Early Week 1 Lines Released
Oh no … it’s not too early at all.
The recruiting season isn’t finished, and spring ball hasn’t started, but 5Dimes has released their early lines for a few of the Week 1 college football games.
Of course it’s ridiculous – it’s still January. However, this is where the savvy investor might be able to find a sweet value pick before the lines change closer to the season.
So here’s the drill. Right or wrong, without looking at what the actual early line is, I’m taking a swing on what the Week 1 lines probably should be to go along with a prediction. And then, at the very end, I’ll look at the line and hope I’m close.
How off are they compared to the early research and crazy beliefs? Where could there be a little bit of an early value? Here we go …
Northwestern at Purdue
My January Line Guess: Purdue -3
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Purdue 24, Northwestern 20
Who’ll be at quarterback for the Wildcats? Northwestern’s defense will keep it close, but it’s a home game for Purdue on a Thursday night. I’m guessing it’ll be a close, low-scoring fight.
Actual Early Line: Purdue -1
Louisville vs. Alabama (in Orlando)
My January Line Guess: Alabama -24.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Alabama 41, Louisville 14
It’s Alabama in an opening game on a neutral site. Always pick Alabama with the points, no matter what, especially considering all the work Louisville has to do to rebuild.
Actual Early Line: Alabama -29.5
Auburn vs. Washington (in Atlanta)
My January Line Guess: Auburn -4.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Auburn 26, Washington 20
Will Washington ever win a big non-conference game against a good team? Outside of the bowls, it hasn’t played many lately. This will be like an Auburn home game.
Actual Early Line: Auburn -4
Tennessee vs. West Virginia (in Charlotte)
My January Line Guess: West Virginia -6.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: West Virginia 38, Tennessee 31
Will Grier will be back for a West Virginia offense that should be solid from the start. Tennessee is probably a whole lot further away from being good than we all might think, but it should come out with a good effort.
Actual Early Line: West Virginia -8
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (in Houston)
My January Line Guess: Texas Tech -2.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Texas Tech 37, Ole Miss 34
Ole Miss is going to be a strange wild card when it comes to figuring out the season. The starting 22 will be fine, but with nothing to play for again, and with several of the key parts gone … again, a wild card. Expect a shootout.
Actual Early Line: PICK
Texas vs. Maryland (in Landover)
My January Line Guess: Texas -7.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Texas 26, Maryland 20
Maryland should be strong in the opener – before it gets a chance to suffer a slew of big injuries again. I’ll probably overrate Texas, but it’ll come up with a good road performance after last year’s loss.
Actual Early Line: Texas -10
Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver)
My January Line Guess: Colorado -6.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Colorado 26, Colorado State 16
The Rams aren’t going to be better than they were last season when they were closed down by the Buffs. Colorado should be better; CSU should be a little worse.
Actual Early Line: Colorado -6
Cincinnati at UCLA
My January Line Guess: UCLA -14.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: UCLA 37, Cincinnati 20
Cincinnati’s defense will be a little better, but can the offense show up right away? No way, no how will the Chip Kelly attack be anything be terrific right out of the gate.
Actual Early Line: UCLA -13
Oregon State at Ohio State
My January Line Guess: Ohio State -28
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Ohio State 37, Oregon State 10
Oregon State’s offense won’t be quite ready for primetime. Ohio State will need a little while to get the machine rolling, and then it’ll be over in a blowout. However, the Beaver D should be just good enough to keep this from getting out to hand.
Actual Early Line: Ohio State -31
North Carolina at California
My January Line Guess: Cal -3
January Stupid-Early Prediction: California 31, North Carolina 27
The Tar Heels will be far, far better than they were last season, but after a year to get everything going under head coach Justin Wilcox, Cal should be one of the surprise teams in the Pac-12 this year.
Actual Early Line: Cal -4
San Diego State at Stanford
My January Line Guess: Stanford -12.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Stanford 26, San Diego State 20
The Aztecs will be great again defensively, and they’ll have another good running game – even without Rashaad Penny. They’ll keep this close on the road, even against a healthy Bryce Love. Remember, SDSU won last year.
Actual Early Line: Stanford -15
BYU at Arizona
My January Line Guess: Arizona -8
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Arizona 34, BYU 27
There’s no chance Kevin Sumlin’s offense doesn’t come out playing well. BYU will be much, much better than last season, and it’ll be fine, but this will be Khalil Tate’s big moment to kick things off in the new era. Be scared of the Wildcat D, though – it’s going to need a while.
Actual Early Line: Arizona -7.5
Washington State at Wyoming
My January Line Guess: Washington State -5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Washington State 27, Wyoming 20
Forgive any hint of thinking a tragedy will translate into an on-field performance, but Wazzu will be inspired to come out roaring. However, at home, the Cowboy defense will keep this close at home.
Actual Early Line: Washington State -7
Boise State at Troy
My January Line Guess: Boise State -2.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Boise State 23, Troy 17
Obviously, these are all best-guesses, but this is really a throw-it-at-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks pick. Troy might just be favored at home – again, not looking at the lines until after doing all the picks – but I’ll go with the Boise State defense to rise up on the road.
Actual Early Line: Boise State -8
Army at Duke
My January Line Guess: Duke -5.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Duke 23, Army 20
Not … touching … this. Especially in January. Army was too good, too often last year, and there’s a good chance it’s going to keep it all going. Guessing that Duke will be favored at home, but whatever the real line is, I want the Knights and the points. The answer is …
Actual Early Line: Duke -9
Navy at Hawaii
My January Line Guess: Navy -9.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Navy 37, Hawaii 31
The Rainbow Warrior offense has to be better and more consistent – and it will be – but the defense isn’t going to stop the Navy option attack when it absolutely has to.
Actual Early Line: Navy -12.5
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma
My January Line Guess: Oklahoma -21.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Oklahoma 41, Florida Atlantic 24
Oklahoma’s offensive machine will keep on going, but will the defense be any better? Florida Atlantic will come in with a serious attitude and a good enough starting 22 to keep this from being a brutal blowout.
Actual Early Line: Oklahoma -21
Michigan at Notre Dame
My January Line Guess: Notre Dame -2.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20
There are must-win games, and there are games a team must win. (Sorry for that stupid line … but I’m sticking with it and hoping you put aside the pretentiousness and get the general point.) Michigan had better win this game, and it will. The defense will come up large.
Actual Early Line: Notre Dame -2
Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington)
My January Line Guess: LSU -1.5
January Stupid-Early Prediction: Miami 26, LSU 23
Great, great matchup on a Sunday night of the opening weekend. Miami’s defense will be frothing at the mouth again, but can it hold up against a physical Tiger team? There are still too many question marks – at least in January – in the LSU backfield to believe in the Fighting Orgerons.
Actual Early Line: Miami -1