UPDATED on Saturday, 9/11/21, at 10:53 a.m. Eastern.
Week 2! Let’s do it…
—Best Games of the Week:
- 1-Iowa at Iowa St.
- 2-Oregon at Ohio St.
- 3-Texas at Arkansas
- 4-Utah at BYU
- 5-North Carolina St. at Mississippi St.
- 6-Appalachian St. at Miami
- 7-Missouri at Kentucky
- 8-UAB at Georgia
- 9-Western Kentucky at Army
- 10-Texas A&M vs. Colorado (in Denver)
–Michigan WR Ronnie Bell is out for the season after sustaining a leg injury in his team’s 47-14 blowout win over Western Michigan. In 2020, Bell had team-highs in catches (26) and receiving yards (401). He also had one TD reception. In 27 career games, Bell has 83 receptions for 1,380 yards and five TDs. To give you an idea of what the Wolverines will be missing, check out Bell’s hands on this play that took place before he went down with the injury:
–Michigan, a 6.5 or seven-point home favorite vs. Washington, is 18-16 against the spread in 34 games as a home favorite during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure.
–During Nick Saban’s 15-year tenure, Alabama is an abysmal 2-9 ATS in 11 games when it has been favored by 43.5 points or more. As of Friday morning, DraftKings had the Crimson Tide listed as a 53.5-point home favorite vs. Mercer. The total was 60.5 points.
—Here are my five plays for first-quarter lines: Florida -7 (-125 price) at USF, BC -8.5 at UMass, Buffalo +235 (money line) at Nebraska, South Alabama -3.5 at Bowling Green and Ohio St. -6 (-115) vs. Oregon.
–Eastern Michigan, a 26-point underdog at Wisconsin, owns an incredible 19-2 spread record with nine outright wins in its last 21 games as a road underdog. The Eagles have also won outright in their last three games against Big Ten opponents, winning at Illinois in 2019, at Purdue in 2018 and at Rutgers in 2017.
–Since Wisconsin started last season 2-0 with wins at Illinois (45-7) and at Michigan (49-11), it has lost four of its last six games, including last week’s 16-10 setback vs. Penn St. at Camp Randall. In the wins over the Illini and the Wolverines, QB Graham Mertz threw seven TD passes without an interception. Since then, however, he has a deplorable 2/7 TD-INT ratio. In the four losses, Wisconsin has scored 30 combined points for an atrocious 7.5 points-per-game average. Furthermore, the Badgers have limped to a 5-12 against-the-spread record in their last 17 games as home favorites.
–Bad news for Oregon on Saturday morning:
–Arkansas star LB Bumper Pool is out of the first half vs. Arkansas after being flagged for targeting in the second half of last week’s 38-17 home win over Rice. Pool was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2020.
–Bad news for Western Kentucky on Saturday morning:
–Buffalo, a 13.5 or 14-point underdog at Nebraska, is off a 69-7 home win over Wagner. The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as double-digit underdogs. The Cornhuskers have struggled to a 4-8 ATS mark in 12 games as home favorites during Scott Frost’s tenure.
–Georgia QB JT Daniels is dealing with an oblique issue that has him listed as ‘questionable’ vs. UAB. Reports out of Athens on Wednesday indicated that the transfer from USC has been limited at practice this week. According to a report from Seth Emerson of The Athletic on Friday afternoon, the UGA coaching staff was leaning toward starting Stetson Bennett or Carson Beck. Emerson implied that Daniels will probably be available — and maybe even start — but it sounds like Kirby Smart wants to rest Daniels if the game is going well for the Bulldogs, especially with the Bulldogs’ SEC opener looming vs. South Carolina in Week 3. Whatever the case, it remains unclear if the starting QB is going to have any of UGA’s top offensive weapons available. WR Dominick Blaylock and TE Darnell Washington are ‘questionable’ after missing last week’s 10-3 win vs. Clemson. TE Arik Gilbert and WR George Pickens remain ‘out,’ while WR Kearis Jackson only saw playing time on special teams against the Tigers. Jackson led UGA with 36 catches for 514 yards and three TDs in 2020. DB Tykee Smith is also ‘questionable’ after missing the opener. I snagged UAB at +27 on Sunday, but I still like the Blazers as long as you’re catching at least 24 points. UPDATE: UGA is down to -22.5.
