By Todd Fuhrman
Week 2 in College Football (and NFL for that matter) can be a very tricky proposition for sports bettors. Remembering what you saw last is a tough thing to shake, so falling victim to recency bias is an all too often occurrence. There were many head-scratching performances last week that can lead bettors to not only ask questions, but to overreact. Michigan (barely) drops out of our Top 10, with Bet the Board’s underrated team from last week (Mississippi State) sneaking in. Wisconsin and Washington flip spots off the Huskies quality loss. 6 trips inside the 15 yard line, and Washington only put 16 on the board. Auburn was also the beneficiary of turnover luck.
Vegas Top 10 Week 2:
3.) Ohio State
9.) Michigan State
10.) Mississippi State
Overrated: West Virginia
Well, Mountaineers, we meet again. I’m sure fans of the blue and gold will be thrilled to see us place West Virginia back in the overrated section for the second straight week, but it’s for good reason. Last week we mentioned the lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball and wouldn’t you go figure, West Virginia starting linebacker Charlie Benton went down with an ACL tear, the THIRD linebacker this year to go down with a knee injury. There are talks switching up the defensive schemes one week into the season to cover up obvious deficiencies at the linebacker position. The offense struggled in the first half, but started cooking after a halftime lightning delay and finished averaging over 8.5 yards per play. That said, this defense that was already perilously thin; sustaining injuries early is exactly what the Mountaineers could not afford. Also let’s not kid ourselves; a drubbing of the Vols doesn’t make you a national title contender in 2018.
Michigan fell to Notre Dame last week, 24-17, and that’s not the only place they fell. The AP Top 25 knocked them down 7 notches, to the 21st spot. Lucky for us, we don’t evaluate teams purely on wins and losses. Michigan out-gained the Irish, but went 0-3 on 4th downs and was -1 in the turnover game. These factors are hard to overcome on the highway let alone against a Top 15 program and historical rival. If you’ve been doing your reading, everyone seems to be jumping ship except the Michigan AD, declaring Jim Harbaugh’s not on the hot seat. Look for Michigan to rally around this loss and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them crack the Top 10 later in the year with a schedule offering plenty of measuring sticks.
Best Bet: Duke +3
Duke travels to Ryan Field to take on Northwestern with both teams fresh off impressive debuts last Thursday. If you’re not familiar with the Blue Devils, they have an outstanding quarterback in Daniel Jones, who tore up the Wildcats secondary last year going 29 for 45 with for over 300 yards. He was efficient in their opener vs. Army, and I see him having success again this week. Northwestern enters off a big road victory at Purdue (they were steamed down from +3.5 to +1 at BetOnline.AG) but did so despite a second half showing that produced ZERO points. Purdue did have some success offensively and if there’s a coach out there capable of putting together an elite game plan suited for his team’s strength its David Cutcliffe. We were high on Duke coming into the year with an offense flying under the radar and until we see a healthy Clayton Thorson the idea of laying points with Northwestern is beyond scary.