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College football Week 2 odds, spreads, best bets and must-watch games

College football Week 2 odds, best bets and must-watch games originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Week 1 of the college football season did not disappoint.

There were many fantastic matchups on the schedule, and fans were treated to several thrilling finishes and highlight-reel plays. The Week 2 slate isn’t as exciting, but there are a few matchups absolutely worth watching, including three featuring two teams ranked in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

Here are our picks for the must-watch games on the Week 2 schedule (Season record: 3-1)

No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 pm ET on ESPN

Spread: Florida -4.5

Florida was the biggest winner of the Week 2 AP Top poll, jumping from unranked to No. 12 after a huge win over No. 7 Utah at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Kentucky is 2-18 in its last 20 games versus Florida and 1-2 in the last 13 road games against the Gators. Florida has won its last five games overall at The Swamp.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson played fantastic against the Utes in Week 1. He threw for 168 yards and racked up 106 more on the ground, including three rushing touchdowns. This crazy 2-point conversion was the most memorable play of the opening week:

Richardson and a Florida rushing attack that bullied Utah’s defense for 7.3 yards per rush will overpower a softer Kentucky defensive front and win this game by 10-plus points.

Pick: Florida -4.5

No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pittsburgh

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 pm ET on ABC

Spread: Tennessee -6.5

Pittsburgh has plenty of bulletin board material for this game, starting with the betting line. The Panthers being home underdogs by nearly a touchdown is a little wild. Pittsburgh went 6-2 at home last season and have won nine of their last 13 such games.

The Panthers also have some interesting betting trends in their favor entering Saturday. They are 11-5 against the spread (ATS) in the last 16 games and 5-1 straight up in their last six home matchups. The Panthers beat the Volunteers 41-34 in Knoxville last season, so a lack of confidence won’t be an issue for Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh also showed plenty of toughness against rival West Virginia in the return of the “Backyard Brawl” last week, earning an exciting 38-31 win. The Panthers, as defending ACC champions, know how to execute well under pressure and win close games against quality opponents. The Panthers not only covered the spread, they beat the Volunteers in what has the potential to be the game of the week.

Pick: Pittsburgh +6.5

No. 1 Alabama at Texas

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 10 at noon ET on FOX

Spread: Alabama -19

The “Texas is back” jokes won’t be jokes anymore if the Longhorns somehow pull off a massive upset of the top-ranked Crimson Tide.

Don’t bet on it, though.

In fact, Alabama has won its last 10 games in September, including a 55-0 victory over Utah State last weekend. Texas has won just two of its last eight games with a 2-6 ATS record over that span.

Alabama is just too talented on both sides of the ball not to win this game by three or more touchdowns. Bryce Young is the best quarterback in college football and leads arguably the most powerful offense in the sport. The Crimson Tide defense, led by reigning Bronko Nagurski Award winner Will Anderson, should be licking its chops at the prospect of going against Texas freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers and two freshmen starting on the offensive line.

Alabama’s defense will overwhelm Texas and hold it to mostly field goals, which will allow the Crimson Tide to remain unbeaten and easily cover the spread.

Pick: Alabama -19

USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10:15 pm ET on ESPN

Spread: BYU -3.5

BYU is looking for revenge after a 38-24 loss to Baylor in Waco last season. This year will be different. Baylor lost a bunch of starters from 2021, especially on offense. The Bears’ top three wide receivers and top two running backs from last season are gone. This is not the same Baylor team that won 12 games, the Big 12 title and Sugar Bowl last season.

The Cougars have a real homefield advantage in Provo, where they’ve won 14 of their last 15 games. They’re also 7-1 ATS in their last eight games versus Big 12 opponents. The Cougars went 4-1 ATS at home in 2021, too.

BYU’s offense dominated South Florida in Week 1, racking up 597 total yards, including 312 on the ground (8.4 per rush). The Cougars offense also fared better at home last season, scoring 36.2 points per game and beating two ranked teams (Utah and Arizona State).

BYU won’t blow out Baylor, but the combination of a raucous crowd and a dominant run game will lift the Cougars to a win and a cover.

Pick: Baylor +3.5

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