offense. It’ll be a low-scoring fight, but the Aztecs have absolutely no punch whatsoever with RB Juwan Washington suffering an ankle injury.
LINE: Baylor -26.5, o/u: 57.45
ATS PICK: UTSA
How much do you really want to believe that UTSA turned some sort of an offensive corner after beating Incarnate Word 35-7? How much do you want to believe that Baylor might just want to take care of business and move on?
The Bears were terrific at getting all the parts working in the blowout over Stephen F. Austin, but the UTSA defense is better than what the Lumberjacks brought. Hitting the same 17 point mark – Baylor beat SFA 56-17 – isn’t asking for the world. 26.5 is just big enough to expect the Roadrunners – who were far worse last year and lost to the Bears by 13 – to cover late.
LINE: Auburn -17.5, o/u: 51.5
ATS PICK: Tulane
This is about Tulane and its solid veteran team that should be able to give the Tigers problems.
Auburn’s defense is good enough to win this without too much drama, but the Tulane team that managed to destroy a really, really good FIU 42-14 – at least, really good in the Conference USA world – has the coaching, the experience, and the parts to step into Jordan-Hare and make this a bit of a fight.
The SEC will get the win, but Tulane will keep the Tigers to around 30 points.
LINE: Texas Tech -34.5, o/u: 64.5
ATS PICK: Texas Tech
Granted, this is a big ask.
Texas Tech had everything working under new head coach Matt Wells, and it still only beat Montana State by 35 – and now you’re asking to win by 35 or more again.
As bad as UTEP has been over the years, it hasn’t been totally annihilated all that often. The biggest blowout in last season’s 1-11 campaign was by 32 against Southern Miss.
Wells is still trying to get his era going. His Utah State offense hit the 50 point mark seven times last season, and he’s got better parts with his new program – and it all looked good last week. Again, it’s a big number, but expect at least 50 points out of the Red Raiders.
LINE: Penn State -28.5, o/u: 56.5
ATS PICK: Penn State
Buffalo has some nice parts, even if most of the stars are done from last year’s should’ve-been MAC Champion. The Bulls won 38-10 over Robert Morris to kick things off, and now they’re about to run into a buzzsaw.
Don’t discount just how merciless Penn State has been at times under James Franklin.
Last year, it hammered Pitt 51-6, followed it up with a 53-point win over Kent State, and after that put 63 on Illinois. With a young team and several new key starting parts, the foot will stay down on the gas – see last week’s 79-7 squeaker over Idaho. The Nittany Lion underclassmen will keep trying enough in the second half to cover.