—Alabama LB Christopher Allen suffered what’s believed to be a season-ending injury in this past Saturday’s win over Miami in Atlanta. There’s actually an outside shot that Allen could be back in January, but he’s definitely done for the regular season.
–Appalachian St. owns a 6-1 spread record with four outright wins in its last seven games as an underdog. The Mountaineers are nine-point underdogs at Miami. In 2016, these programs squared off for the only time when the Hurricanes went up to Boone and dealt out a 45-10 assbeating as 3.5-point road ‘chalk.’
–Is Josh Heupel playing the right QB by going with Joe Milton ahead of Hendon Hooker? I don’t think so. In 2019 in his first six starts, Hooker led Va. Tech — a team that at the time was 2-2 with non-covering wins over ODU and Furman and coming off a 45-10 HOME LOSS to DUKE (!) — on a six-game winning streak (he missed a 21-20 loss at Notre Dame due to injury after his first three starts). He finished that year with a 13/2 TD-INT ratio and five rushing TDs. In 22 career games, Hooker has completed 63.3 percent of his throws with a 22/7 TD-INT ratio. He also has 1,045 career rushing yards and 15 TDs. Milton has appeared in 14 career games, connecting on 55.4 percent of his passes with a 6/6 TD-INT ratio. The former Michigan QB has 200 career rushing yards and five TDs.
–Pitt, a three-point favorite at UT, is 5-2 ATS as a road favorite since 2016. During that same stretch since ’16, the Vols are 4-9 ATS in 13 games as home underdogs.
–Iowa is 8-11-1 ATS in 20 games as a road underdog since 2011. The Hawkeyes are four-point underdogs at Iowa St. The Cyclones are 9-12 ATS in 21 games as home favorites during Matt Campbell’s tenure. After missing last week’s 16-10 non-covering home win over No. Iowa, Iowa St. TE Charlie Kolar is set to play vs. Iowa. Kolar was a first-team All-Big-12 choice in 2020 when he hauled in 44 receptions for 591 yards and a team-best seven TDs.
–South Carolina star RB Kevin ‘Throws Stiff Arms With Violent Intentions’ Harris is expected to play at East Carolina after missing the Gamecocks’ 46-0 season-opening win over Eastern Illinois. Starting QB Luke Doty is expected to be a game-time decision. Zeb Noland, who was a grad assistant for South Carolina in early August, put on the pads a few weeks back and got the start vs. Western Illinois. Noland threw four TD passes without an interception. I like the Gamecocks -2 at ECU.
–After unexpectedly missing last week’s opener, Oklahoma St. QB Spencer Sanders (14/8 TD-INT in 2020) has cleared all COVID protocols and is expected to start vs. Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane nearly pulled an upset in Stillwater last year, losing a 16-7 decision in what was a misleading final score. They easily cashed tickets as 23.5-point road underdogs. As of Friday morning, the Cowboys were 12.5-point home ‘chalk.’
—In the latest video on our YouTube channel, I broke down the Week 2 card and offered some picks I’m bullish on.
–Air Force is a six-point favorite at Navy with a total of 40.5.
—My Power Rankings going into Week 2.
–According to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ga. Tech is expected to give QB Jordan Yates his first career start vs. Kennesaw St. Yates replaced Jeff Sims in last week’s home loss to No. Illinois after Sims went down with a shoulder injury. Reports out of Atlanta earlier this week indicated that Sims would be ready to play, but the AJC’s report indicates that Geoff Collins has now decided to go with Yates.
–UMass starting QB Tyler Lytle is ‘out’ vs. Boston College. Brady Olson is expected to get the starting nod for the Minutemen, who are 37-point home underdogs vs. BC.
–My Man Tennessee Lee crushed it last week. Give him a follow on Twitter for sharp picks and analysis, and check us out with Tony Basilio on his Winners & Lou-zers pod on Thursday nights.
–Here are T-Lee’s plays today: