Week 1 College Football Chalk Talk: Stuckey & Collin Wilson’s Favorite Favorites, Including Washington vs. Kent State

Week 1 College Football Chalk Talk: Stuckey & Collin Wilson’s Favorite Favorites, Including Washington vs. Kent State article feature image

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington wide receivers Taj Davis (17) and Rome Odunze (16).

You may be familiar with our weekly underdog moneyline article. Well, it's time to also show some love for our two favorite college football favorites that we mention weekly on the Big Bets on Campus podcast.

We affectionately refer to them as "overdogs" thanks to one of our beloved callers.

For our inaugural piece, we have a pair of home teams that sit right around three-touchdown favorites  — one on Friday night and the other on Saturday night.

Collin & Stuckey's Week 1 ML Underdogs

Wilson: Michigan State -21 vs. Western Michigan

Friday, Sept. 2
7 p.m. ET
Western Michigan Odds
-114o / -106u
Michigan State Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Michigan State covered all four non-conference games in Mel Tucker’s second season — the first in which he played non-Big Ten teams following the 2020 pandemic season.

“The matchups were favorable for us in those games,” Tucker told me at Big Ten Media Days.

Well, the 2022 opener against Western Michigan looks like another out of conference matchup where the Spartans should enjoy favorable matchups all over the field.

Western Michigan owns one of the lowest TARP ratings in all FBS, starting with no experience at the quarterback position. After losing two-time All MAC quarterback Kaleb Eleby, the job will now fall to redshirt freshman Jack Salopek.

The inexperienced Salopek will also have to make do without star wide receiver Skyy Moore — now with the Chiefs — and an offensive line that returns just 22% of snaps from last season. Michigan State’s edge rushers may feast on two new tackles.

Michigan State's defense, which returns 51% of pressures and 75% of passes defensed, should cook against a much smaller and less experienced Broncos offense.

WMU also has a new first-time offensive coordinator in Jeff Thorne, who's actually the father of Michigan State starting quarterback Payton Thorne. I'm assuming he will lean on a very talented backfield in this one, but expect Michigan State to counter with plenty of stacked boxes without any respect for the passing attack.

Expect quarterback Payton Thorne and wide receiver Jayden Reed to get the Spartans on the board early and often. With Akron on deck for Michigan State, there's also no concern of a lookahead here.

Pick: Michigan State -21

Stuckey: Washington -22.5 vs. Kent State

Saturday, Sept. 3
10:30 p.m. ET
Kent State Odds
-110o / -110u
Washington Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

I'm also fading a MAC school that will hit the road to face a Power 5 team in their season opener.

Washington should obviously have a massive talent and size advantage. Plus, Kent State plays as fast as any team in the country. Maximizing possessions is not a great idea as the clearly inferior squad.

Kent State also did nothing to fix its kickoff issues. The Golden Flashes ranked last in the country in opponent starting field position because their kicker simply can't get the ball deep. Opponents regularly start on the 40-yard-line or better. Their punting is also a sore spot, so Washington should enjoy prime field position all game against an abysmal defense that shouldn't provide hardly any resistance.

Washington's new staff will likely want to make a statement here in front of the home crowd, especially after the Huskies lost at home to FCS Montana in last year's season opener. They should also have much more competent quarterback play with transfer Michael Penix, while Kent State will have to replace reigning MAC Player of the Year Dustin Crum under center.

Under head coach Sean Lewis, Kent State has played nine Power 5 teams since his arrival in 2018. The Golden Flashes only stayed within three touchdown once against a bad Illinois team. They lost the other eight games by an average of 32.3 points per game.

Pick: Washington -22.5

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