College Football Odds & Picks for Week 2: Our Top NCAAF Favorites, Including Wake Forest & Liberty (Sept. 9)

College Football Odds & Picks for Week 2: Our Top NCAAF Favorites, Including Wake Forest & Liberty (Sept. 9) article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Liberty’s Kaidon Salter.

You may be familiar with our weekly moneyline underdog article. Well, we decided last year we needed to show love for the other side by also sharing our two favorite college football favorites that we share weekly on the "Big Bets on Campus" podcast.

We affectionately refer to them as "overdogs," thanks to one of our beloved callers. To kick off the chalk talk this year, we split last week as Alabama got home for me but Collin lost UCLA by a half-point after mocking that pesky hook.

This week, we're rolling with a pair of 10-point favorites, starting with a rare 11 a.m. ET kickoff.

Saturday, Sept. 9
11 a.m. ET
ACC Network
Wake Forest -10

Two games into the season, and the Vanderbilt box scores are as much under construction as FirstBank Stadium in Nashville.

After an explosive domination by Hawaii, the Commodores looked to regroup against Alabama A&M from the FCS. The final score served as vindication, but plenty of issues remain unresolved for Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs produced a 52% Success Rate on rushing attempts, averaged five yards per play and were stuffed below the national average.

More struggles continued for Vandy on the offensive side of the ball, where quarterback AJ Swann completed just half of his passing attempts. The sophomore now has three turnover-worthy plays through two games with each coming from a non-blitzed pocket. Those are ominous signs ahead of the competition picking up in quality.

Investors who backed Wake Forest in the opener felt robbed after Elon picked up the pace to kick a field goal as time expired, but the Demon Deacons posted high marks in Havoc and tackle grading. Elon threw a pair of interceptions as Wake Forest produced six quarterback hurries and 10 tackles for loss.

Defensive coordinator Brad Lambert continues to put his stamp on the Wake Forest program and should have an effective game plan for a one-dimensional Vanderbilt offense that ranks 83rd in Havoc Allowed through two games.

The Commodores defense has also declined in standard downs of late — an issue head coach Clark Lea knows will show up against the slow-mesh RPO offense led by Wake Forest quarterback Mitch Griffis.

If Alabama A&M had no issues establishing the run, the Demon Deacons should have no issues staying ahead of the chains and winning this by double digits.

Stuckey: Liberty -10

Saturday, Sept. 9
6 p.m. ET
Liberty -10

I truly believed the Aggies came into the year with an artificially high market rating due to a mostly fraudulent late-season run to get to a bowl, which they won against an awful Bowling Green squad.

Look no further than the seven opponents they defeated:

  • Hawaii
  • New Mexico
  • UMass
  • Lamar
  • Liberty
  • Valparaiso
  • Bowling Green

That has to be the saddest group of wins I've ever seen for a bowl team. To boot, they played a Liberty team that quit on the season the week after the Hugh Freeze departure rumors broke. As a result, the Aggies added a game with lowly Valpo to reach bowl eligibility.

Additionally, over the past two seasons against FCS teams and the corpse of Liberty, NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia has totaled 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Against all other opponents, those numbers drop to seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. That includes a putrid performance against UMass and a great one against lowly FCS Western Illinois this season.

This offense remains extremely limited, especially from a passing perspective against any defense with a pulse. Meanwhile, the defense should take a step back after losing key pieces on the back end, which UMass fully exploited during a 41-point outburst in Las Cruces two weeks ago.

As I previously mentioned, one of New Mexico State's victories last year came on the road against the Flames, who simply never bothered to actually take the field with all of the off-field rumors swirling. As a result, they were thoroughly embarrassed, 49-14, in Lynchburg as 24-point favorites.

Well, not only has Liberty had this game circled all offseason as a potential revenge spot, but it's now favored by 14 fewer points against a roster that I don't think has improved since that matchup.

Lastly, I expect a crisper Liberty offense in Week 2 of a new scheme under head coach Jamey Chadwell, who I highly respect.

I'm primarily just trusting my numbers and intuition that the market is off on this NMSU squad, but a nice revenge angle doesn't hurt.

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