Aside from a surprising offensive explosion from Michigan State and Northwestern, Week 1 was a pretty good week for our under-the-radar plays. Marshall dominated Navy and Nevada won straight up against Cal.
For this week’s plays, I’m taking a look at an intriguing Power 5 crossover game, an old friend from Week 0, and an embarrassing program that continues to reach new lows.
- Week 1 record: 2-1
- 2021 season record: 3-2
Bet $10, Win $150 on Any Event Regardless of Outcome >>
North Carolina State -2.5 at Mississippi State
Week 1 went really poorly for the ACC, as Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Duke all took ugly losses. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack made the conference look good by drubbing South Florida 45-0 on Thursday night.
I expect NC State to accomplish what Clemson, Miami, and Louisville couldn’t by taking care of business against an SEC foe. Last week, the Wolfpack racked up 525 yards of offense while holding the Bulls to 271 total yards. Meanwhile, Mississippi State needed a furious rally to fend off Louisiana Tech by a point in Starkville.
It’s never easy to prepare for Mike Leach’s air raid offense, but North Carolina State’s 3-3-5 scheme is built to contain spread offenses. Plus, the Wolfpack boast an experienced defense with 10 returning starters and four upperclassmen in the secondary.
Offensively, the Wolfpack should be able to move the ball at will against a Bulldogs defense that just surrendered 269 passing yards to Louisiana Tech last week. Mississippi State’s defense also gave up a pair of explosive, long touchdowns in the opener. And to top it off, they recorded just one sack and three quarterback hurries, which means that Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary should have all day to throw.
Beating an SEC team on the road definitely isn’t easy, but this Wolfpack team should be up for the task.
Pick: North Carolina State -2.5 (Buy up to -3)
UTEP +26 at Boise State
We’re going back to an old friend from our Week 0 article. The Miners are already 2-0, but they will head into Boise as heavy underdogs.
Now, UTEP doesn’t have the greatest resume. Their wins came against lowly New Mexico State and FCS foe Bethune-Cookman. However, this game has lookahead written all over it for the Broncos, who host Oklahoma State in Week 3.
I also came away rather unimpressed by the Mountain West Conference favorites in their season-opening loss to Central Florida. Boise State got out-gained 573 yards to 283 and recorded only 20 rushing yards on 26 attempts. They also surrendered 255 yards on the ground to Gus Malzahn’s Knights.
Unfortunately, UTEP won’t have their lead running back, Deion Hankins, who will miss the game with a shoulder injury. But backup Ronald Awatt has done a fine job replacing Hankins and has 200 yards and two touchdowns through the first two games.
The Broncos are a clear step up for the Miners, and I’m not calling for an upset alert. But UTEP should succeed enough on the ground to keep this within the number against a Boise State team that’s licking its wounds and could be looking ahead to next week.
Pick: UTEP -26 (Buy up to -24)
Purdue -33.5 at UConn
All aboard the fade UConn train! After having their entire 2020 season canceled, the Huskies might be hoping the rest of their 2021 campaign could be canceled, too.
After losing 45-0 to Fresno State in Week 0, UConn suffered a 38-28 home loss to Holy Cross. Their incredible start to the season prompted coach Randy Edsall to announce that he plans to retire after the season — only to retire a day later.
Huskies looked awful against the Crusaders. Holy Cross out-gained them by over 100 yards, had one more first down, and took the ball away four times. It’s hard to keep reaching new lows, but UConn continually lowers the bar for its program.
On the flip side, Purdue is coming off a solid 30-21 victory at home over Oregon State. Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer racked up 313 yards through the air, 134 of which went to stud receiver David Bell. The Boilermakers struggled mightily on the ground, accruing 88 rushing yards on 33 attempts, but they should have no troubles against the Huskies. They gave up 226 rushing yards to Holy Cross last week.
There is the possibility for a backdoor cover, as Purdue does travel to Notre Dame in Week 3. But I’m not sure if UConn could even stop Purdue’s backups at this point. I’ll lay the heavy lumber as long as it’s below five touchdowns.
Pick: Purdue -33.5 (Buy up to 34.5)
Get a sign-up bonus up to $1,000 at DraftKings Sportsbook >>
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts
Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategies — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.
Matt Barbato is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.