It’s here, College Football is back. After a long offseason, and a little taste of action in week 0, we have finally arrived at the true opening weekend of college football. Here are all of my picks for week 1 in chronological order. These lines will all be coming from oddsshark.com.
Thursday: Purdue -2 Vs Northwestern: I mentioned I was taking the under on the Wildcats season win total, and this had to do with a very difficult schedule along with a Clayton Thorson injury. The second part is a major reason why I’m taking Purdue to cover at home: Thorson still hasn’t been announced to play, which tells me that he’s either not going to play, or not at 100%. Either way, that’s an advantage for Purdue. Purdue is probably around the same talent level as Northwestern, but considering a QB injury and opening the season at home on a weeknight and laying less than a field goal, I’ll take that combination every time.
Friday: Utah State at Michigan State over 51.5: I like the over because of the faith I have in both offenses. Last season, Utah State averaged over 30 points per game. While I don’t expect them to approach this total, if they put up only 17 points, that’s only 35 from the Spartans to go over the total. I expect this Michigan State offense to be much improved. Brian Lewerke should show massive improvement this season, and the Spartans could dominate up front in a similar fashion like Wisconsin did in the opening week last year against the Aggies, scoring 59 points themselves.
San Diego State +14.5 At Stanford: This is a revenge opportunity for Stanford after falling to SDSU last year by 3, and while I expect the Cardinal to win straight up, I like the value in the Aztecs. Stanford does return Bryce Love who is a heisman candidate, but despite having a great previous season, Stanford was actually outgained last season. This shows there could be some luck regression despite internal improvement being likely. San Diego State also has done a good job protecting the football and winning the time of possession battle. Considering these factors, the Aztecs should be able to keep the game within 2 touchdowns.
Saturday: Oregon State At Ohio State Under 64: Ohio State has had a very interesting offseason, but regardless of your opinion about what punishment should’ve been placed on Urban Meyer and Gene Smith, it still will have an effect on the team. I could see the Buckeyes offense maybe struggling for some portions of the game. This total is also ridiculously high for a game with such a large spread (-38). Oregon State would have to score more than 2 touchdowns to go over this total as long as Ohio State doesn’t go above 50, which both cases seem likely. I think a 42-10 final score seems very realistic which sits 12 points below the total.
Massachusetts At Boston College Over 62.5: Massachusetts got off to an explosive start to the season putting up 63 points on Duquesne. Many people were expecting their offense to be prolific once again this season, but that level of explosiveness is impressive even for the Minutemen. In their last game last season, the point total of the game was 108. Boston College also could dominate against a Umass defense that gave up over 30 points in a game 6 times last season. Steve Addazio has wanted to pick up the pace offensively, and after having success with that last season, I expect the Eagles to continue to play at an uptempo pace.
Texas -13 At Maryland: This is another case of revenge in a home-and-home out of conference matchup, but this time I expect the revenge to happen. Texas only had 9 less yards than Maryland, which shows how much closer the game was than it appears. Also, Maryland has had a hectic offseason after the University basically admitted fault for the death of a former football player. Texas is ready for revenge playing a Maryland team that is adjusting to a interim head coach. Texas also is significantly more talented than Maryland, consistently recruiting at a higher level than what they have played at in recent years. Tom Herman might finally produce results on the field that equate to the results that have occurred in recruiting.
Auburn -2 Vs Washington: I took the under on the Huskies win total, and this was based somewhat off a strong faith in Auburn winning this season opening contest. Jake Browning seems to panic when defensive lines provide pressure, and Auburn has one of the best defensive lines in the nation. (to read a full breakdown on Browning’s game and how overrated he is click here) Auburn also needs probably 2 points of home field advantage, despite this game being played at a ‘neutral’ site. While this is technically true, who is playing over 2,000 miles closer to the game location, Auburn should have 70% of the fans. Auburn has a significant QB advantage, has fantastic defensive talent, and is much more comfortable playing in Atlanta. Laying 2 points is no problem for me.
Appalachian State At Penn State Under 54: App State is certainly no pushover against power 5 competition. In their last 4 games against P5 opponents, the games have gone under this listed total in every one except for their Miami game which had a total of 55. I also expect lots of time for Penn State to get back to the offensive success they have achieved the past 2 seasons. Replacing Saquon Barkley is almost impossible and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead left for Mississippi State.
Michigan At Notre Dame over 47: In one of the most hyped games in week 1, Michigan and Notre Dame resume their rivalry (their last meeting was 2014). The reason I’m taking the over in this game is my faith in each starting QB. I was a big fan of what I saw from Brandon Wimbush last year and Shea Patterson is the best QB Jim Harbaugh has had at Michigan.
Monday: Virginia Tech +7.5 At Florida State: I took the over on the Hokies win total, citing a very easy schedule, however, it doesn’t start that way. Opening at Florida State seems like a daunting task, but Virginia Tech is an experienced team that is playing against a FSU team that is opening with a new head coach and starting a quarterback who hasn’t played since week 1 of last season. While Florida State has more talent, getting over a touchdown against the Seminoles in week 1 with as top 25 team is simply too much value.