College Football Week 2 System Picks
Early season college football games are for getting the kinks worked out and correcting some miscues before the start of the conference season. Teams that make some mistakes are likely to spend a little bit more time on them in practice the following week.
From a coaching perspective, there is nothing worse than turnovers. Penalties rank up there as well, but turnovers lead directly to the opposition scoring and are by far the worse of the two.
From a bettor’s perspective, turnovers can occasionally be a good thing, at least as far as the upcoming week is concerned. The majority of bettors don’t take the time to look how a game was played and instead just look at the final score. That can lead to decent wagering opportunities if a team has an exceptionally poor effort the week before.
By requiring the team to be a 9.5-point underdog, or less, you are at least narrowing down the field to teams that do have a realistic chance of winning the game outright, and by requiring them to have had a negative turnover differential the previous week you are also likely to be getting the best of the number.
There are two teams that fall into this situation this week, the first being Kent State +7.5 at home against Bowling Green. Kent State was anything but impressive opening week, having to rally with 10 fourth-quarter points to dispose of Liberty 17-10. But on closer inspection, you’d see that the Golden Flashes put the ball on the ground three times—losing one—while Liberty didn’t cough the ball up a single time. Kent State was also penalized nine times for 79 yards, while Liberty was flagged just four times for 30 yards.
Kent State outgained Liberty 361-222 and had 20 first downs compared to Liberty’s 11, while controlling the ball 37:20.
Those backing Kent State can also take some comfort in knowing that conference underdogs in MAC games are 42-30 (58.3%) in the month of September the past 10 seasons.
The other team that falls into this category is Temple, which is a 3-point home underdog to Houston on Saturday. The Owls dropped a 28-6 decision to Notre Dame to open the season in a game in which they had more first downs than the Irish, but did give up several big pass plays, including a 66-yarder and a 51-yard completion.
Houston was on the winning side of a 62-13 waxing of Southern, finishing with a +4 turnover differential in the game. Interestingly, September road favorites off a turnover differential of four are an impressive 18-6 against the number, giving definite conflicting trends, so it may be wise to sit this one out.