Dangerous Dogs for Your Week 2 College Football Picks

Kevin Stott

Friday, September 5, 2014 4:33 PM GMT

The 2nd week of College Football has a couple of betting underdogs worthy of your attention. We hightlight a few teams that online sportsbooks are calling the dogs, that could come out on top.

With a menu of games deeper than your local Chinese food place, every week’s board of NCAA College Football action always offers a number of potential ways to make money, but sometimes both casual and professional bettors get lost in the sheer number of games there are scheduled. With so many games traditionally on Saturdays, and the slate always so thick, it’s best to either isolate on a couple of games or an angle or board-scouring routine that is familiar to you.

One such angle I’ve found to be somewhat successful through the years is to isolate ahead of time on some potential upsets on the schedule, and then either combine a select three teams in a small moneyline parlay for a nominal amount or make a straight bet (getting the points) with one that might really stand out. A situation like that would also warrant a moneyline bet on that underdog to win for around twice to three times the usual amount of parlay. Whether or not a specific underdog rises to this level of being worth a straight bet always varies from week to week—and is determined in the mind of the individual bettor—but when there is a clear-cut underdog which seems like it can win, it’s probably best to keep it separate from the parlay. And with so many games, there usually is one or two you can find if you do your homework. 

 

#18 Ole Miss May Be a Little Bit Overrated This Season
Mississippi (+20, Pinnacle) vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT (ESPN): Unless we’re talking about the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC is always a fun place to be and this matchup at Nashville’s LP Field—home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans—between 18th-ranked (AP) Mississippi and Vanderbilt will be no exception...well, at least if you’re a sports gambler or attending the game when looking at the massive 20-point spread for the game put out by offshore and Las Vegas oddsmakers.

In their opener, the Rebels defeated Boise State, 35-14 but the Broncos aren’t the Boise St. of old and Ole Miss only led 7-6 entering the 4th quarter. Mississippi exploded for 28 points in that final quarter as QB Bo Wallace (25-36, 387 yards, 4 TDs) threw for three touchdowns to seal the win for the Rebels, who were 11-point favorites in the game held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. But despite the cover and the final scoreline, Ole Miss showed some flaws and whether or not their presence in any Top 25 ranking is deserved still remains to be seen. Wallace did have three interceptions and Boise St. did have a 13-minute Time of Possession edge and had more first downs than Ole Miss (26-22). But for both fans and gamblers alike, the only score that matters is the final one with the big difference being that the sports gambler in football (and in basketball) always cares by exactly how much.

In this game last season at Mississippi (8-5 SU, 7-5 ATS), the Rebels (-3) won and barely covered, 39-35 in the season opener, but while this season’s meeting isn’t being held at Vanderbilt Stadium, it is being held in Nashville, so the home-field edge still exists for the Commodores.  Vanderbilt (9-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) might not be as good as previous versions, but first-year coach Steve Mason has RB Jerron Seymour (14 TDs) returning and 20 points is a lot of points no matter how you slice it brother. Last season, Hugh Freeze’s Mississippi came nowhere close to beating anyone in the SEC by 20—its biggest conference win was a 10-point triumph at home against Arkansas (34-24)—and upon closer scrutiny, you could say the SEC was hard on the Rebels (3-5), as it could again be this season despite the preseason accolades.

Underdog Vanderbilt is also an impressive 11-4 ATS against Ole Miss over the last 15 meetings, and the Commodores are 3-0 SU the following season after a loss to the Rebels, winning by an average of 30-18 and the last two times these teams played. And the last two meetings have both gone down to the last possession of the game and Vandy has won three of the last four meetings straight up so many numbers support the Commodores.

But with all of these nice trends and College Football odds and statistics and pretty words, the bad news for potential Vanderbilt backers is the absolute stinker it played in the home opener against Temple in Week 1 where it was blown out 37-7 thanks to 7 nasty TOs. That’s against Temple, at home in the opener, by 30 points and 7 turnovers—I’ll spell it out. So, buyer beware here. One key for Vanderbilt will be trying to keep Ole Miss WR Cody Core (4 receptions, 110 yards. 2 TDs) from having another monster game which will be quite the challenge with such a young and inexperience secondary. For me, the underdog seems appealing until thoughts of the humiliation to Temple and Core darting down the field rush through my head. This one seems like a stay away although I’d much rather have the 20 then lay it here in this SEC matchup in Nashville.

Free College Football Pick: Vanderbilt +20 (5Dimes)

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#17 Fighting Irish Will Have Their Hands Full with the Wolverines
Michigan (+5½, Mirage) at Notre Dame, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT (NBC): Now this a game you can both watch and enjoy and try to make some money on. The annual Notre Dame-Michigan showdown, this year from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Head coach Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish are an impressive 5-2 ATS in their last 7 against the Wolverines in South Bend, but Michigan is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings overall. Last season, the Wolverines won 41-30 in The Big House as 4½-point favorites and with Notre Dame’s Notre Dame's off-field issues and the team being constantly being a tad overrated by the media, this 5-point spread (most everywhere on Monday, 5½ still at the Mirage in Las Vegas) seems like it should be more like 3.

In their openers, Notre Dame boiled Rice (48-17) and Michigan did a number on Appalachian State (52-17) in basically tuneups for the real start of the season for both—this hoedown Saturday in the Hoosier State. Against Rice, the Fighting Irish played without five guys from their roster, including three starters as investigations into possible cheating continue. Notre Dame was just 1-2-1 as a Home Favorite last season—meaning quite simply that they rewarded their backers just one time in front of Touchdown Jesus. Food for thought if you’re planning on backing The Golden Domers and QB Everett Golson who threw for 295 yards and 2 TDs and rushed for 3 TDs against the Owls. Golson also had no interceptions against Rice so the Fighting Irish’s offense is alive and well with this talented junior running the show.

One great trend worth noting here is that the underdog is this series is a mind-boggling 23-7-1 ATS so with a team like Michigan which can definitely win the game, considering the Wolverines both plus the 5 points (Pinnacle, SIA, LVH SuperBook, Station Casinos) and on the moneyline (not out at press time) would be the approach. Michigan QB Devin Gardner (173 passing yards, 3 TDs), RBs Derrick Green (120 yards rushing/TD) and De’Veon Smith (115 rushing yards/2 TDs) and WR Devin Funchess (7 receptions, 95 yards/3 TDs) all had games that inspire confidence for both themselves and bettors against the Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor last Saturday.

But putting up those numbers against the Fighting Irish in South Bend won’t be as easy as it was against Appalachian State. And the Wolverines aren’t that great against ranked opponents of late (1-6 SU), but that one win was against #14 Notre Dame in last year’s meeting. So maybe Devin can stun the little leprechaun again this time and if the line is +5 or +5½ or better, that seems more than fair with a pretty good team like Brady Hoke’s which could also very well win the game also. Go Blue.

Free College Football Pick: Michigan +5½ (Mirage)

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Other Note-worthy Free NCAAF Picks: Troy State +19 (Pinnacle, Station Casinos) at Duke, BYU +3½ at Texas (SIA), Virginia Tech +11½ (Pinnacle, Mirage, Station Casinos) at #5 Ohio State.