Picks
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Making picks in sports is always tricky, but something about picking college football games always puts me in a good mood. Week 2 of college football kicked off last night, with the Miami Hurricanes defeating the UAB Blazers 31-14.

Unlike last weekend, there will be more Power-5 teams in action this Saturday. The matchups should undoubtedly be better, and some of the most talented teams and players in college football will be taking the field. As most expected, teams struggled out of the gates in last week’s contests. This trend should continue, as the limited preseason will have an effect on every team in action playing their first game.

The ACC, Big-12, and AAC teams all enter the weekend as heavy favorites. However, some games are more exciting and more appealing than others, which will entice some bets. With the spread, you must be careful. Some teams are a bit overrated right now, while others are a bit underrated. The first few weeks are the toughest to bet on, as we do not know how teams will play, especially coming out of the quarantine period. Here are three picks for this weekend and one game to avoid in Week 2 of college football.

Picks to Make

Clemson (-33.0) over Wake Forest

The list begins with the number one ranked team in college football, the Clemson Tigers. After reaching the national championship in both seasons with Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback, the expectations should be nothing less than a ring for Clemson. They open up their season against a depleted Wake Forest Team. Jamie Newman transferred, and top receiver Sage Surratt opted out of the 2020 season.

Last season, Clemson beat a better Wake Forest team 52-3. They still have Lawrence, Etienne, and Ngata on the offensive end as well as some dominant defensive players. These players include Tyler Davis, Xavier Thomas, and Derion Kendrick. Clemson’s advantage is almost unfair, so this is one of the most confident picks you will find. Expect a monster Week 2 for the Tigers and a win over the Demon Deacons by at least 35 points.

Louisville (-11.5) over Western Kentucky

If you read my Louisville post a month or two back, you know I’m very high on this team. They have dynamic offensive weapons in Micale Cunningham, Javian Hawkins, and Tutu Atwell. They also will have a better defense than the team has seen the past few seasons. Most people have UNC pegged as the breakout team in the ACC, but I’m sticking with the Cardinals.

In their first matchup of the 2020 season, they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The Hilltoppers have a dominant pass rusher in Deangelo Malone, but one man will not be able to stop the Cardinals. Expect the Louisville offense to explode in Week 2

and put up a big score. Hawkins should have no problem surpassing 100 yards on the ground, and Cunningham should have a big day with his arm and legs too. Louisville should cover the spread handily, so pick the Cardinals without worry here.

UTEP (+43.0) over Texas

Choosing UTEP has nothing to do with my belief in the Miners. I know they will not win this football game, nor will they come close. I would pick UTEP with this spread simply because I do not believe in the hype that the Longhorns are drawing this season. To me, they underperform almost every season. I am not as high on Sam Ehlinger as others, and I am skeptical about the rest of their weapons on offense. I do think they have talent on the defensive side, especially in Joseph Ossai and Caden Sterns, so UTEP should not score more than 14 points. Still, I would be surprised if Texas even surpassed 43 points in this Week 2 contest, so siding with UTEP seems to be the right move.

Game to Avoid

Iowa State (-11.5) vs. UL-Lafayette

I’m not saying I expect Iowa State to be upset in Week 2, but I’m also not saying that it won’t happen. This Louisiana Lafayette team is sneaky good. Quarterback Levi Lewis and running back Elijah Mitchell can play. Iowa State has a great offense with Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, and Charlie Kolar leading the charge, but this will not be an easy win. Lewis, Mitchell, and the rest of the Ragin Cajuns will make this game enjoyable. I have a tough time believing that the Cyclones win this contest by double digits. Until we get a better understanding of where the Cyclones’ defense is, it is best to avoid picking them, especially when they are double-digit favorites against one of the best G5 teams in the country.

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