Situational spots are present on a weekly basis in college football, just like any other sport. Even though there is about a week between games in most cases, there are just times where teams are going to face a little bit of extra adversity from a travel spot, a potential letdown spot, or a look-ahead spot. There aren’t many of them in Week 1, as everybody is just excited to play again, so we’ll pick up with this article again here in Week 2.
When betting on players that are aged 18-23, or 35 like Brandon Weeden’s college days, consistency can sometimes be hard to find. The marquee nature of certain games or the importance of conference contests can lead to some good betting angles for those that are following along with the schedule.
We’ll be sorting by rotation number as we look at the situational spots that you’ll want to factor into your handicapping for Week 2:
Liberty at Army – The Flames caught fire in the second half against Old Dominion and rolled to a win in their first game as an FBS member. Liberty is playing as an Independent this season, so the schedule is basically just a hodgepodge of opponents. Every road game for the Flames this season is the first meeting in program history, so every road game means a visit to a new, unfamiliar venue. That has be considered, as these kids are making a leap in talent and also crowd size.
Appalachian State at Charlotte – The Mountaineers are going to have a hard time finding Week 1 opponents in the future after taking Penn State to the brink 11 years to the day that they beat Michigan. The level of competition goes down dramatically, as Appalachian State will be in Charlotte to take on the lowly 49ers, who are a bottom 10 team in everybody’s power ratings. App State will be tasked with covering a big number in this one, as the market currently shows -14.
Mississippi State at Kansas State – Manhattan Magic has been a signature of Bill Snyder’s tenure with Kansas State, but bettors aren’t too worried about it based on the early action for this one. The Wildcats nearly lost at home to South Dakota last week, while the Bulldogs took an FCS team to the woodshed. This is an 11 a.m. CT local time kickoff, so it will be a rather subdued atmosphere for a game against a visiting SEC opponent. This surely won’t be Manhattan on a Thursday night and we could see a very slow start here for both sides.
Nevada at Vanderbilt – The Wolf Pack hung a huge number on Portland State last week and Vanderbilt smacked little brother Middle Tennessee State around. It looks like we’ve seen some Vandy overreaction thus far, but Nevada is making the long trip from Reno to Nashville and will go from the thin air of upstate Nevada to the sweltering heat and humidity of Tennessee. That could be problematic.
Memphis at Navy – This one certainly qualifies and you’ll see Navy a lot in this weekly article. Navy gave up 59 points in last weekend’s loss to Hawaii and basically had to give away two practice days with the long trip from Honolulu to Annapolis. Patrick Stevens at The Athletic chronicled Navy’s impressive itinerary for the big trip to the islands. Planes aren’t made for comfort, especially for large football players, so it will take a day or so to get back on track. That seems suboptimal for a team that nearly allowed a 60 burger and has a potent Memphis offense coming to town. It isn’t a surprise that we’ve seen Memphis money so far in the market.
Arkansas State at Alabama – Alabama thumped Louisville to open the season and Nick Saban was still yelling with a 41-7 lead, so maybe the Crimson Tide won’t let up against Arkansas State. Then again, the Crimson Tide open SEC play in Week 3 against Ole Miss, a team that always seems to give Alabama fits. Arkansas State plays Tulsa next week, so this is a spot for the Red Wolves to give it their all as arguably the best team in the Sun Belt this season takes aim at shocking the world.
Colorado at Nebraska – Nebraska’s game against Akron was canceled because of weather on Saturday night and the Zips weren’t prepared for an overnight stay and a Sunday morning game. Scott Frost’s debut had to be pushed back a week, so we’ll have to see how the Huskers look without an organized scrimmage to get things figured out. Instead, they’ll play a Colorado team that nearly hung half a hundred on its in-state rival Colorado State.
Iowa State at Iowa – Similar to Nebraska, Iowa State missed out on its Week 1 matchup because of the severe storms that were rolling through the flyover states last weekend. The Cyclones did start the game and played about five minutes and took a 7-0 lead against South Dakota State, but Mother Nature decided not to allow the game to be played to the end. At least Iowa State got a few reps before this extremely important rivalry game.
Utah at Northern Illinois – Utah is the popular play after Northern Illinois laid a giant egg in Iowa City last week, but the Utes find themselves in a pretty bad spot here. They’re going to DeKalb, a place that they wouldn’t normally go, which is always a little bit unique for a team used to playing in big Pac-12 stadiums. Furthermore, the Utes host Washington next week in the Pac-12 opener. The spot will likely induce some buy back later in the week.
Arkansas at Colorado State – Colorado State’s defense has provided about as much resistance as a busted dam this season, but the Rams could get some help from a rare trip to altitude for the Razorbacks. Going from hot and humid Fayetteville to the thin air of Fort Collins could be interesting, especially with Chad Morris looking to crank up the tempo for the Arkansas offense.
Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio) – This goes in the books as a home game for Miami, but it will be played at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati’s trip to Los Angeles wasn’t in vain, as the Bearcats pulled something of a shocking upset as more than a two-touchdown underdog against UCLA. This will basically be a home game for the Bearcats, who are accustomed to playing at Paul Brown Stadium. The crowd edge should belong to Cincinnati, despite the way the game is labeled.
Michigan State at Arizona State – Michigan State will embark on a long trip out to Tempe to take on Arizona State. The Herm Edwards era began with a bang thanks to a blowout win over UTSA. Michigan State’s 2018 campaign opened with a scare in East Lansing against Utah State. The Spartans have an extra day of prep for this one, but they’ll be in a very unfamiliar environment with a high-energy, liquored up crowd looking for a top-15 upset before conference play kicks off. Arizona State does have one of the better atmospheres in college football.
Youngstown State at West Virginia – West Virginia just beat Tennessee on a neutral field in Charlotte and will return to North Carolina to take on NC State next week in Raleigh. Youngstown State lost at home as a huge favorite against Butler last week, so there aren’t a whole lot of FCS teams more motivated than the Penguins. We’ll see if they can take advantage of what isn’t a great spot for the Mountaineers in Morgantown.
Southeastern Louisiana at LSU – Southeastern Louisiana came up just short against Louisiana-Monroe last week, which would normally create a bad spot for an FCS team that had a close call as a 21-point underdog against an FBS team. The Lions head into Baton Rouge this week to battle LSU. The spot is horrendous for LSU. The Tigers just upset Miami, will play on a short week here, and have a road trip to Jordan-Hare to face Auburn on deck. The Lions could be a very scrappy FCS foe here if the Tigers overlook them and that would not be a stunner given the spot.