After following the sharps in Week 1, our Week 2 NCAAF picks are going in the opposite direction – thanks to some very large line moves in early betting.
All right, we’ll call it a draw. Our Week 1 college football picks were a saw-off here at the home office; we lost with SMU –21.5 versus Texas State (SMU won 31-24), and we cashed in with Arkansas State +19.5 versus Memphis (ASU lost 37-24). But it was a moral victory overall, since we got a bargain price on both bets compared to the close – especially with the Mustangs, who were up to –24.5 by kick-off. Timing is everything.
Speaking of which, we’ve got two Week 2 games on the docket where the lines have gotten very steamy indeed since the open. Let’s see if we can get some betting value by taking the other side, even if it looks like we’ll be flying in the face of the sharps this time. We’re not saying the wiseguys were wrong; we’re responding to the line movement, which was massive for both these matchups.
Missouri State Bears vs. No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners
Saturday 12th September 2020 (7 p.m. ET) at Memorial Stadium
This is the first game of the season for both clubs, and it’s a classic cupcake match between the Sooners, representing the Big 12, and the Bears, representing the Mountain Valley Conference of the FCS. The opening line was of OU at –31 (–120) around lunchtime on Monday (please be advised that currently not many odds . It took about one minute for them to move the spread to 39 points, and then again to –40.5 shortly thereafter, with 100 percent backing on the early consensus reports.
It’s still a cupcake match despite the coronavirus, but there are so many extenuating circumstances here. The MVC postponed their conference games to the spring semester after the FCS couldn’t field half their eligible teams for a potential fall playoff; individual teams are being allowed to play their lucrative non-con games, so Missouri State – with Bobby Petrino taking over as head coach – will soldier on. The Sooners, meanwhile, are starting redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler at quarterback. They also had nine players test positive for COVID-19 in mid-August. We’ll fade that for a dollar.
NCAAF Pick: Missouri State Spread (odds tbd)
UL-Monroe Warhawks vs. Army Black Knights
Saturday 12th September 2020 (1:30 pm. ET, CBSSN) at Michie Stadium
This is the second game of the year for Army, who flattened Middle Tennessee 42-0 last Saturday as 3.5-point home faves. Impressive. The unaffiliated Knights opened early at –14.5 on Week 2 NCAAF odds board, and have steamed all the way to –19 at BetOnline as we go to press.
The Warhawks, representing the Sun Belt, have yet to play; they’ve had their own issues with coronavirus, and defensive co-ordinator Mike Collins resigned his post last week, so no wonder the first consensus reports have 96 percent of bettors on Army.
They may be right. However, Army isn’t free of concern. For one, they’re only allowing their own cadets to attend the game – they had about 4,300 at Michie Stadium (named, of course, to honor Toronto hip-hop pioneer Michie Mee) for the opener. Not much home-field advantage there.
And despite their big win over MTSU, Army’s triple-option offense does tend to chew up the clock, making it more difficult to cover bigger spreads; the Knights are 5-0 SU and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games when laying at least 19 points. Let’s see if that trend continues this Saturday, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.