Our Favorite Week 2 College Football Moneyline Underdogs
Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: South Alabama quarterback Desmond Trotter.
Each week on The Action Network Colleges Podcast, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each Saturday’s college football slate. It wasn’t easy to come up with two this week on such a slim card but we did find two teams that played last week worth taking a stab at. If you’re feeling lucky, a moneyline parlay of both pays around 19-1.
As you can see from our combined record below over the past two seasons, hitting just over 38% still turned a profit.
- 2018-19: 29-47 +4.00 units
- 2020: 0-0 +0.00 units
Let’s get into our two selections for Week 2, starting with a noon kick and finishing up with a primetime game.
Stuckey: Arkansas State +400
- Spread: Kansas State -13
- Over/Under: 54
- Date: Saturday, Sep. 12
- Time: Noon ET
- TV: FOX
- Location: Manhattan, Kansas
To me, the toughest part about handicapping the early college football season is twofold: keeping up with COVID-19-related news and also trying to figure out which teams will lay an egg. The latter seems like more of a crapshoot, as I’ve just accepted that we are going to see some teams that are completely unprepared after losing spring practices and having summer preparation cut short and interrupted in other cases.
However, for this week, a few teams will take the field for the second time this season, which means I have a little more confidence in what we’ll see from those teams. One of those clubs is Arkansas State, who got a cover for me last week in a fairly competitive loss to Memphis.
Unlike some teams so far this season, the Red Wolves at least showed up ready to play and showed some signs of efficiency on offense throughout the night. Regardless of which quarterback is on the field Saturday, Arkansas State should have some success through the air against a completely revamped Kansas State secondary. I’m not sure they’ll find much running room against an experienced front seven that gets Justin Hughes back at linebacker, but the Red Wolves are a pass-first team.
The Arkansas State defense isn’t anything to write home about, but Kansas State has questions to answer on offense. Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson does return under center with plenty of returning production on the outside, but he’ll need to deal with an entirely new offensive line that will need time to jell for a team that loves to pound the rock and doesn’t have much experience in the backfield.
This really is a fascinating matchup of two completely contrasting styles. Kansas State wants to play slow, control the clock, establish the run and play a physical brand of football. Meanwhile, Arkansas State is a pass-first, more finesse-focused team that will rarely ever win the time of possession battle.
If Arkansas State can hit a few more explosive plays (look out for Jonathan Adams Jr.) this week and win the turnover battle, it can hang around against a Kansas State team with many unknowns ahead of their season opener. They have major roster turnover at key positions, a new defensive coordinator, and rumors of recent COVID-19 cases, so I like the upside of this moneyline dog that I’ve already seen play this year.
Wilson: South Alabama +300
- Spread: Tulane -10
- Over/Under: 54
- Date: Saturday, Sep. 12
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
- Location: Mobile, Ala.
Similar to Stuck, I’m rolling with a team I saw play last week. The South Alabama offense looked as good in the box score as it did on the field against Southern Miss in a Week 1 upset victory. I was impressed.
A 53% success rate on passing plays was exceptional and above national averages. Even with South Alabama committing two turnovers, the Jaguars still dominated behind quarterback Desmond Trotter and an influx of transfers.
Meanwhile, Tulane will take the field for the first time this season and could struggle out of the gate for this road season opener.
Head coach Willie Fritz has just 21% returning production on the offensive side of the ball. The Green Wave must replace their starting quarterback and two star wide receivers from last season. Even with strong 3-star recruiting classes and a few transfers from Power 5 programs, the Green Wave will likely take a major step back in production compared to the offensive powerhouse we saw in 2019.
With Justin McMillan graduating, Keon Howard gets the starting duties at quarterback for Tulane and I’m just not that high on the former Southern Miss QB who got benched a number of times in his previous stop in Hattiesburg. The Green Wave also only have three offensive lineman with nine or more starts, with almost no game experience across the remainder of the depth chart.
Look for a South Alabama team fresh off an upset to keep the momentum going against an inexperienced Tulane team that had just four spring practices.