Wake Forest -7 @ Vanderbilt
This game opened at -6 but shot up to 7 right out of the gate. The books overestimated Vanderbilt's appeal, as they stand at 2-0 in name only thanks to an absolute gift of a schedule. The Commodores are coming off a 63-10 blowout of a rudderless Hawaii team that attempts to rise from the ashes of the ill-fated Todd Graham era. That win loses what little luster it may have had last week after Western Kentucky mopped the floor with the Rainbow Warriors 49-17. Further complicating matters is Vanderbilt's rather uninspiring 42-31 victory over FCS opponent Elon who went 6-5 last season and outgained the Commodores 495-to-424 total yards and held the ball for almost 10 minutes more than Vandy.
Sure, you can make the same argument about playing lesser competition with Wake Forest, as they smoked Virginia Military Institute 44-10 this weekend. However the Demon Deacons are starting at a much higher baseline than Vandy as they won 11 games last season while appearing in the ACC Championship game. For their part Vanderbilt won two games in year one of HC Clark Lea and are looking to improve on their brutal 15.8 points per game average last year. Wake Forest's fast-paced, pass-heavy approach attacks Vanderbilt's biggest weakness, as their sieve-like secondary allowed a 66% completion rate last season while Elon lit them up for 343 passing yards this week. I think Vanderbilt comes back to earth and Wake eviscerates them this week. I think the number keeps moving.
Kansas +13.5 over @West Virginia (opened WVU -11.5)
This line opened at 11.5 before spiking to 14.5 and then getting bet down to the current 13.5 points. WVU was in a brawl with Pitt last Thursday where a costly J.T. Daniels interception bounced off of a wide-open Bryce Ford-Wheaton's hands and was subsequently returned for a 56-yard touchdown late in the fourth which sunk their chances at victory. Their defense lost containment in big spots against Pitt RB Rodney Hampton and WR Jared Wayne, while a blocked punt deep in Pitt territory gave the offense a boost leading directly to a touchdown. With their defense returning just 43% of their production, making them the 8th least experienced defensive unit in the country, such breakdowns in coverage are going to happen in the early going.
On Kansas' side, highly regarded second year HC Lance Leipold has had a year to remold the roster with players that fit his system. The benefit of the wholesale changeover is that KU enters 2022 as one of the most experienced teams in the nation, ranking 6th overall and retaining 81.5% of their production from the previous campaign. Though they faced FCS team Tennessee Tech in Week 1, the Jayhawks managed to accrue 502 total yards and 56 points while allowing just 190 total yards. While West Virginia certainly deserves to be favored, I think the line should be closer to 9.5, making Kansas an interesting value proposition this week.
@Colorado State 7.5 over Middle Tennessee State (opened at CSU -9)
Colorado State HC Jay Norvell led the Nevada Wolfpack to four consecutive bowl-eligible seasons while going 15-7 over the last two years. His arrival is perhaps the most clear case of addition-by-subtraction in the coaching ranks this offseason, replacing the much maligned Steve Addazio. HC Norvell brings over his hand-picked starting QB from Nevada in Clay Millen, along with potent starting wideouts Melquan Stovall and Tory Horton. I feel like this line is a bit depressed due to CSU having the poor fortune of facing Michigan in week 1 who promptly ran them out of the big house to the tune of 51-7.
Fortunately Colorado State doesn't have to face another top-10 team this week, quite the contrary as Middle Tennessee got annihilated by FBS newcomer James Madison who promptly hung 44 points on the Blue Raiders while MTSU managed to gain just 119 total yards, 10 first downs and a shocking 12 rushing yards on 28 carries. Defensively they allowed 548 total yards, 8.7 yards per pass and 261 rushing yards to a team that was literally playing their first game as an FBS institution. With the line toggling between 7.5 and 8.5 depending on the book, i'd jump on this 7.5 line before it rises later in the week.
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Iowa State +3.5 over @Iowa (opened at Iowa -5.5)
Iowa's offensive performance in Week 1 was positively disturbing, with the Hawkeyes scoring just seven points off of a field goal and two safeties against FCS opponent, South Dakota State. QB Spencer Petras was once again frighteningly inaccurate, completing 11-of-25 passes for 109 yards and an interception for a dirt-low QBR of “1.1”. The receiving corps desperately misses Tyrone Tracy and Charlie Jones who are now making plays for Big Ten rival Purdue, while the offensive line paved the way for a troubling 57 yards on 36 carries. Clearly HC Kirk Ferentz has yet to solve the offensive issues that led to Michigan dominating the Hawkeyes 42-3 in the Big Ten Championship game last season, and you could make a strong argument they actually got worse.
Iowa's deficiencies play to the Cyclones advantages, as ISU induced 3-and-outs 37% of the time while ranking top-40 in explosive play rate (11%), ISO/PPP and marginal efficiency. They were able to consistently penetrate in passing situations and harass quarterbacks with just four rushers, posting a 9% sack rate (15th) despite blitzing just 19% of the time (109th in FBS). I think you also see a more aggressive downfield passing game out of HC Matt Campbell, as their offense was built around RB Breece Hall the last two years. QB Hunter Dekkers served as the apprentice for Brock Purdy and has legitimate All-Big 12 ability under center, completing 25-of-31 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns, with three of them going to star wideout Xavier Hutchinson, in a 42-10 drubbing of FCS Southeast Missouri State in their opener. I think this game is close and should be closer to a pick em. Accordingly, give me the field goal with the .5 hook in this heated in-state rivalry game.
Other games i'm interested in seeing how the lines move this week:
Boston College +3 over @Virginia Tech (wrong side favored)
Northwestern -10.5 over Duke (up from 7.5 at open)
Tennessee -7 over Pitt (up from -3 at open)