What ten games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the first weekend of Week 1? Here you go. Enjoy.
Week 1 Fearless Predictions, Game Previews
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– CFN Fearless Predictions & Game Previews
– Week 1 Expert Picks & Predictions: Saturday
Thanks to all of the Thursday and Friday games, along with a glut of FBS vs. FCS games, there aren’t a ton of obvious point spreads that appear to be off on Saturday. Whatever … there are enough to have some fun.
Most of these are based on what teams should do, and this is when a whole slew of offseason beliefs and theories are put to the test, starting with …
10 Best ATS Picks So Far: 1-2
Click on each game for the game preview and fearless prediction.
10. Virginia at Pitt
LINE: Virginia -2.5, o/u: 46.5
ATS PICK: Virginia
Enough talk about Virginia; it’s time to back it up. But there’s a lot not to like. Pitt might own the Cavaliers lately – winning four in a row and five of the last six – but this Virginia team is stronger than last year’s version. Virginia went 1-4 on the road last year and 1-7 in the last eight under Bronco Mendenhall, but again, this really might – and should be – the second-best team in the ACC.
The Cavs have a rock-solid defense, possibly the second-best quarterback in the conference in Bryce Perkins, and a strong enough makeup and coaching staff to get off to a hot start. Virginia is better than Pitt – start there, and don’t worry about the 2.5.
LINE: Indiana -17, o/u: 60
ATS PICK: Indiana
There’s a whole lot to like about this year’s Ball State team as long as the offensive backfield comes together early on.
There’s good experience, there’s promise for an improved defense, and …
It’s not all that much better than the team that was dumped by Indiana 38-10 last year, and the Hoosiers should be stronger and sharper. It’s the start of the Michael Pennix era for an IU team that has the receivers, skill talent and explosion to put up a big number the Cardinals can’t match. There might be some concern that Ball State puts up a special performance like it did in last year’s fight with Notre Dame, but that was an aberration.
LINE: Mississippi State -19.5, o/u: 60
ATS PICK: Mississippi State
The world hammered on the Ragin’ Cajuns after the line started out on Mississippi State -22.5 … and you’ll benefit from it. This is a good Louisiana team with a great young head coach in Billy Napier, but in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in New Orleans, Mississippi State will soon show that it’s an SEC team, and Louisiana isn’t.
Are you really that worried that the Bulldogs lost so much top defensive talent? It’s not going to be the D of last season, but the improvements on O will make up for it.
This isn’t exactly how this should work, but Mississippi State win this game 56-10 last season. It’s not 26 points worse/Louisiana isn’t 26 points better.
LINE: Syracuse -18.5, o/u: 68
ATS PICK: Syracuse
Liberty has been amazing against the spread as a double-digit dog over the last two years, but this is a theory pick. If Syracuse REALLY is the second-best team in the ACC – it’s the league’s only ranked team after Clemson – then there can’t be a problem against Liberty, even on the road.
This will be a dangerous Flame team under Hugh Freeze – once he’s 100% after offseason surgery – and it’ll put up plenty of points, but again, if you’re the No. 2 team in the ACC, you win a game like this by more than 20.
LINE: Nebraska -36, o/u: 66
ATS PICK: South Alabama
Can South Alabama be any better after struggling so much to put points on the board last year? The Jaguars scored 17 points or fewer in five of their last eight games, got destroyed against any team with a decent offense, and now has to deal with a fired up Nebraska offense looking to come out strong.
The Huskers will get up fast and have this easily put away, but that 36 number is a bit too massive. Nebraska can put up 50, but can the defense keep the USA offense from scoring two touchdowns? It’ll be a blowout, but the 36 will be tough to hang on too late.