College Football Best Bets: Picks & Predictions for Noon Games
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Landen King, Jaylon Glover, Munir McClain & Nate Johnson (Utah)
We kick off college football Week 2 with an intriguing noon slate, and our experts have you covered with their three best bets, including picks for Utah vs. Baylor and Nebraska vs. Colorado.
Dive in below to find the top college football odds and picks, including three noon best bets.
College Football Noon Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting 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.
Nebraska vs. Colorado
I’m going contrarian here and taking the Under.
While Colorado was the talk of the town for its explosive offensive performance against TCU, I project the Horns as a bad defense.
Sure, TCU returns seven starters from last year’s squad, alongside defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie. But last year’s unit ranked 63rd in Success Rate Allowed, 103rd in Explosiveness Allowed and 120th in Points per Opportunity Allowed. The Frogs allowed 30 points per game. The ceiling for these seven returning starters can’t be too high.
Meanwhile, TCU lost its best player from each level of the defense (DL Dylan Horton, LB Dee Winters, CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson). The Frogs’ defense could struggle more than even last season.
Nebraska will be a step up in defensive competition for Colorado. Matt Rhule and new defensive coordinator Tony White installed their 3-3-5 defense last week against Minnesota, and the Huskers’ eight returning starters implemented it well. Minnesota finished with a 33% Success Rate and managed only 13 points on five scoring opportunities.
Yes, Minnesota is installing a brand-new offense. But the Gophers have talent — specifically at wide receiver — and Nebraska shut them down.
I think the market overreacted to Colorado’s offensive output in Week 1. TCU’s defense looks bad, so I’m skeptical that the Buffs will average 40 PPG against better Power 5 defenses.
Meanwhile, we know Nebraska’s offense won’t score much. Jeff Sims and the aerial attack looked pedestrian against a Minnesota defense that lost 60% of its production from last year. Sims went 11-for-19 passing for 114 yards and three interceptions, and the Huskers had a 27% Success Rate on Passing Downs.
However, Nebraska will be able to run the ball. Sims is a decent dual-action quarterback, and the Huskers boast 120 career FBS starts on the line. They posted 181 rushing yards and a 55% Standard Downs Success Rate against Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s rush defense looks like a disaster. TCU popped off for 262 rushing yards at 7.1 YPA, generating a whopping .46 EPA per rush.
Rhule should use that to his advantage, creating long, sustained, rush-heavy drives to shorten the game and keep the ball out of Shedeur Sanders’ hands. If Nebraska pieces together seven-minute drives that result in field goals, the Under will cash easily.
Look for Colorado’s offense to regress slightly in Week 2, while Nebraska hogs the football and drains the clock.
Our Action Network PRO model projects only 51 points for this game, giving us a touchdown edge over the market.
Notre Dame vs. NC State
By Doug Ziefel
This matchup all comes down to the trenches, and it's clear which side has the advantage in that battle.
NC State's offensive line didn’t have a good showing in the opener against UConn. The Wolfpack were having clear issues protecting Brennan Armstrong, which caused him to scramble a majority of the time and limited his ability to push the ball down the field in the passing game.
The numbers tell the story, as the Wolfpack rank 80th in pass blocking and 42nd in run blocking, according to PFF.
Their issues will be amplified when they face a much better defensive line in Notre Dame's, which looked very strong against Navy.
Looking at it from the other side, the Wolfpack's defensive line also doesn’t inspire much faith in this matchup. They allowed UConn to average 6.2 yards per carry, which earned them a rank of 122nd in PFF's rush defensive grades.
The Fighting Irish will be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This will shut down the Wolfpack offense and give Notre Dame's offense the opportunity to dictate the pace with its rushing attack.
Also, we can't forget that Notre Dame has Sam Hartman at the helm, who will be a massive step up in competition for the Wolfpack secondary.
However, Hartman may not have to do much, as the Fighting Irish should control this game.
Utah vs. Baylor
By Dan Keegan
Okay, I’m doing it. I’m overreacting to what I saw in Week 1.
And what I saw was a Baylor team with far more questions than answers. The Bears were dispatched far too easily by a Texas State team that hadn’t won a game against a Power-5 opponent since joining FBS.
The Bears were dominated in the trenches by an opponent that had just turned over its entire offensive line in the portal and was replacing their best defensive lineman (Levi Bell).
The Bears received matching 48.0 grades from PFF for their pass blocking and run blocking efforts, and if you have to ask, no, those aren’t good numbers.
The Bobcats moved the ball with ease all night — this wasn’t a fluke win with turnover luck or a miracle drive. They drove the ball, they hit big plays, they scored and then they scored again.
Baylor had no answers.
The Bears did one thing well — Blake Shapen was excellent, throwing for 303 yards and a pair of scores. Things got dicey when he suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Sawyer Robertson. Well, now Shapen is out for this game (and a few more) with that MCL injury.
Things look like they’re headed in the wrong direction in Waco. They host Utah, a team that showed it knows how to win without its star quarterback. The Utes didn’t post a gaudy box score in their Week 1 win, but they left no window of opportunity in overmatching Florida.
Baylor looks like it wants no business with a push-you-around type game, and Utah is one of the most pushingest teams there are in college football these days. The Utes will be happy to lean on Baylor all game.
I’ll take Utah and lay the points; it’s at 7.5 as I write this, and I would play it to 10.