College Football: Week 1 Best Bets
Finally, college football is back. Soon, the NFL will follow. Yes, friends, after an interminable summer, gambling season is finally here, and all roads lead to the pay window, we hope. Last season, I was positively average, finishing the season with an utterly pedestrian 53-54-1 record. This is no way to get the Christmas gifts paid for, people. As Gary Kubiak would say, that's on me.
Let's find some soft lines and get out into the green territory early, shall we? Here are my picks for Week 1 of the college football season
BOISE STATE -12 over Washington (Friday)
For a team that was nothing special last season, Washington sure had their name called quite a bit during the NFL Draft last May. Huskies head coach Chris Petersen loses three All Americans on the defensive side of the ball and has major questions on the offensive line and at quarterback. That's a truly terrible formula to head onto the blue turf of Boise at night. Nobody knows this better than Petersen, who spent the better part of the last decade stacking victories in Boise. This is the Broncos' chance to make an early statement against a power conference team.
Lousiana-Lafayette +17 over KENTUCKY
Even though the Ragin Cajuns are technically a "directional" school (they'll always be Southwestern Louisiana to me), they've won at least nine games (and had another month worth of bowl practices) each of the last four seasons. Kentucky being favored over anybody by 17 points in sports other than men's basketball is kind of nuts. Louisiana-Lafayette has not fared well against Power Five foes, but Kentucky is a beatable Power Five foe, so certainly staying within 17 points seems reasonable.
NOTRE DAME -9 over Texas
When we last saw the Texas Longhorns they were being used as a mop in NRG Stadium in a bowl game against Arkansas. When we last saw Notre Dame, we saw the torch being handed to QB Malik Zaire in a bowl game win over LSU. Since then, Notre Dame has gotten better — the returns of LB Joe Schmidt and CB Keivarae Russell on defense, in particular — and Texas has gotten younger, starting four true freshmen this Saturday. This is Brian Kelly's most talented edition of the Fighting Irish.
Akron/OKLAHOMA UNDER 57.5
I'm not gonna lie, I'm struggling to find games I like this first weekend, so let's go with a sloppy, low scoring between an OU team that is starting a new quarterback and replacing three all-conference offensive linemen and a scrubby MAC opponent who will struggle to score ten points. Sound good? I thought so.
Wisconsin/Alabama UNDER 50
Somehow, over a few years the Badgers have downward spiraled to where Paul Chryst, who sucked at Pitt, is their head coach, largely because he was a good offensive coordinator in Madison a few years ago. He now oversees an offense that can't pass the football and is going against a salivating Nick Saban, who was last seen losing to a Big Ten team in a playoff game. Now, he's going to take it out on poor Wisconsin, just like a WWE wrestler who takes out their frustration on a less imposing friend of a wrestler they're feuding with. I'm thinking of the time Roddy Piper cut the Haiti Kid's hair to send a message to Mr. T….
New Mexico State/FLORIDA UNDER 54.5
It's Jim McElwain's first game as Florida head coach, so it'll probably be a little while before Florida becomes adept at running his offense. (Those Muschamp wounds run pretty deep.) But on the flip side, New Mexico State might not score six points. Under is the play.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.
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