Football is back. I am so excited. It’s a lot like the first day of school and Christmas morning rolled together. With the disaster befalling my previews, I have never felt less prepared for the season to start. However, the season has arrived all the same and with it, the wagering on amateur athletics. There’s a lot to get to today.
Let’s bet the board! As always, picks are bolded and favorites/points are on the left.
Georgia Tech -3 vs Boston College (under 43.5)
Boston College had the best defense in college football last year, and they did not lose a whole lot. Tech had one of the most inept teams in college football last year, and they didn’t lose much either. BC is also comically inept on offense. I just don’t see this game getting into the mid-20s for both teams, nor do I expect a blowout here. Take the under, the spread isn’t attractive at 3 points.
Ohio State -27.5 vs Bowling Green
Bowling Green has rightfully earned the reputation of the team no one wants to play. This is tilt against local juggernaut OSU, and while I don’t expect the outcome to be at risk for the Buckeyes, I fully expect BGSU to come out swinging for Ohio State. There’s no way I’m taking a 4 touchdown cover on OSU on opening weekend. Take the points.
Florida -37.5 vs Massachusetts (Over 50)
Here’s another unattractive line. The Gators have a new quarterback for the 1 millionth straight season (I might be exaggerating). And, without much evidence on Del Rio, Florida still has a question mark on the offense. The defense, however, is rarely in doubt as the team has a rich tradition of fielding a top tier SEC defense. UMASS is a paid whipping boy and is just not in the same universe as Florida athletically. I like the over more than laying the points here, but since UMASS is unlikely to score more than a touchdown, Florida will cover if they hit the over. Lay the points and take the over.
Clemson -8 vs Auburn
The only thing Auburn has going for it is the name brand of a fairly recent national title winner. However, the team is an echo of its former self and they have slipped back into obscurity within the division. Auburn might be the sixth best team in their division. Clemson is returning a Heisman hopeful in Watson, and are reloading on the defensive side of the ball. I honestly think that Clemson could run Auburn out of the stadium. I’ll gladly lay the points whenever I have that belief.
Texas A&M -3 vs UCLA
We talk about how the mighty have fallen with Auburn, consider the Aggies on that list as well. Ever since Manziel’s Heisman season, the Aggies have been extremely average (with the exception of Kyle Field’s renovation). I like UCLA in this game straight up, with a tight spread, I will happily take those points.
Georgia -3 vs UNC
This would be my lowest confidence pick if I had to rate them that way. I’m taking the points for such an even line, but Georgia has basically a home game in the Georgia Dome. I think Georgia could beat the brakes off the Tarheels, but I can also imagine a world where the Bulldogs struggle to find themselves under first year head coach, Kirby Smart. The latter seems like a more reasonable expectation for the first game. I’m taking the points here.
Alabama -12 vs USC (under 52.5)
This isn’t exactly the titanic matchup that ESPN is making it out to be. USC has been awful for years. Add in the Steve Sarkisian fiasco, and you have a team struggling to be competitive again. This is as easy a game as Alabama could schedule and still get credit for scheduling a ‘decent opponent.’ I don’t think Alabama will need more than 24 points to win, and I don’t expect USC to have an answer for Alabama’s defense.
Florida State -5 vs Mississippi
FSU enters the season overrated if you consider who they’re returning. I think the Noles will be ready to play and may even win this game convincingly. But, Ole Miss plays its best football early in the season. I think this will be a great ballgame this weekend, but I’m inclined to say that FSU wins this game by less than a touchdown. The points are a smarter bet here, if only because no one has seen FSU’s QB, Francois, play yet. Make sure you tune in for this game.
The above are your cheat sheet for this weekend’s games. After all, I am undefeated for the season to date. You’re welcome.