What games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the Week 1 weekend of the college football season?
Results So Far ATS: 8-2-1
To be totally honest, I hope a lot of these picks are wrong.
It would be a tremendous thing for college football and the 2021 season if most of the underdogs pull off upsets – several of these lines are low, if not close to even – but I can’t make them happen.
I know it’s boring, unimaginative, and un-American to pick all favorites in all ten of the games here, but I can only see the future, I can’t do anything to change it.
Ten picks, ten favorites. Begging for your forgiveness as we start with …
Click on each game for preview
LINE Alabama -19.5
ATS PICK Alabama
Hi, I’m Pete, and I picked Ohio State to beat Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Everyone: “Hi, Pete.”
I spent over a decade yelling at everyone to always take Bama no matter what – that includes against the spread – and I choked before the biggest game of the 2020 season.
Maybe I’m just trying to make up for it, or maybe it’s because this program kicks everyone in the teeth in season openers, or maybe it’s because the Bama linebacking corps is one of the best that college football has seen in a long, long time, and it’s going to shut down D’Eriq King whenever he tries to do anything but become a pocket passer.
Liked it at 17.5, was fine at 18, and not drifting now that it’s 19.5.
LINE Texas Tech -1
ATS PICK Texas Tech
As you’ll see through some of the other picks, my insufferable belief system that teams and programs with more talent and resources tend to win more often than not will come through with the subtlety of a steamroller. But this case is something slightly different.
While some of the upcoming picks are mostly on simply playing into the Power Five snob brand, I actually do believe that Texas Tech is on the verge of a good season.
I’ve been hyping up the Red Raiders all offseason and I can’t bail now – and I’m only giving up one point after the line started out at -6.5.
Houston is good, it’ll be fired up, and this is the year when things are likely to finally turn for head coach Dana Holgorsen. But Texas Tech is LOADED with experience and super-seniors, and it has a future NFL starting quarterback in Oregon transfer Tyler Shough to run the show.
It’ll be a great game, but all Texas Tech has to do is win.
LINE Notre Dame -7
ATS PICK Notre Dame
I’m a horrible, horrible person.
I don’t like dogs, I find the Harry Potter movie series to be unwatchable crap, and I despise when the media creates a narrative around real world human interest things as a reason a team might be better in a sporting event.
Bobby Bowden was one of my favorite college football head coaches ever. The McKenzie Milton story – the former UCF QB coming back from a horribly broken leg to play for FSU – is as wonderful as it gets. There won’t be a dry eye in Doak Campbell Stadium on Sunday night as the program honors Bowden and everyone watches Milton run onto the field …
And then Notre Dame wins by double-digits because it’s going to be better at playing college football.
And if Florida State pulls it off, it’ll be because it did a stronger job of blocking and tackling over the four hours.
LINE Iowa -4
ATS PICK Iowa
If you care about these things, I initially put this game here when it was at Iowa -3.5 and it went up to 4. However, it started out at 5.5, and there’s a reason.
Indiana is good. 2020 wasn’t a fluke, the team is as well-coached as any in college football, and it has the guys in place to get this road win as long as the run defense can hold up. But it’s Iowa, it’s at home, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
The running game will be good, the defensive front will be great, and if QB Spencer Petras can hit a downfield throw or three, it should be able to pull this off by more than four. I know I’m getting weird over a half a point, but this is probably going to be played in the 20s – I wanted it at 3.5.
But as we were all told in third grade before a multiple choice test, when in doubt, stick with your first answer.
LINE Illinois -5
ATS PICK Illinois
I’m a noted Power Five snob and will always instantly assume the bigger, stronger, richer, schools with the advantages will take out the smaller programs that don’t have all of the same luxuries. But UTSA is a good team with real, live players who can hang with a 1-0 Big Ten team.
It would hardly be a total shock if the Roadrunners pull this off – Sincere McCormick might be the best running back the Illini face all year – but the line is only five and I’m all in on the super-senior loaded team with a win under its belt to keep the momentum going at home.
You’ll have to sweat a bit, but the Illinois lines will come through as the game goes on.
Speaking of Power Five arrogance …