There have been some wild results in the early stages of the college football season and this week it should be no different even if there are 16 contests when the college football betting lines are higher than 20 points.
Predicting outright upsets can be challenging. However, there are some lines out there that jump out and scream for attention.
Seeing teams like Baylor and Notre Dame heading into the weekend as underdogs are interesting, to say the least. They are among the games where the favored team could be ripe for some plucking.
Keep on reading for a breakdown of some games where things might be closer than expected.
Baylor vs Iowa State
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 12 noon ET (ESPN2)
- Line: Iowa State -2½
Iowa State owns a win over Iowa this season, but it is still a bit of a surprise to see the Cyclones favored against the reigning Big 12 champions.
Iowa State’s offense is still a work in progress with quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall and tight end Charlie Kolar off to the NFL. The Bears also lost plenty of offensive talent.
Iowa State won three of four meetings before Baylor’s 31-29 win a season ago.
Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Line: Tennessee -10½
Tennessee being favored at home against Florida seems justified. However, the line of 10½ points seems extravagant.
The Gators have dominated this series in recent years and this has the feeling of a game that could come down to the wire. The matchup of quarterbacks Anthony Richardson of Florida and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, both listed by the college football odds as Heisman Trophy candidates, could make for an interesting afternoon in Knoxville.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs North Carolina Tar Heels
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Line: North Carolina -2
This is an interesting matchup between an offensively challenged Notre Dame team facing a North Carolina squad that struggles to stop anybody.
The Fighting Irish have looked inept at times. However, keep in mind that Notre Dame brought in top 10 recruiting classes in both 2021 and 2022 Even with this game being in Chapel Hill and North Carolina being undefeated, seeing Notre Dame as the underdog should catch the attention of those who bet online.
James Madison Dukes vs Appalachian State Mountaineers
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
- Line: Appalachian State -7
Appalachian State made national headlines with the upset of Texas A&M and near upset of North Carolina in the first two weeks of the season. How will the Mountaineers fare in the role of the favorite?
James Madison, in its first season playing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, has gone head to head in recruiting battles with non-Power-5 programs in the Virginia/North Carolina region for years so there shouldn’t be much of a difference in talent level between the teams.
The Dukes have allowed just 21 rushing yards in the first two games of the season and also lead the nation in total defense. Will James Madison go on the road and come away with the win? It is hard to say, but they should be able to hang with Appalachian State in this one.
Toledo Rockets vs San Diego State Aztecs
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
- Line: Toledo -3
The early numbers haven’t looked great for San Diego State but it should be mentioned that both losses have come against Pac-12 teams. When the Aztecs face programs outside of the Power 5 Conferences at home, they usually do just fine with the last non-conference loss to a Group of Five teams coming in 2016.
Toledo has some regrouping to do after allowing 77 points in last week’s game with Ohio State and seeing the Rockets favored in this one is a bit surprising.
Wisconsin Badgers vs Ohio State Buckeyes
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Line: Ohio State -19
This Ohio State offense could put up some nasty numbers with potential first-round draft picks at multiple positions. The 19-point line, now that seems a bit much against one of the better running teams in the country with improved play at quarterback.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is listed by the college football betting lines as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) September 19, 2022
Keep in mind that Wisconsin did lead the country in total defense during the 2021 season. A large number of the top players from that defense have moved on but there is a culture of sound defensive play at Wisconsin.
Picking Ohio State to win this game makes a ton of sense. Expecting them to do so by three touchdowns might be asking a bit much.