Oregon running back Travis Dye
Oregon running back Travis Dye (26) celebrates his touchdown against Fresno State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. Smoke from wildfires is also seen in the stadium. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

NCAAF Best Bets, Sept. 11

Now that every school officially has a game under their belt, it will be much easier to make an accurate prediction with the recent data from Week 1 to work with. While it is important to remember that some teams underperform in games and make weekly adjustments, for most other schools the writing’s on the wall which makes it very straightforward to look at each game on their schedule and predict with a high degree of confidence a W or an L. This year marks the return of non-conference regular season play since 2019 and there are some terrific matchups to take advantage of. With intense rivalries and high-scoring shootouts featured in this slate, I expect a clean sweep with these three best bets for Saturday. 

Oregon @ Ohio State (Over 63.5)
In a match that was supposed to occur last fall, the 12th ranked Oregon Ducks travel across the country to play the number three Ohio State Buckeyes. This game shows all the potential of being a back and forth high-scoring affair with two productive offenses going up against two subpar defenses. During Week 1, these defenses let up a combined 781 yards of total offense but managed to win both of their games. Last week at Minnesota, OSU narrowly escaped with a victory while their defense let up a shocking 450 yards. Their run defense proved to be Swiss cheese where they allowed over 200 yards on the ground to the Gopher offense. Although they put up a weak display on defense, the Buckeyes were able to tally in over 500 yards of total offense and score 45 points. In Week 1, their average of 10.3 yards per play on offense was 2nd highest in the country. This combination of a poor defense and a high-powered offense is an effective mix for overs. Their D will be challenged yet again this week versus a potent Oregon running attack that ran for 200 yards last week. Similar to Ohio State, in their first game against Fresno State, Oregon’s defense allowed 24 points and this game they will have to face the mighty Buckeye offense without their star defensive end, Kayvon Thibodeaux. The final combined total for this one will dwarf the current line so the over is the play here.

Iowa (+4.5) @ Iowa State
This matinee special features an intense in-state rivalry between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. The opening line was set favoring the Cyclones by three and a half but now has them as four and half-point home favorites. Both of these squads had very different Week 1 experiences. Iowa State struggled mightily to pull out a victory versus in-state FCS foe Northern Iowa in a nail-biting 16-10 finish. However, the Hawkeyes made their mark with a blowout 34-6 win over a ranked Indiana Hoosiers squad. The Iowa defense only allowed 230 yards of total offense against Indiana, whereas Northern Iowa passed the ball for that amount on the Cyclones home field. With Iowa seemingly being the superior team overall and this game posing such a fierce rivalry, expect the well-suited Hawkeyes to hold more than their own in this year’s rivalry showdown. Look at their ML at kickoff, but definitely take the points.

Washington @ Michigan (-6.5)
For this prime time slot on the slate, the Washington Huskies journey to Ann Arbor in a meeting with the Michigan Wolverines. The Huskies opened up as six point road dogs and are -6.5 at the time of publication. For Washington last week, they suffered a catastrophic loss at home against FCS opponent Montana. This game would mark the first since 2016 that an FCS program defeated a ranked opponent on their home field. Washington’s embarrassing offensive performance amounted to 300 yards of total offense with three thrown interceptions. In a quite different scenario, Michigan dominated one of the early favorites to win the MAC Conference Western Michigan, 47-14. Led by new QB Cade McNamara, Michigan’s offense was churning as they established their game on the ground where RB Blake Corum totaled 133 yards from scrimmage with two TDs. With Washington’s appalling performance at home against an FCS program and being on the road, I definitely can’t trust them to take the small amount of points they’re given at +6.5. Ride this Michigan wave that will only build as more people hop on their wagon. 

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