College football best bets for Week 2 from Matt Youmans

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College football best bets for Week 2

All of the haters who wanted to see Deion Sanders suffer through a humbling experience in his Colorado coaching debut got the opposite. “Coach Prime” had something big to celebrate and was ready to talk about it. He never will stop talking.

 

Sanders will get humbled eventually, but Texas Christian was not the team to do it. The bettors who were laying 20.5 points with the home favorite failed to recognize the Horned Frogs have a much different and worse team than last year. The Buffaloes, who won a 45-42 shootout, are far more talented than almost everyone thought. Even the oddsmakers were dead wrong.

Still, the move from Week 1 to Week 2 on the schedule — college and NFL — is always a time for adjustments and overreactions. Some teams are not as good or as bad as they appeared, and handicappers can capitalize on numbers that get adjusted too much.

A month ago, South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews opened Nebraska as a 9-point favorite at Colorado, and Andrews said he took little action on the Buffaloes. One game into the season for each team, the line for Saturday’s game is now Colorado -3 to -3.5.

I’m not arguing against a major adjustment because the Buffaloes should be small favorites, but the Cornhuskers will present a much different matchup and are in a better situational spot.

Colorado’s quick-tempo offense was too much for TCU’s terrible defense. Shedeur Sanders, the coach’s son, passed for 510 yards and four touchdowns. Travis Hunter, a two-way star who played more than 120 snaps, had 11 receptions and one interception. Sanders and Hunter probably will be the best two players on the field again this week.

The Nebraska defense will provide a tougher test. The Cornhuskers allowed 251 total yards, including 55 rushing yards, and 3.6 yards per play in a 13-10 loss at Minnesota.

As “Coach Prime” makes a media tour this week and talks as if he just won the Super Bowl, the Cornhuskers will be grinding after a gut-wrenching defeat in a game they should have won. Nebraska’s Matt Rhule is the superior coach, and quarterback Jeff Sims’ play should improve after a three-interception fiasco against the Golden Gophers. The hype is off the hook in Boulder, but I’m betting on Rhule and the Blackshirts defense to restore some order.

Pick: Nebraska +3.5 (play as low as +3).

Last weekend was humbling for this handicapper. I had a feel-good outright winner with Wyoming +14 but lost both totals plays in the final minute and played two dead ’dogs (Colorado State and San Jose State) and one favorite (LSU) that was a complete flop.

It’s time to bounce back with three more underdog plays for Week 2 (home team in CAPS):

NORTH CAROLINA STATE (+7.5) over Notre Dame

While the Fighting Irish seem to be the real deal due to a strong defense and Wake Forest transfer quarterback Sam Hartman, a true road game against a legit opponent will tell the real story. Hartman, who has completed 82.5% of his passes with six touchdowns, and Notre Dame take a big step up in class after facing Navy and Tennessee State. Dual-threat quarterback Brennan Armstrong, a veteran transfer from Virginia, gives the Wolfpack hope as a home ’dog. (This is a play at +7 or better).

ARIZONA STATE (+3.5) over Oklahoma State

Through three quarters against Central Arkansas, the Cowboys held a 13-7 lead and were struggling to run the ball. Oklahoma State’s defense allowed 391 yards and coach Mike Gundy played three quarterbacks in the 27-13 win. The Sun Devils also were unimpressive and limped to a 24-21 victory over Southern Utah. Arizona State quarterback Jaden Rashada, forced to start after a hamstring injury to Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne, played like a freshman last week but has the potential to make more positive plays in new coach Kenny Dillingham’s offense. (This is a play at +3 or better).

TEXAS TECH (+7) over Oregon

While the Red Raiders blew a 17-0 first-quarter lead in a 35-33 double-overtime loss at Wyoming, it’s important to remember the well-coached Cowboys have one of the top defenses in the Mountain West and Texas Tech finished +111 in total yards. Tyler Shough, a transfer from Oregon, passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns and will be highly motivated against his former team. I like a good home ’dog off a bad loss, and the line has been inflated a few points after the Ducks crushed Portland State 81-7. (Look for +7, which is available, but this is a play at +6.5 or better).

Last week: 1-5 against the spread