10 best predictions for the first big Saturday of college football. What games appear to be the best bets and best picks for Week 1’s Saturday games?
Seriously, what more could you have possibly wanted out of the first batch of games?
This is done before the Friday slate, so it all might change in a snap, but from Central Michigan’s monster cover comeback against Oklahoma State, a late stop by Nevada against New Mexico State, and thriller after thriller for the investment community, this has been a blast so far.
But now the fun is over.
We’ve had a few laughs, enjoyed the fine banter, had a few drinks, and now it’s time to get serious. It’s the first big Saturday of the college football season, and with that are the 10 best picks against the spread – with a few more thrown into the mix for giggles.
There’s a theme for the first five picks – do we believe in this thing or not?
After all the blather and hype and talk this offseason, do I really believe in these teams, or not? You’ll see what I’m talking about starting with …
Results So Far: 8-1-1
Click on each game for the preview
10. Rice at USC
LINE USC -32.5
ATS PICK USC
It’s not possible to go more unabashed fanboy than I did over USC these past seven months.
The unbelievable array of talent brought in by Lincoln Riley might have been the most underappreciated and underanalyzed big thing that happened this offseason – seriously, it’s as if no one quite realizes the all-star two-deep USC now has.
Do I believe in this USC thing or not? I’ve totally bought in, even though giving away 32.5 to a potted plant would scare me.
In the grand opening. I want the show, and I’m going to get the show.
LINE NC State -11.5
ATS PICK NC State
I’m very well aware that East Carolina is one of those programs that rises up at home once in a while and screws things up for the big name team.
QB Holton Ahlers has been around for forever, the Pirate team that went bowling last year is better this season, and …
I believe in NC State.
I can’t very well go around screaming that Clemson is the star of the ACC – more on that in a moment – NC State is 2, and everyone else gets lumped together if I don’t go with the Pack -11.5 now.
If you really think this defense is that good, and you should, assume the season starts strong, even on the road, with a great performance. Speaking of which …
LINE Houston -4.5
ATS PICK Houston
Blah, blah, blah – Houston is going to go to the New Year’s Six, it might be this year’s Cincinnati, it’s going to blow up before going to the Big 12, and on and on and on.
I couldn’t have talked up Houston any more than I did this whole offseason.
UTSA is loaded with experience and talent – even without star RB Sincere McCormick – it’s a home game, and the place should have the energy to get both sides fired up.
But it”s only 4.5 points – I had better believe at that line.
Any Group of Five program that can even think about being this year’s big thing shouldn’t have a problem taking down the Roadrunners – as good as they are – by at least a touchdown without breathing hard.
LINE Ohio State -17
ATS PICK Notre Dame
Oh Notre Dame. That Little Engine That Could program travels to Columbus to collect its paycheck, catch a beating, and leave.
It’ll be a miracle if the team even gets off the bus, right?
No, I don’t deep down somewhere in my soul believe that the Irish will pull this off – not like I sort of do when it comes to the underdog with the next pick – but I do think it’s solid enough in all phases to hold up and make this a fight.
The Buckeyes will win, but I’m having a hard time fully believing it’ll be a total wipeout – the Irish lines are too good and the secondary too solid – until it happens.
LINE Georgia -17
ATS PICK Oregon
As I’ve said time and again over these last few weeks, if Georgia comes out and rolls 44-2, I’ll eat it. Obviously, a rocking win by the defending national champs would hardly be shocking. But …
Do I believe that Oregon has the best linebacking corps in the country? It’s at least close.
Do I believe the lines are good enough to hold up, and Stetson Bennett has a three-interception game inside of him just waiting to come out? Yeah, and maybe.
Do I like that Oregon is a 17-point underdog, even though it might just be the best team in the Pac-12? Love it.
(BTW, I can’t fully dive in on this, but Oregon +625 on the money line in some places?! Just sayin’ … )