Stanford Steve & The Bear: Week 2 College Football Picks & Betting Nuggets



Mar 6, 2018

Stanford Steve and The Bear: College football picks and betting nuggets for Week 2​


"Stanford Steve" Coughlin and Chris "The Bear" Fallica cover the college football season as only they can, offering their top picks, betting nuggets and totals worth wagering on.

The Bear (Last Week: 2-1, Season: 2-2)
Stanford Steve (Last Week: 3-2, Season: 3-2)

Note: All lines are from Caesars Sportsbook.

The Plays​


Washington Huskies at Michigan Wolverines (-7, 48.5)

This line move is a big overreaction in my mind. Yes, Washington suffered a brutal loss to Montana last week, but self-inflicted damage did the Huskies in (3 INT). Michigan put up good offensive numbers and ran the ball at will vs. a MAC defense, but Cade McNamara will likely have to do more through the air this week -- and do it without the services of his best WR, Ronnie Bell. This is a Michigan team which is 2-6 in its last eight games vs. Power 5 opposition, and while I am not as high as others on Washington this season, I think the move from 1 or 1.5 on the lookahead line to 7 is too much.

Pick: Washington +7


No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 9 Iowa State Cyclones (-4, 46)

I expect this to come down below four after Iowa's defensive performance in the opener vs. Indiana, where the Hawkeyes returned two Michael Penix passes for touchdowns. But offensively, they will need better QB play from Spencer Petras, who hit on 13-of-27 for just 145 yards. Iowa State predictably struggled through its opener with Northern Iowa, as there has been so much hype surrounding this game. But it got through it, unlike last year when the Cyclones lost to Louisiana in the opener. Expect Iowa State's defense -- which has allowed a total of 16 second-half points in the past six games -- to make life difficult for the Iowa offense and break the losing streak here.

Pick: Iowa State -4

Stanford Steve: When will it end? Iowa has won five in a row in this rivalry and has turned the ball over once in those wins. A lot of people will look at the scores of these two teams last week and ask why Iowa State is giving points after a close win over FCS school, Northern Iowa, and I understand how they can do so. But, it seems to happen all the time with the Cyclones in Week 1, no matter who the opponent is. In this matchup, both teams are similar: They don't play hurry-up, they play good defense and they are very well-coached. I just think this is the year the Clones get it done and stop the streak, with the stars they have returning in RB Breece Hall and TE Charlie Kolar, to name a few. I expect the Iowa State offensive line to be better than it was last week in the run game and keep QB Brock Purdy upright. I'm pumped for this game, and I'll take the Cyclones to win and cover.

Pick: Iowa State -4 (Iowa State 27, Iowa 19)


Toledo Rockets at No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-17, 55.5)

Stanford Steve:
I talked a lot about the Rockets in the preseason, as they were my pick to win the MAC. That's mainly because I feel great about the talent they return and their coaching staff. Everyone saw the Irish's new offense last week in the OT win in Tallahassee led by transfer QB Jack Coan, who threw for four TDs.

There was a lot of talk about Notre Dame's inability to run the ball, and I think that had to do with some injuries it suffered on the offensive line. So, the expectation here is Notre Dame still has plenty of talent to fill in those holes, and on the other side I think Toledo can cause the ND defense some problems. I do think the Rockets will keep it close, and we'll take the over.

Pick: Toledo +17; over 55.5 (Notre Dame 35, Toledo 23)


Pittsburgh Panthers (-3, 57) at Tennessee Volunteers

Stanford Steve:
This will be a great, great uniform game, as long as Pitt wears the gold helmets, white jerseys and gold pants. The Vols got a win in the first start for Joe Milton in Knoxville, but I wanted to see more; there was not enough consistency in the passing game for me to like this matchup. Knowing how much Pat Narduzzi likes to make opponents one-dimensional, I think the Panthers' defense handles the Vols' offense and Pitt QB Kenny Pickett (272 yards and 2 TDs last week) has his way with Josh Heupel's team. I like the Panthers to win and cover on the road.

Pick: Pitt -3 (Pitt 27, Tennessee 17)


California Golden Bears at TCU Horned Frogs (-11, 48)

The Bears jumped out to a 14-0 lead last week vs. Nevada and then stopped scoring as a result of red zone struggles. Cal did a nice job slowing down the Wolf Pack running game and will be tested here vs. a dual-threat QB in Max Duggan. But like so many games this week, I think there's been a bit of an overreaction in perception of teams from their Week 1 performance and, as a result, the spread. Chase Garbers should have a better game at QB, and Justin Wilcox is back in his beloved underdog role, where he's 19-8 ATS with 12 outright wins as a head coach.

