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Week 2 College Football Odds & Picks: 5 Toughest Situational Spots, Including UTSA, Mississippi State & More (Sept. 10)

Week 2 College Football Odds & Picks: 5 Toughest Situational Spots, Including UTSA, Mississippi State & More (Sept. 10) article feature image
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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers.

  • Week 2's college football slate features plenty of games, but some teams have a more difficult week than others.
  • Whether it's travel, motivation or look-ahead spots, many teams have external factors that could throw off performance — which is useful information for bettors.
  • Stuckey breaks down which college football programs have the toughest Week 2 spot below.

Saturday’s college football betting card might be one of the one of the ugliest of the season (not abnormal for Week 2), but there are a few situational spots worth noting.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to identify potential situational spots each week. It’s just a little bit of manual work. One just has to look at a team’s opponents the week prior and week after to get an idea of where any potential flat spots might pop up.

Other ancillary factors also warrant consideration; it’s not pure science. There’s an art and feel to using situational spots in one’s handicapping.

Ultimately, the actual number still reigns supreme. No matter how great a situational spot appears on paper, you still have to factor in how much value the spread holds. However, a good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I’m on the fence for.

Additionally, it’s not always about the pre-game market. There are times when I believe a team will take its foot off the gas a bit sooner than usual with an important game on deck, which could create a potential wagering opportunity in the second half and/or live side or total markets.

Understanding depth, coach motivation and team injury situations also come into play, especially early on in the season when a team might not want to reveal much of the playbook against an inferior opponent.

For Week 2, I’ve circled five potentially tough situational spots, starting with a Friday night kick and ending with some Pac-12 After Dark on Saturday night.


Boise State -17 at New Mexico

Friday, Sept. 9, 9 p.m. ET · ESPN+

After a humbling defeat at Oregon State to open up the season, the Broncos will play their conference opener at New Mexico.

It’s not an ideal spot, having to travel to Albuquerque on a short week after finishing a game in Corvallis late Saturday night. That’s especially difficult when dealing with a swirling quarterback controversy after Hank Bachmeier got benched in the opener.

New Mexico should have a solid defense under a pair of defensive gurus in head coach Danny Gonzales and defensive coordinator Rocky Long. However, the offense (now running a new version of an option attack) might be one of the worst in the nation once again.

For what it’s worth, Boise State beat New Mexico, 37-0, last year. The Broncos did benefit from two blocked punt touchdowns but held the Lobos to just 101 total yards.

I personally think this line is a bit high for an offense with major questions in a tough situational spot in a game where the total sits below 45.


UTSA -2.5 at Army

Noon ET · CBS Sports Network

After a heartbreaking three-overtime loss at home against ranked Houston, the Roadrunners have to pick themselves off the mat and get ready for a noon kick on the road against Army’s triple-option attack. Any lack of focus or preparation could make a defense look foolish against the Black Knights.

The good news for UTSA is its run defense excelled last year, ranking 10th nationally in yards per carry allowed (3.3). The secondary had holes, but that’s not a concern against Army.

The Roadrunners feature an extremely stout linebacker corps and a superb safety in preseason C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Rashad Wisdom, who has led the team in tackled in each of the past two seasons. On paper, they possess the personnel to keep this Army ground game in check.

Plus, a number of players on the roster have previous experience facing Army. UTSA faced the Black Knights in both 2019 and 2020, although it dropped both games by final scores of 28-16 and 31-13.

Still, experience against the unique triple option is invaluable, and UTSA has come a long way in the past two seasons.

The offense should give Army’s secondary fits, but will the defense be focused and ready for the Black Knights’ relentless pounding?

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UNC -7 at Georgia State

Noon ET · ESPNU

Another tricky spot for a favorite heading on the road for a noon kick after a thrilling game last week.

After barely holding off Appalachian State in one of the wildest games of the young season, the Heels will head on the road for a second-straight road game against a Sun Belt team. You don’t see that every week from a Power Five team.

With a bye on deck prior to a matchup against Notre Dame, head coach Mack Brown will try to keep his kids focused on an opponent UNC crushed last year by a final score of 59-17.

Meanwhile, Georgia State will seek revenge for that embarrassing loss. Expect a fully-focused effort from the Panthers back in Atlanta after dropping their opener at South Carolina.

Yes, Georgia State lost, 35-14, but that final margin is extremely misleading. In fact, the Panthers actually outgained the Gamecocks but simply couldn’t overcome a litany of special teams mistakes.

They started off the game by turning the ball over on downs inside the South Carolina 10. The Gamecocks eventually added points via two field goals from 50-plus yards and two touchdowns via punt blocks.

The UNC defense appears to still be a major area of weakness. As a result, Georgia State should have no issues sustaining drives by wearing down UNC on the ground with its run-first attack.

The Panthers also now have some tape on freshman quarterback Drake Maye, who has looked fantastic in his first two starts.

Georgia State has shown in the recent past it can compete with P5 teams. It won at Tennessee in 2019 and almost pulled off a major upset at Auburn last year.

I expect a bounce-back performance from one of the most experienced teams in the country that finished last season with a 7-1 record. I like the home pup catching seven or more here.

ncaa-college football-georgia state panthers-arkansas state red wolves-october 15 2020
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Georgia State defensive line.

Georgia Tech -22.5 vs. Western Carolina

7 p.m. ET · ESPN+

This one is a bit off-the-radar, but it screams “flat spot” for the Yellow Jackets.

After facing Clemson on Monday night in Atlanta, they will head home to campus on a short week to face an FCS school with a home game against Ole Miss on deck.

The Catamounts, who finished 4-7 last year, are far from a powerhouse at the FCS level. However, the offense should come into this one with a ton of confidence after a road victory at Charleston Southern to open the season.

In that win, quarterback Carlos Davis threw for 433 yards to go along with six touchdowns to six different receivers. It’s reasonable to expect an uptick in offensive production with a second-year head coach and quarterback heading up an offense that wants to chuck it up all over the field.

However, Western Carolina did turn it over four times and got flagged 11 times. The defense also will have major issues against any FBS school — even Georgia Tech — which should get its ground game going with ease.

WCU will give up plenty of points here, but can it score enough to stay within this number? If Georgia Tech isn’t focused or shuts it down early with a gauntlet of a remaining schedule, it’s certainly capable.

Look out for stud receiver Raphael Williams to make an impact.

For reference, see below for Western Carolina’s results against FBS competition over the past three seasons:

  • 2022: L 76-0 at Oklahoma
  • 2021: L 58-14 at Liberty
  • 2021: L 49-9 at North Carolina
  • 2020: L 49-0 at NC State
  • 2020: L 66-3 at Alabama

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has faced two FBS opponents over that same span.

It defeated Kennesaw State, 45-17, last year as 18-point favorites but lost in stunning fashion as 26-point favorites to The Citadel back in head coach Geoff Collins’ first season.


Mississippi State -11 at Arizona

11 p.m. ET · FS1

This presents a bit of a tricky spot for the Bulldogs, who exacted revenge in dominant fashion over Memphis last week in Starkville. They now head out West to face Arizona in a potentially tricky spot.

The Wildcats, who could be one of the most improved in the nation, picked up a convincing road win at San Diego State as nearly touchdown underdogs.

Wide receiver Jacob Cowing, a transfer from UTEP, will pose major problems for opposing defenses all season long.

Can Mississippi State avoid looking ahead to a conference opener against LSU next week and take care of business against an Arizona team on the rise? It will at least get a bit of a break from the desert heat with a late-night kickoff, but an 11 p.m. ET start time could also throw the Bulldogs off a bit.

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