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Week 2 college football best bets and picks

There are 19 college football games today. And after they’re over, we’ll be that much closer to the end of 2020. We’re going to get through this, friends.

Antonio Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Temple Owls in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 27, 2019 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

We’ve done all the deep dives we can do on Week 2 of the college football slate. We’ve found the stats, we’ve watched the film... now we pick the winners.

Before we get started, let us give thanks that The Best Sport is back. Even if it goes away soon, the game that means so much to so many will hopefully give you a brief respite during fall Saturdays to come. Or at least until players stop renting party busses and making poor decisions away from football.

Until you pay the players you can’t quarantine them (here’s an idea... pay the players!). But who knows how many times this will happen, so for now let’s enjoy what we can while we can, and hope administrators and coaches make good choices to keep everyone safe.

And the upside for fans everywhere? Since tickets are extremely limited across the country and most games will have no patrons, it’ll be like the bye week where you sit on the couch and watch all the games instead of your own team. Maybe bet on them too!

We don’t absolutely love any of the selections below, as we learned last weekend there are simply a ton of unknowns about the 2020 season that make the first few matchups more difficult than usual to handicap. But the second half lines are set by bookmakers that might not be watching the games as closely as you are, and that’s where the real value might be today.

The Picks

North Carolina -23.5 over Syracuse

It could get really, really bad for “New York’s College Team” (TM) this season. New coordinators on both sides of the ball, tons of talent opting out of playing in 2020, and not a lot to work with overall. Click here for the gory details.

Meanwhile UNC has been on schedule in practice since camp started and returns as much talent as any team in America. They get ‘em at home, and the pace of both teams means there will be plenty of possessions for UNC to run it up. The Orange went lightning fast last year, but new coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s offense goes even faster. He also usually does it very poorly, but the extreme tempo will force extra possessions for Sam Howell today.

Georgia Tech vs. Florida State Under 51.5

Just too many new pieces here for FSU with very limited practices (there have been plenty of Covid outbreaks in Tallahassee), and Georgia Tech was dead last in FBS last year in plays per game at 63.0 non-kicking snaps per game. And that’s applies not just when they’re on offense. We grabbed this number before it got down this low, and we’d do it again at this number gladly.

Tulane vs. South Alabama Under 52

USA can’t move the ball, and Tulane doesn’t want to go that fast. If the over gets there, it’ll be based on the awful tackling we’ve seen in college football so far this season. But the Green Wave are giving 10.5 on the road, and might get slowed down by a team that’s had the chance to make the corrections necessary between Week 1 and Week 2 (and those are massive, massive corrections).

Credit the Jaguars for a nice win over a mess of a Southern Miss team, but they won’t move the ball as easily today. However they’ll slow down Keon Howard and Willie Fritz’s modified option offense to keep it low.

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