What three games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into Thursday of Week 1? Here you go. Enjoy.
For Saturday and throughout the season, this will be the Ten Best Picks Against The Spread piece, but there are only six FBS vs. FBS games against the spread on Thursday night, so it’s being whittled down to three.
We’re all pacing ourselves to kickoff the season.
Best ATS Picks So Far: 0-0
Click on each game for the game preview and fearless prediction.
playMGM LINE: Cincinnati -2.5, o/u: 58
ATS PICK: UCLA
It’s not like Cincinnati destroyed UCLA to start out the Chip Kelly era.
The Bearcats went into Pasadena and pulled off a 26-17 stunner last season, but lost in the narrative of the miserable 3-9 Bruin season was 1) it was 17-17 going into the fourth quarter, 2) star RB Joshua Kelley carried the ball just six times, and 3) the Bruins outgained the Bearcats.
Does UCLA have the lines to hold up this time around? To be blunt – sort of.
It’s a far more experienced Bruin offensive line in this year’s matchup, and the defensive front is big enough with just enough veterans to hold up on the road against a bruising Bearcat ground game.
It was a whole lot nicer when UCLA was getting 4.5, but the 2.5 shouldn’t be a big deal considering the Pac-12er is going to win outright.
Kelley appears to be okay after missing time with a knee problem, but the Bruin offense is far deeper in this year’s matchup. UCLA’s offense won’t go off, but the defense will do a far better job of holding on this year.
Cincinnati converted three of four fourth down tries last season as it was able to maintain control of the clock and the game. That’s not happening this year.