The first weekend of the college football season nearly had an epic upset when Appalachian State took Penn State to overtime before finally falling. Even with the victory, the Nittany Lions were favored by 24, so this was an upset irrespective of the final outcome.
Despite Penn State pulling out the victory, there were some stunners from Week 1. Kansas fell to FCS Nicholls State in OT in what could very well spell doom for Jayhawks head coach David Beaty. No. 11 Michigan State narrowly defeated Utah State, 38-31, falling well short of the 23.5 points the Spartans were predicted to win by. Cincinnati got the Chip Kelly tenure off on the wrong foot when they defeated the Bruins 26-17, despite being 14.5 point underdogs.
Our Week 1 Top Five Upset Picks could have made you some serious bucks if you have had the guts to go big on Hawaii and Virginia Tech. Hawaii was 10 points underdog to Navy, but celebrated a convincing 59-41 victory, while Virginia Tech also pulled an upset in Week 1, taking down the Florida State Seminoles, 24-3.
The upsets are never any fun when your team is on the wrong side of them, but they can be a boon for the insightful wager. Here are five games you may want to consider when you are looking for a few upsets around the college football world.
Kentucky vs. Florida (-13.5)
Both of these teams are looking to continue their winning, after bashing their Week 1 opponents. Kentucky Benny Snell led the Wildcats with 125 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 35-20 win over Central Michigan, while Feleipe Franks threw 219 yards for 5 touchdowns in the Gators 53-6 win over Charleston Southern.
Although I believe that the Gators have moved on from the last years dissapointing season, I still smell an upset in this one (at least when it comes down to betting ATS). Florida is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games, while the Wildcats are 7-3 in their last 10 road games. In addition, in three out of their last four matchups, the winner has been decided in single digits margin. Should the Wildcats find a way to get their quarterback going early on, I believe that they could protect their points and upset the Gators ATS.
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Mississippi State (-10) vs. Kansas State
After last week’s showing against South Dakota, a lot of people are thinking that the lofty predictions of Kansas State as a potential Big12 contender were misguided. It is understandable. The team committed 13 penalties and turned over the ball four times. They looked in a word – sloppy.
They also looked like a team that was looking past the team they were playing as they prepared for the upcoming game. Yes, Mississippi State buried Stephen F. Austin 63-6, but did anyone expect them to do anything less than this? Kansas State has an outstanding set of linebackers that should slow down the Bulldogs offensive attack. They will need to win the turnover battle, but this looks like the kind of game that Mississippi State takes a little less seriously than they should because of how bad the Wildcats looked last week.
Georgia (-9.5) vs. South Carolina
Last year, Georgia bulldozed their way through the SEC East behind some rather weak competition, but that is not true in 2018 and South Carolina is one such example of a rising East Division. Many think that the Bulldogs are just as good as last year’s team, but that is a myth. The defense shutout Austin Peay last weekend, 45-0, but that was Austin Peay.
The Gamecocks put up a solid defensive effort of their own, crushing Coastal Carolina, 49-15, as Jake Bentley threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns. South Carolina had won three straight games at home in this series before losing by 14 in 2016. The last two years the Gamecocks have been mediocre, to say the least, but they look like a team on the rise under Will Muschamp. If these Dogs are caught napping, the Gamecocks will be flying high.
Clemson (-13.5) vs. Texas A&M
Clemson rolled in their first game of the sounding, crushing Furman, 48-7. No surprise there at all and many believe that this is the only team that can unseat the Crimson Tide as national champions. They have two outstanding quarterbacks and are deep and talented at most positions. This is a great football team.
Texas A&M will not be impressed, however. The Aggies have a new coach in Jimbo Fisher who is quite familiar with Clemson from his days at Florida State. The Tigers had won the last three prior to Fisher leaving the Seminoles, but his team had won the previous three. Two of the three losses came by less than 10 points.
There may be no tougher place to play in college football than Texas A&M and the Aggies look to have a solid offense led by Kellen Mond (68 completion percentage, 156.2 passer rating). This contest could easily prove to be a nightmare for the Tigers.
UCLA vs. Oklahoma (-30)
Ok, before anyone goes crazy, this is not a prediction that UCLA will win this game. That would be crazy. Oklahoma looked incredibly impressive in their 63-14 victory over Florida Atlantic last weekend, while UCLA staggered over themselves in a 26-17 loss to Cincinnati.
While UCLA has issues, they will not lose this game by 30 points. The Bruins defense is actually pretty good against the pass, recording four sacks last weekend and they have a big play safety in Adarius Pickett (15 tackles). Kyler Murray is a disruptive force on the line, and UCLA should make the Sooners run the ball a lot more in this game.
It is that alone that will help to keep the score down. Oklahoma will roll in this game, but it will likely be more like a 24 point victory (38-14?). Expect the Sooners to win, but take UCLA and the points.