After the first full week of the 2023 season, the Arnold Against The Spread numbers are still well below .500. We went 3-4 in Week One but we did notch a win in our Upset Special, making us 1-0 on the outright dogs after the first attempt for the season. With a 5-9 record through Zero Week and Week One, we must hold on to hope that Week Two will provide us with the necessary wins to get to a winning record. As always, the odds* for the below picks come courtesy of our friends at DraftKings. This blog does not constitute financial advice.
Illinois at Kansas -3
Illinois suffered a scare in Week One against Toledo, narrowly escaping the Rockets with a last-second field goal for the 30-28 victory. Meanwhile, things feel different in Kansas. After their surprise 2022 campaign that saw them reach a bowl game, the Jayhawks hope to keep that momentum going in 2023. Bret Bielema’s squad powered themselves to a respectable finish in ‘22 on the back of their defense but that defense looked shaky against Toledo. For that reason, I like the Jayhawks to cover.
Utah -7.5 at Baylor
Baylor was on the receiving end of one of the biggest upsets of Week One when GJ Kinne’s Texas State squad went into Waco and handled the Bears. Things don’t get easier in Week Two when Utah comes to town on the heels of their dominant showing against Florida. The most concerning aspect? Texas State wreaked havoc on the Bear offensive line last week. Utah should do more of the same. I’m expecting a two-score victory for Kyle Whittingham’s squad.
Troy at Kansas State Under 50
Fans of physical football will want to tune into this one. Troy and Kansas State both want to drag you into deep waters and drown you. The Trojans used that style to great effect in the Sun Belt this year and are likely one of the favorites once again. Kansas State did the same en route to a Big 12 Championship. I know some folks are overlooking the Trojans but don’t - this could very well be one of the better matchups of the week.
Iowa -4 at Iowa State
When these two teams meet for the CyHawk Trophy in a game some corners of the internet refer to as El Assico, it usually devolves into a bit of a confusing and confounding contest with a lack of scoring. I say this as someone who thoroughly enjoys the game annually. With that being said, in spite of their recent offensive woes, the Hawkeyes just look like the better team on paper. I’m taking Iowa -4.
Texas State +13 at UTSA
Fresh off of their massive victory over Baylor on the road, Texas State makes the short jog from San Marcos to San Antonio to take on UTSA. I expect the Roadrunners to bounce back from their defeat to Houston but +13 is a lot of points against a Bobcat team that would love nothing more than to upset the Roadrunners. It may be a bit of personal bias creeping in but I’m on GJ Kinne and company +13.
Texas +7.5 at Alabama
I know my fellow Aggies don’t want to hear this but Texas, in spite of their slow start against Rice, should be one of the better teams in college football this year. I expect the Horns to keep it close against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In fact, I’m tempted to take Texas outright. However, for now, I’m settling for the Horns +7.5.
Arizona +10.5 at Mississippi State
I’m not 100% sure what to expect out of Mississippi State in 2023, nor am I supremely confident in Arizona in this contest. This just feels like one of those contests that play out in the most chaotic fashion possible. I think the Wildcats keep it within a score on the road in Starkville.
Upset Special: Vanderbilt +320 at Wake Forest
For the upset specials this year, I’m going to try to stick to contests where a team is +300 or more. Vanderbilt hasn’t exactly impressed through their first two contests but this squad did feel like they were trending up towards the end of last year. Wake Forest without Sam Hartman feels like a closer contest than +320. Considering that value on Vandy, I’m taking the Commodores for my upset special.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See http://draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.