Week 2 has arrived and that means it’s time for more against the spread (ATS) picks at Luckett’s Locks. The board is calling our name.
To debut the season, we finished 2-3-1 ATS as a late Purdue touchdown kept us from having a winning weekend. Meanwhile, our best bet came out as a push with Ohio State winning by two touchdowns. Not great, but not terrible.
Now it’s time to head over to the winning side this weekend. We usually try to stay at six picks, but there is just too much value on the board this weekend. Here are the best plays on the card.
WKU (+6) @ Army
Heading into year three at WKU, Tyson Helton made a big offseason splash after the Hilltoppers made play-calling changes. After defensive coordinator Clayton White left for South Carolina, Maurice Crum Jr. was promoted but the big move was on the other side of the ball. Helton went to FCS Houston Baptist and took the whole offensive operation.
Zach Kittley made the jump to the C-USA and the 30-year-old offensive coordinator has brought the Air Raid attack that he learned as a student and graduate assistant under Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech to WKU. Along with him came a couple of players. Quarterback Bailey Zappe threw for 424 yards and seven touchdowns in the season-opening 59-21 win over UT Martin. Wideout Jerreth Stearns led the Tops with seven receptions for 107 yards.
This trio passed the look test, and now they’ll lead WKU on the road as a six-point dog against an Army team that rolled over Georgia State 43-10 in the opener. These are two contrasting styles, but WKU’s quick-strike ability will be able to keep them within striking distance. Crum and the WKU defense are familiar with the triple option having played and beaten Army in 2019.
WKU is 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games as a road underdog, and there is value with them this week. The new offense makes the Tops a C-USA contender, and they are live dogs in West Point.
Oregon @ Ohio State (-14.5)
After a ridiculous second half that saw Ohio State just explosive play Minnesota into submission, the Buckeyes will return to Columbus for their home-opener. Big Noon Saturday will be in the house with many questions surrounding the Buckeyes on defense. However, defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs should get his starting cornerbacks back on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Oregon snuck by Fresno State needing a comeback in the opener. Huge questions are surrounding Boston College transfer Anthony Brown at quarterback and superstar edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux is doubtful with an ankle injury.
The Ducks are a year away from truly competing with the elites. Ohio State left a lot of points on the field in Minnesota. Star wideouts Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson feast as the Buckeyes post big offensive numbers.
Luckett’s Locks will keep laying the big numbers with the Buckeyes until the books adjust. This is the best offense in college football.
Air Force @ Navy Under 40.5
This is a simple principle play and we have to give credit to where credit is due. CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli has been riding this trend for a long time and Luckett’s Locks is a fan of trends.
Per Fornelli, the under is 38-9-1 ATS when service academies play. Well, that sounds good enough for us at Luckett’s Locks. Let’s run that ball and watch the seconds tick off in a game that will finish in under three hours.
Ball State (+22.5) @ Penn State
Despite picking up just 11 first downs and running only 51 plays last week at Camp Randall Stadium, Penn State came away with a huge road win. That can happen when you are plus-three in the turnover column and win the explosive play battle.
Things are now looking up for James Franklin after a losing season last fall. The huge whiteout game with Auburn looms next week, but first, the Nittany Lions must take care of Ball State on Saturday. The Cardinals won the MAC last season and have 20 total starters back in the lineup.
Ball State’s passing defense was lit up by FCS Western Illinois last week in a close win, but the Cardinals have had 10 days to prepare for this game. Sean Clifford has been an up and down quarterback during his State College career and this is a lot of points to cover against a solid team.
Ball State is a legitimate good Group of Five and they’re catching Penn State in the ultimate sandwich spot. Let’s take the points.
Texas A&M (-17) vs. Colorado
The Aggies played around at home last week before turning on the gas to beat a solid Kent State team by 31 points. Redshirt freshman quarterback Haynes King threw three interceptions in his debut but was bailed out by 310 non-sack rushing yards as the Aggies averaged nearly eight yards per pop.
Colorado recorded a 35-7 win over FCS Northern Colorado to improve to 5-2 under Karl Dorrell, but the passing game left a lot to be desired. The Buffs are set to have a huge talent disadvantage against the Aggies.
This one will technically be at a neutral site in Denver, but Texas A&M is 6-0 ATS as a road favorite under Jimbo Fisher. After not playing well last week, this is a good bounce-back spot facing a limited Colorado squad. Lay the points with the Aggies.
California (+11) @ TCU
Justin Wilcox and Cal took one on the chin at home last week as NFL prospect Carson Strong threw for 312 yards in Nevada’s upset win in Berkeley. However, the Wolf Pack got nothing going on the ground while Cal had some moments on offense.
TCU rolled to a home win over FCS Duquesne and has high expectations in the Big 12 this season. Max Duggan is one of college football’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, and Gary Patterson has a strong defensive tradition in Fort Worth.
This will be a great chess match between two defensive head coaches with much to prove on offense. Cal’s loss to Nevada is not a bad look and the Golden Bears had a great chance to win the game. Wilcox is 11-4 ATS as a road underdog.
In what could turn into a defensive slugfest, we’re taking the double-digit points with the dog.
Eastern Michigan (+26) @ Wisconsin
Eastern Michigan is currently the best underdog in college football. There is no denying that. Chris Creighton’s Eagles are on a 19-3 ATS run as a road dog and that is an automatic play for us.
Wisconsin really struggled on offense against Penn State. The passing game looked sluggish while Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi did give some hope at tailback.
This is all trend play for Luckett’s Locks. Brings us home, Chris Creighton.
Best Bet: Iowa @ Iowa State (-4)
There has never been a more important game in Cy-Hawk Trophy history. In the 68th overall meeting, both the Cyclone and the Hawkeyes find themselves ranked in the top-10 in the series once called “El Assico”.
Iowa State has legitimate College Football Playoff aspirations in year six under Matt Campbell. The Cyclones are fresh off a top-10 finish in 2020 and return 20 starters with multiple super seniors in the lineup. They’re facing an Iowa program that has three consecutive top 25 finishes with a 54-21 mark since 2015.
However, this matchup comes down to quarterback play with two strong coaching staffs with sound defensive philosophies. Brock Purdy is just better than Spencer Petras and will be able to make more plays through the air. Add on the motivation factor at home and this gives the Cyclones the edge.
Lay the points with Iowa State.
Please bet responsibly.
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