Things in the college football world will begin to pick up a bit this week.
After a limited Week 1 without many notable games, ACC and Big 12 teams will begin their seasons this coming weekend. While the Big 12 games are all non-conference affairs, we’ve got four ACC conference games on the menu for Saturday. That includes No. 1 Clemson’s opener against Wake Forest and No. 10 Notre Dame’s debut as a temporary member of the ACC.
From a betting perspective, you’ve got a lot more options on the board than the five FBS selections present on BetMGM at this point last week. Below are a few that have caught my eye before I log my official Week 2 picks on Thursday in Yahoo Sports’ weekly What to Watch segment.
(Note: All times ET, games on Saturday unless otherwise noted, odds from BetMGM)
UAB at Miami
Time: 8 p.m. (Thursday) | TV: ACCN | Line: Miami -14 | Total: 52
I think Miami is going to be a significantly improved team this season now that it has a veteran in D’Eriq King at quarterback. But the Hurricanes are working in a new offense under coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Doing so in an abbreviated offseason makes me believe the Miami offense — which struggled mightily in 2019 — won’t light the world on fire in its first game.
Couple that with the fact that UAB already has a game under its belt and I think the Blazers should be able to cover the two-TD spread. UAB only beat Central Arkansas, an FCS team, 45-35 in its opener, but that score was deceiving. UCA had two scoring drives of 15 yards and another that was just four yards. UCA then scored twice in the final six minutes with the game out of reach.
Pick: UAB +14
UL Monroe at Army
Time: 1:30 p.m. | TV: CBSSN | Line: Army -17.5 | Total: 55.5
This is going to sound a lot like my thought process with Army last week before it destroyed Middle Tennessee, 42-0. I didn’t think MTSU, which had the No. 101 rush defense in the country last year, would fare well against Army’s option offense — especially when the game was added to the schedule only three weeks prior. UL Monroe will be in for a similar amount of trouble.
ULM was even worse defending the run in 2019 — No. 128 out of 130 FBS teams. This game was added to the schedule on Aug. 24 and, to make matters worse, ULM’s defensive coordinator abruptly resigned last week. ULM’s defense is in for a rough afternoon. I’m tempted to take Army covering the 17.5, but I think the under is a safer play. UL Monroe had a pretty good offense last year, but Army always shortens the game with long drives.
Pick: Under 55.5
Georgia Tech at Florida State
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: Florida State -12.5 | Total: 54.5
Florida State hired a coach, Mike Norvell, who is known for producing high-powered offenses. But the 2020 Seminoles will be far stronger on the defensive side of the ball, especially at the start of the season. FSU returns 10 starters on defense, including a potential first round pick in defensive tackle Marvin Wilson. Georgia Tech, in Year 2 of its transition out of the triple option, has some intriguing young players but quarterback is a big question mark. FSU should win this game pretty handily, but I don’t think we’ll see very many points.
Pick: Under 54.5
Tulane at South Alabama
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: Tulane -8 | Total: 52.5
I don’t want to react too strongly to one game, but South Alabama’s Week 1 win over Southern Miss was pretty impressive. The Jaguars were two-TD underdogs and ended up winning 32-21 on the road. South Alabama is an underdog again this week, this time at home against Tulane.
I think Tulane is a more-talented team, but if you can get USA as an underdog of more than a touchdown, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it. South Alabama has covered the spread in seven of its last nine games, were 4-1 as home underdogs in 2019 and 7-4 overall against the spread as an underdog last year. Oh, and Saturday’s game is South Alabama’s first game at its brand new stadium if you’re looking for some additional positive mojo.
Pick: South Alabama +8
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