Pick: Cal +11


Illinois Fighting Illini at Virginia Cavaliers (-10, 55)

Stanford Steve:
Plenty was made about the Illini's win vs. Nebraska, and then last week, the Roadrunners from UT-San Antonio traveled up to Champaign and upset Bret Bielema's team, 37-30. So where do we stand when it comes to Illinois? I am not at all surprised by last week's result, because I think UTSA is a darn good football team and I picked it to win its conference before the 4eason started.

What's impressed me about the Illini is that they've had zero turnovers in their first two games. That shows me that Bielema has stressed how important those facets of the game are. They do get QB Brandon Peters back this week, and I am confident that the Illini will keep it close enough in Charlottesville against a team that did whatever it wanted last week in a blowout win over William & Mary.

Pick: Illinois +10 (Virginia 26, Illinois 20)

The Bear's money-line parlay​

$100 returns $124

Last Week: -100
Season: -100

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Texas A&M Aggies
Penn State Nittany Lions
Miami Hurricanes
SMU Mustangs
USC Trojans

The Bear's underdogs to play on the money line​

Last Week: 4-2, +8.65 units
Season: 4-2, +8.65 units

Akron Zips +220
California Golden Bears +340
Mississippi State Bulldogs +120
Washington Huskies +220

Bear Bytes​

No. 12 Oregon Ducks at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes

This is just the third time Ohio State is less than a 20-point home favorite under Ryan Day. The Buckeyes won the the other two games 38-7 vs. Wisconsin and 42-0 vs. Cincinnati.

This is the first time Oregon has been a double-digit underdog since 2017, when the Ducks lost 38-3 to Washington as a 17-point 'dog. Under Mario Cristobal, Oregon has never been greater than a 6.5-point 'dog, which was when it beat Utah for the Pac-12 title. Oregon has won five of the 10 games it has been a 'dog under Cristobal.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Syracuse Orange

This is the first time the Scarlet Knights are a road favorite since 2015 at Army. It's the first time since 2009, when they were favored by three at Louisville, that they were a road favorite over a team that is a current Power 5 member.

Air Force Falcons at Navy Midshipmen

Underdogs are 12-2 ATS with eight outright wins in the last 14 CIC games.

Stanford Cardinal at No. 14 USC Trojans

Under Clay Helton, USC is 25-0 outright as a double-digit favorite. Seven of those wins have come by five points or fewer, and after last week's cover vs San Jose State, the Trojans are 11-13-1 ATS in those games.

Since 2019, Stanford is 6-13 ATS and has been an underdog in more than half of those games. This will be the 11th time in the last 20 games the Cardinal are a 'dog (3-7 ATS in last 10).

Buffalo Bulls at Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska has lost five of the last seven games vs. FBS teams in which it has been a favorite. The Huskers are just 2-7 ATS in the last nine games as a double-digit favorite vs. FBS teams.

No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 9 Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State is just 5-10 ATS in its last 15 home games as a favorite. It has lost two of them outright -- last year vs. Louisiana and in 2019 vs. Oklahoma State.

This is the first time since 2000 that Iowa State is favored over Iowa. The Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes 24-14 at Kinnick Stadium that year.

In its last nine games as a road underdog, Iowa has pulled just one upset -- last year at Penn State when the Hawkeyes won 41-21 as a one-point 'dog. Iowa is 2-7 ATS in those nine games.

Washington Huskies at Michigan Wolverines

Michigan has lost its last four home games vs. Power 5 opponents, including last year as a 21.5-point favorite vs Michigan State.

California Golden Bears at TCU Horned Frogs

Justin Wilcox is 19-8 ATS with 12 outright wins as a 'dog. Seven of those outright wins have been as a 'dog of at least seven points. Since 2019, those numbers are even better -- 8-2 ATS, six outright wins.

Temple Owls at Akron Zips

The Owls are a seven-point road favorite at Akron. Temple has lost six straight road games, with the last four coming by 47, 25, 35 and 12 points.

No. 15 Texas Longhorns at Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog. The Razorbacks won three games outright as a 'dog last year.

Missouri Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats

The underdog has covered the last five in the series, winning four outright.

Vanderbilt Commodores at Colorado State Rams

How bad is Vandy? The Commodores are a 7-point 'dog to a team that just lost 42-23 on its home field to South Dakota State.