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College Football Odds & Picks: 5 Best Bets for Saturday Evening, Including Stanford vs. USC & More

College Football Odds & Picks: 5 Best Bets for Saturday Evening, Including Stanford vs. USC & More article feature image
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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Earl Barquet Jr (USC)

  • As the afternoon slate comes to an end, we turn our attention to the evening games on Saturday's college football slate.
  • Our staff came through with five best bets for the evening, including picks for USC vs. Stanford and Kentucky vs. Florida.
  • Check out all five of our evening best bets for Week 2 below.

Week 2 of the college football season rolls on as we continue to craft our betting cards with a solid evening slate.

Between Kentucky taking on Florida in an SEC affair and USC dueling with Stanford in an intriguing Pac-12 matchup, there is plenty of value and betting interest across the board.

Our staff dove into five games to provide five best bets for the evening matchups. Also be sure to check out our best bets from Saturday’s three other major kickoff windows:


Saturday College Football Week 2 Best Bets

Games from the Evening Kickoff Window (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET)

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time (ET)
Pick
6 p.m.
Old Dominion Team Total
6 p.m.
West Virginia -13
7 p.m.
Eastern Michigan +11.5
7 p.m. ET
Kentucky +6
7:30 p.m.
Stanford +240
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.


Old Dominion vs. East Carolina

Saturday, Sept. 10
6 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Old Dominion Team Total Under 19

By Cody Goggin

I hit on this one in my preview of this game, but I’m all in on the East Carolina defense this week. A week ago, East Carolina came within a missed kick of upsetting NC State, while Old Dominion upset Virginia Tech.

The 2021 East Carolina defense ranked 37th in FBS in Defensive Success Rate. It proved to be especially successful against the pass, ranking 24th in Success Rate.

NC State has a respected offense with a veteran quarterback, and this Pirates defense held it to a Success Rate in the 21st percentile.

Old Dominion was terrible when passing the ball last year, ranking 99th in Passing Success Rate.

Hayden Wolff struggled last week against Virginia Tech, completing only 40% of his passes with a -0.71 EPA per drop back.

For those that are unaware with the second statistic, that means that every time Wolff dropped back to throw, the expectation of points that Old Dominion would score that drive dropped by 0.71.

The ODU offense posted an EPA per Play, Success Rate and yards-per-play mark that all ranked in the first percentile or lower last week.

Half of the Monarchs’ scoring last week was set up by defense and special teams. They scored 20 points, but 10 of those came on a fumble return touchdown and another came from an interception that started their drive at the Virginia Tech 36-yard line and set them up for a field goal.

I believe East Carolina will be able to move the ball enough to keep its defense off the field. When it is on the field, Old Dominion will have a very tough day.

Pick: Old Dominion Team Total Under 19 (Play to 17.5)



Kansas vs. West Virginia

Saturday, Sept. 10
6 p.m. ET
ESPN+
West Virginia -13

By Patrick Strollo

The West Virginia Mountaineers look to bounce back from a heartbreaking road loss against the Pittsburgh Panthers in last week’s nationally televised college football kickoff.

After an extra day off, the Mountaineers will be ready to host the Kansas Jayhawks, who had an opening-season game last Friday against Tennessee Tech.

Tennessee Tech didn’t present nearly the challenge that the ACC champion and hated rival Pittsburgh Panthers did for WVU. The Golden Eagles came into this season after finishing last place in the FCS Ohio Valley Conference.

West Virginia transfer quarterback JT Daniels proved he was the guy in his inaugural performance for the Mountaineers. In a game that West Virginia should have won, the former five-star recruit completed 23-of-40 passing attempts for 215 yards, two touchdowns and an unfortunate interception.

This week’s matchup will be a more relaxed affair than the rivalry showdown against Pittsburgh’s defense. Kansas has a below-average pass defense, finishing last season ranked 79th in the nation after giving up 236.4 yards per game.

Daniels and the burgeoning rapport between his wide receiver corps will leverage a ground attack that combined for 190 yards and two touchdowns against a Pittsburgh defensive front that is one of the best in the nation.

Kansas comes to Morgantown with a rushing defense that finished last season second-to-last in the nation (130th) by giving up 249.83 yards per game.

Kansas has played West Virginia tough in recent years, but this is a new era in the wild and wonderful state with a standout QB1. Look for Daniels to pick apart the Kansas secondary after establishing the ground-and-pound.

