Betting News & Analysis

College Football Week 2 Best Bets

Donovan Edwards runs the ball during the Michigan spring game April 2, 2022 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Mich Spring

• Biggest spread of season, Hawaii +52 at Michigan, is also the top value so far on PFF Greenline.

• Pittsburgh (+180) is the better team, playing at home vs. Tennessee. That’s a moneyline worth betting.

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Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Our picks so far are 4-4 on the season for +4 units, thanks to hitting both moneylines we’ve recommended so far: Northwestern (+375) over Nebraska and Old Dominion (+240) over Virginia Tech.

Using PFF’s Greenline tool (available for a one-week free trial), here are the best bets to make for Week 2.


Best Spread Pick: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (+52) @ #4 Michigan Wolverines

The biggest spread of the 2022 season is also the most value PFF Greenline has seen thus far this season.

Implied Value

Hawaii (+51.5) Michigan (-51.5)
Cover Probability 59.8% 40.2%
Break-even 52.4% 52.4%
Value 7.4% -12.2%

On the surface, it seems like Michigan should cover this spread easily. Hawaii’s two losses came by a combined 85 points, including a 53-point loss  at home to Vanderbilt. If a below-average team like the Commodores can cover a 51.5-point spread on the road against the Rainbow Warriors, why shouldn’t the fourth-ranked Wolverines do so at home?

The short answer: Michigan loves to run the football. The Wolverines ran the ball on 58% of their plays against Colorado State last week. Last season, that number was at 59%, a top-25 mark in the country. New starting QB J.J. McCarthy is also more of a dual-threat than senior Cade McNamara. Despite playing more than 600 additional snaps than McCarthy, McNamara only has 11 more rushing attempts the past two seasons. Michigan will likely establish the ground game early and often, making their drives longer and the Wolverines less likely to build a massive lead quickly.

Jim Harbaugh has also proven to be a merciful head coach. He has just two wins by 50 or more points since 2017. Once this game gets out of hand, he’ll likely play his backups the rest of the way, rather than try to make a statement against an inferior non-conference opponent.

If Hawaii scores even a single touchdown, Michigan could struggle to cover its largest spread in school history. Hold your nose and take the Rainbow Warriors.

Best Bet: Hawaii +51.5

Best Moneyline Pick: #24 Tennessee Volunteers @ #17 Pittsburgh Panthers (+180)

After the euphoria of beating rival West Virginia, 38-31, in a Backyard Brawl for the ages, Pittsburgh must refocus on slowing down No. 24 Tennessee’s high-profile offense. Last week, the Volunteers put up 569 yards in a 59-10 victory over Ball State.

If there’s a weakness in Tennessee’s offense, it’s the offensive line. Last season, the unit was the sixth-lowest in PFF pass-blocking grades and among the 15-lowest overall among Power Five schools. Meanwhile, the Panthers sport one of PFF’s top-10 defensive lines in the country. Since 2020, Calijah Kancey owns the best overall grade, second-best pass-rush grade and fourth-best run defense grade among all Power Five interior defensive linemen. Alongside him are a trio of very capable edge defenders. Habakkuk Baldonado and Deslin Alexandre were two of the 15 highest-graded edge defenders in the ACC last season. John Morgan III had six pressures last week, tied for fifth among Power Five edge defenders.

Tennessee’s defense also ranks only 81st in PFF’s power rankings, while Pittsburgh’s offense ranks 34th. Panthers quarterback Kedon Slovis should have an efficient night against a vulnerable Volunteers defense.

Pittsburgh is the underdog — even though it’s the better team and playing at home. That’s a moneyline worth betting on.

Best Bet: Pittsburgh ML  (+180)

Best Total Pick: #23 Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Vanderbilt Commodores UNDER 65.5

Wake Forest received massive news this week when it was announced that Sam Hartman was medically cleared after missing the last month with Paget-Schroetter syndrome. Before his diagnosis, he was ranked as the fifth-best quarterback in the country in our preseason rankings. He’ll lead a dynamic passing attack that shouldn’t have any issues scoring on Vanderbilt, the 111th-ranked defense in PFF’s power rankings.

What makes the under the smart bet in this game is the other side of the ball. The Commodores have averaged nearly 53 points per game in their two wins, but that was against PFF’s third-worst FBS defense in Hawaii and Elon, an FCS school. Last season, the Commodores offense received our second-lowest grade in the Power Five and averaged 15.8 points per game, fewest in the Power Five.

Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons have the No. 5 defense in the country in PFF’s power rankings. Wake Forest had a 90.9 team defense grade in its 44-10 victory over VMI, the highest Week 1 grade among all Power Five schools. The defense is led by Caelen Carson, whose 0.72 yards allowed per coverage snap last year was the second lowest among ACC cornerbacks.

Vanderbilt’s offense should look more like the 2021 version than the one it’s shown the first two weeks, making the under the smart bet.

Best Bet: Wake Forest at Vanderbilt UNDER 65.5

Bonus Pick: #24 South Carolina +8.5 @ Arkansas

PFF Greenline makes this line closer to seven — a very valuable number in terms of scoring and likely winning margins — and getting eight onside is worth a couple of percentage points as well.

Best Bet: south carolina +8.5 at arkansas

 

New users who bet $10 or more at BetMGM will receive a free year’s subscription to PFF+ — a $79.99 value.

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