Lines for Week 2 of the college football season have been posted, and it’s never too early to get an idea of where you’ll want to put your money ahead of time. The second full week of the season doesn’t offer nearly as many high-profile matchups as Week 1 — top College Football Playoff contenders like Alabama, Oklahoma and Clemson all face FCS opponents — but there are some big-time matchups between Power Five teams.
Perhaps none of those is more prominent than a showdown between two potential conference champions, as Oregon heads East to take on Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. There’s also one of the most heated rivalries in all the country taking place on Saturday when Iowa make a short trip across the state to face Iowa State.
Let’s look at the biggest games and their spreads and try to figure out what it all means. Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
Oregon at Ohio State (-14): It’s not a huge surprise to see the fourth-ranked Buckeyes as two-touchdown favorites in this matchup. Yes, they struggled against Minnesota in their opener, but they’ve built up a lot more credit with bettors in recent years. Eleventh-ranked Oregon looked just as shaky at times in a win over Fresno State, and there’s the added factor of star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux’s status for next week being up in the air.
Iowa at Iowa State (-3.5): I’m not here to tell you what to bet, but you could do a lot worse than blindly taking the underdog every time these two meet. Seriously, the underdog has covered in 10 of the last 15 meetings, and six of the last nine meetings have been decided by six points or fewer. The seventh-ranked Cyclones enter the season with a ton of hype, while the 18th-ranked Hawkeyes picked up one of Week 1’s best wins over Indiana.
Texas A&M (-16) at Colorado: The sixth-ranked Aggies messed around with Kent State a bit before finally putting their foot on the gas and establishing control. They’ll be hitting the road this week for a date between programs that left the Big 12 for greener pastures. This is a game Texas A&M should win if it’s serious about competing for an SEC title, but stranger things have happened to ranked teams in Boulder, Colorado.
Appalachian State at Miami (-7.5): Fourteenth-ranked Miami was blasted by top-ranked Alabama in its opener, but that’s the same fate roughly 120 other teams would have suffered had they faced Bama. The good news for the Hurricanes is they don’t have to play the Crimson Tide again this week. The bad news is they’re getting an Appalachian State that’s proven to be one of the top Group of Five programs in the country ever since making the jump up from the FCS level. The Mountaineers are not a team to be looked past, as the spread here suggests.
Stanford at USC (-16.5): Fifteenth-ranked USC was never in trouble against San Jose State, but never looked all that impressive, either. You almost wonder if the Trojans were working with a limited game plan because they didn’t want to put too much on tape ahead of this Stanford game, but it might not matter after seeing Stanford’s tape from its Kansas State loss.
Washington at Michigan (-4.5): Michigan was the underdog when sportsbooks originally opened this line in the offseason. This spread is a reminder of how quickly things can change, particularly when the original favorite Washington, ranked 20th nationally, opens its season with a home loss to Montana. The Wolverines looked excellent in a win over Western Michigan, but even coming off an upset loss, this is a Huskies team that should provide a much stiffer test.
Texas (-6) at Arkansas: Everybody in Austin, Texas, feels good about themselves following a season-opening win against a 23rd-ranked Louisiana team, but I’m sure there’s still a sense of anxiety. After all, 21st-ranked Texas opening the season with a win only to lose as a favorite the next week would feel on-brand for the program over the last decade. Arkansas struggled with Rice before figuring it out and pulling away late. It should provide Texas with a tough test in a challenging environment for road teams.
Utah (-5.5) at BYU: Listen, they don’t call this rivalry the Holy War because the teams like one another. BYU already picked up a win against a Pac-12 opponent in Arizona, and now the (reportedly) soon-to-be Big 12 program will try to pick up another win against The Alliance. It will not come easy, as 24th-ranked Utah has proven to be one of the most reliable Pac-12 programs out there ever since joining from the Mountain West.
Best of the rest
Kansas at Coastal Carolina (-26) — Friday
UAB at Georgia (-27.5)
Toledo at Notre Dame (-19.5)
Georgia State at North Carolina (-24.5)
Eastern Michigan at Wisconsin (-24.5)
Florida (-29) at South Florida
Ball State at Penn State (-22)
UNLV at Arizona State (-34)