The overall theme of my picks this week is pretty similar to last week. I'm picking primarily underdogs, and primarily teams who I thought were significantly undervalued in the preseason and the market hasn't corrected for that yet. Once again, there's a lot of games where my computer's spread differs from the Vegas spread by at least a touchdown, but those opportunities will go away quickly as everyone's pricing converges as the season progresses. Just like always, all picks are for 1 unit.
Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
2018 Season: 4-4, -0.4 units
Michigan State @ Arizona State
The Spartans struggled a lot with Utah State last week, as they needed a late touchdown and two-point conversion to get past the Aggies. Arizona State had a convincing opener against UTSA. I was bearish on MSU before the season and bullish on ASU, and the week 1 results only confirmed these suspicions. My computer's spread is Arizona State by 1, so I'm on the Sun Devils here.
Pick: Arizona State +6.5
Wyoming @ Missouri
I was on the Cowboys last week and I am once again. I dropped them significantly after their loss to Washington State but that moved my projected spread here from Missouri -5.5 to Missouri -9.5. That's still a long way from the 18 points that this spread has opened up at. Wyoming is one of the better teams in the G5, and while Missouri will be improved under Drew Lock, I still only have them at #33 in my rankings.
Pick: Wyoming +18
Fresno State @ Minnesota
This is easily the most surprising line of the week for me. Fresno State won 10 games and the MW West last year, and returns their stud QB Marcus McMaryion from that team. Minnesota won only a single Big Ten game and their offense looked inept down the stretch, getting shut out in their last two games. This is going to be a massive step up for the Gophers from their game against New Mexico State- my computer has the Bulldogs favored by 9.5 here, so they're definitely the pick.
Pick: Fresno State +2.5
Virginia @ Indiana
Virginia is going to be the worst team in the ACC, my model projected them for 2.7 wins in the preseason.The only game on the rest of their schedule I have them favored in is week 10 against Liberty. Indiana picked up a solid road win at FIU last week, and has a pretty manageable schedule this year, and they're up to #44 in my rankings- combine those two things and they look like a bowl team. My model has the Hoosiers by 15.5 here, so I'm picking them.
Pick: Indiana -6.5
Colorado @ Nebraska
Much to the disappointment of Nebraska fans, their home opener with Akron got cancelled due to lightning. There's been some buzz about making it up in case the Cornhuskers need a 6th win to get bowl eligible- I don't think that'll be an issue though as they play a murderer's row of a schedule. That starts here against Colorado- the Buffaloes are a lot more experienced than the Cornhuskers, and these teams were similar in quality last year. I think it's mainly name recognition and excitement around Coach Frost that has Nebraska favored here, my line is Colorado -3.5.
Pick: Colorado +5
San Jose State @ Washington State
San Jose State is one of the worst teams in FBS- I have them ranked 118th out of 130, other rating systems have them in a similar spot. But Washington State should not be favored by 5 touchdowns against any FBS team- this is an extremely young team with a very suspect defense. Leach's Air Raid allows them to light up the scoreboard but they're still only #58 in my rankings. I favor the Cougars by 21 here, making the Spartans the play.
Pick: San Jose State +34.5
Western Michigan @ Michigan
Western Michigan had a bit of a clunker last week at home against Syracuse. However, Michigan had a worse week, getting dominated by Notre Dame. Anyone who watched that game would agree that the Wolverines were lucky to only lose by 7, and that's reflected in the yardage totals. I only have the Wolverines by 16 here, Western will still contend in the MAC West and Michigan does not deserve to be in the top 25.
Pick: Western Michigan +28