Iowa at Penn State +2.5
Iowa is 2-2 and Penn State is 0-4. As bad the Nittany Lions record appears right now, they're still only one win from tying with a trio of other teams above them. Iowa is fourth in the Big Ten West, most recently entering off a 35-7 victory over Minnesota. But with a home game vs. Nebraska up next, Iowa will have to be cautious here to not get caught "looking ahead."
Penn State isn't going to go winless this season. Last year it won this game 17-12 and I think a similar hard-fought battle will be in the cards this weekend as well.
Iowa's defense has so far been its strength, as it allows just 14.8 points per game. The Hawkeyes only ask quarterback Spencer Petras to be a "game manager," as running back Tyler Goodson is the focal point of the offense.
But the 0-4 start clearly can't be sitting well with Penn State, as it's its worst start since 2001, nearly 20 years ago. The Nittany Lions went 10-2 last year and I think it's definitely significant to note that Penn State has NEVER gone 0-5 to open a season in over 100 years of playing Football.
The Lions haven't been great, but they also haven't been terrible, as they've yet to lose a game by more than 20 points. Most recently Penn State fell 30-23 to Nebraska. The Nittany Lions had 30 first downs, they went 8 of 17 on third-down and they were 3 of 5 on fourth down. The dual quarterback system of Will Levis and Sean Clifford was decent, and I think they'll build off that latest performance here.
Off their big win last week, I think the Hawkeyes take a step back here. And looking to finally "get off the schneid," we definitely don't have to question whether or not the Nittany Lions will be playing "hard" today. The determination in which Penn State plays with today could very well be the difference-maker in this one.
WSU at Stanford -2
Remember, the PAC 12 is only playing six games this year. Washington State enters off a poor 43-29 loss to 11th ranked Oregon to fall to 1-1 on the season and I think the Cougars will struggle again here in this difficult road venue.
Stanford is 0-2 and it'll be desperate here to finally get into the win column. In their last game, the Cardinal lost 35-32 to Colorado.
If you're thinking about making a play on the total, consider the "over," as these teams both allow 35 points per game in the early going.
Stanford has a major advantage at the most important position in this matchup though and that's going to be the difference-maker for me in the end.
Washington State turns to freshman Jayden de Laura under center, while Stanford counters with senior Davis Mills.
The visitors will be leaning heavily upon running back Deon McIntosh to take some of the pressure off de Laura obviously. McIntosh has been a bright spot early with 239 yards on 34 attempts, which translates into 7.0 yards per carry.
Stanford's weakness on the defensive side has been against the run as well in the early going, allowing 223 yards per game.
The Cardinal though now turn to Mills to help them get into the win column. Mills had a testing problem in the first game of the season and didn't even play for Stanford, so last week was his first action of the season.
And he was decent, going 31 of 56 for 327 passing yards and a touchdown, while also running for 36 yards and another touchdown on the ground. He's faced the Cougars once in his career and threw two interceptions, but he also had a career-high 504 yards passing and three touchdowns against them.
Washington State is 5-0 against the spread the last five in this series, but I think that trend finally gets broken here.
I like Mills over de Laura. I think Stanford is for sure the "hungrier" team in this fight and playing at home it's 4-1 against-the-spread in its last five after back-to-back SU/ATS losses.
The hungrier home side does appear to be the prudent side call in my opinion.
Jets at Chargers -8 1/2
This line opened at 10.5 and it's since come down to around 8.5. Regardless, I like the home side to pull away in the second half for the comfortable win and cover versus the lowly Jets.
This is a difficult cross country contest for New York. Of course, no one wants to go winless this year in the Jets organization, but the team has to be feeling pretty disheartened after last week's tight 30-27 setback to the Patriots.
The way in which the Jets collapsed and lost that contest has to still be sitting fresh in the front of their minds as well, as they entered the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead.
Can Joe Flacco duplicate his performance from last week for the Jets? Doubtful in my opinion, as he was 18 of 25 for 262 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
Overall though the Jets are still averaging only 13.4 points per game while conceding 29.8.
The Chargers are averaging 25.1 points per game, while allowing 27.2. LA is just 2-7 and it's lost three straight, but this one sets up great for it obviously.
The Chargers are 4-1 against the spread in their last five after three or more consecutive straight-up losses. Chargers' rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has 2,333 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and only six interceptions and this is a defense that he should be able to easily pick apart in my opinion.
The Jets are dejected after the terrible loss to their most hated rival last week and now they have to go across the country to play a meaningless game. Can anyone say "let down" spot?
I like Herbert in this matchup for sure.