I am projecting the Mountaineers as three-touchdown favorites based upon their offensive prowess. Look for Daniels to make his mark in the Big 12, as he will take over the game early in the second quarter.

Pick: West Virginia -13 (Play to -14)

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Eastern Michigan vs. Louisiana

Saturday, Sept. 10
7 p.m. ET
NFL Network
Eastern Michigan +11.5

By Tanner McGrath

The Eagles return the best receiving core in the MAC alongside four offensive linemen.

There were questions at quarterback, but former Mizzou and Troy quarterback Taylor Powell is settling in fine, having completed 21-of-30 passes for 9.5 adjusted yards per attempt. Must be nice to have weapons.

Sure, it was only against Eastern Kentucky, but the Eagles finished with a whopping 51% Success Rate and a 56% Success Rate on standard downs.

The line being this high is pure respect for Louisiana’s 14-game winning streak. But Billy Napier is off beating Utah, the offensive line returns just 25 total career starts, there’s a new quarterback and just two of the top six tacklers from last season return.

These are not the same Ragin’ Cajuns you remember. The offense barely cracked a 40% Success Rate against Southeast Louisiana. They managed just 17 points on six drives past an FCS school’s 40-yard line.

This will be a high-scoring game, but the Eagles have the horses to keep this within double-digits.

I’d make this line somewhere between EMU +5 and EMU +3, and I’m happy to bet it at anything over a touchdown.

Pick: Eastern Michigan +11.5 (Play to +7.5)



Kentucky vs. Florida

Saturday, Sept. 10
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Kentucky +6

By Kody Malstrom

My biggest bet last week was Utah’s moneyline against Florida.

Well, that didn’t go so well. It might’ve been a lucky win for the Gators given the Utes’ inept offensive decisions, but a win is a win nonetheless.

Here we go again. I’m fading the Gators.

This isn’t a bash on them per se. They did impress me, as quarterback Anthony Richardson looked to be the real deal. If teams can’t contain his elite dual-threat ability, then that defense is in for a long night.

Luckily for the Wildcats, their defense is more than capable of stopping Florida’s unique attack.

Fielding one of the best tackling units in football and a front seven that can relentlessly attack the backfield, Kentucky can limit Florida’s damage and give its inexperienced secondary some help as it grows into its role.

On the other side, Kentucky is still without star running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. due to a suspension and just lost backup Ramon Jefferson to a torn ACL in Week 1. This leaves it thin at the position with Kavosiey Smoke manning the helm.

Florida struggled to stop the run last week against the duo of Tavion Thomas and Cam Rising and may struggle again against Will Levis and Smoke.

Should Florida’s offense struggle to move the ball against Kentucky and limit its run game on the other end, then expect the Wildcats to make it two years in a row containing the Gators.

Pick: Kentucky +6 (Play to +3)


USC vs. Stanford

Saturday, Sept. 10
7:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Stanford +240

By Collin Wilson

The Trojans may represent the Pac-12’s only shot at getting a team to the College Football Playoff after both Oregon and Utah got drummed in Week 1. That ultimately hurt the chances of a West Coast team advancing to the national semifinal.

USC remains the most obvious choice after kicking its season off with a 50-point trouncing of Rice. However, a closer look at the early play-by-play indicates the Trojans’ defense still has some very exploitable flaws.

The Owls started off that contest with a 16-play touchdown drive that took eight minutes off the clock. Rice couldn’t really sustain many drives after that, especially in comeback mode after USC pulled away in part due to multiple non-offensive touchdowns in addition to an obvious mammoth talent gap.

That opening score from an Owls head coach who previously served as Stanford’s offensive coordinator certainly caught my eyes. Plus, the talent disparity will not be as wide this week.

Meanwhile, Stanford had an even easier path to victory over Colgate last week. Quarterback Tanner McKee, who possesses an NFL ready arm, lit up the FCS opponent with four Big-Time Throws, hitting five different targets for multiple explosive plays with an average depth of target at 10.1 yards.

McKee is more than capable of giving the Trojans fits. The USC run defense also may be a bit vulnerable, ranking below average nationally in Stuff Rate.

You may recall a three-win Stanford team pulled off two upsets last season against ranked USC and Oregon squads as 17.5- and 8.5-point underdogs, respectively. It has a real chance of pulling off another one here, which would put a major dent in USC’s playoff aspirations.

Pick: Stanford +240



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