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NCAAF Opening Line Report: Sparty looking to pay back Ducks
By Colin Kelly

Much like Week 1 of the college football season, Week 2 features a boatload of less-than-intriguing matchups. But also like Week 1, there are definitely a few games that catch the eye. And apparently the state of Michigan is opening its arms to the state of Oregon, as both state’s major programs square off against each other.

The more appealing matchup features a pair of top-10 teams, with Oregon (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) traveling to East Lansing to face Michigan State (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS). The Ducks are coming off a 61-42 victory over Eastern Washington as a massive 35-point home chalk, while the Spartans beat Western Michigan 37-24 but fell just short as a 16.5-point road favorite.

Last year, host Oregon rolled Michigan State 46-27 as a 14-point chalk. Wynn Las Vegas executive race and sports director Johnny Avello installed the Spartans as 2.5-point favorites this time around.

“Oregon beat up State at Eugene pretty good last year, and now the Spartans get a chance to return the favor,” Avello said. “Michigan State is as good as last year, and the Ducks may be down just a notch. Five o’clock start here in Vegas (8 p.m. EST) and presumably, the heaviest bet game of the day.”

Both these teams were among the best against the oddsmakers last year, with Michigan State going 9-4 ATS and Oregon 10-5 ATS.

Oregon State at Michigan (-15)

The Big House will assuredly be jam-packed and rocking as new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh makes his home debut. Harbaugh and the Wolverines fell short on the road in their season opener, a 24-17 loss to Utah as 5-point underdogs, but would have had a shot if not for surrendering a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

Oregon State could be a nice cure for Michigan. The Beavers opened the year with a 26-7 home win laying 27 points against Weber State, but they are coming off a 5-7 SU and 3-9 ATS campaign.

“Michigan didn’t show much offense in the first half in its debut, but did improve as the game went on,” Avello said. “Ute country is not the easiest of places to be successful. I expect to see the Wolverines carry that second-half success into this contest.”

Louisiana State (-3.5) at Mississippi State

It’s the first noteworthy SEC clash of the season, with a top-15 LSU squad taking on an unranked Mississippi State team that’s coming off one of its best seasons ever.

LSU didn’t get any preparation in Week 1, with its home game against McNeese State postponed by rain and lightning in the first quarter. It was never re-started and will not be made up. Mississippi State, coming off a 10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS season, opened with a 34-16 victory giving 21 points at Southern Mississippi.

“Mississippi State had a soft game to start the season, but this team is a far cry from last year’s 10-3 team. And LSU didn’t get a chance to get acclimated to the season with the cancellation,” Avello said, before noting the Bulldogs’ 34-29 road win over the Tigers last year. “LSU lost as a 9-point favorite at home last year and most likely will have revenge on its mind. I expect LSU money.”

Oklahoma (-1) at Tennessee

A pair of ranked teams take the field for a Big 12-SEC tilt, with both having won and cashed against much meeker opposition in Week 1. The Sooners drubbed visiting Akron 41-3 as a hefty 31-point fave, while the host Vols ran it up on Bowling Green State 59-30 laying 21.5 points.

These two teams also met last year, with Oklahoma rolling 34-10 as a 21-point home favorite. The line is much tighter this time around in Knoxville.

“Oklahoma had a nice showing against Akron, but the Sooners usually do play well at the beginning of the season. Baker Mayfield had a big day throwing the football, but I didn’t see much from the running game,” Avello said. “Coach Butch Jones has Tennessee on the upswing, and this contest will be a big test of just how far the Vols have come.”