College Football picks against the spread September 1, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Members of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate after winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Members of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate after winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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College Football picks against the spread September 1, 2018

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This is the main course of the college football week 1 feast! We have 31 FBS vs. FBS games on our Saturday! That is plenty of places to make or lose money! This promises to be a busy week in Sin City and New Jersey, and your local sportsbook, legitimate or not. I am usually a little more conservative in week 1, but there are still places that we can look to make a little bit.

For those of you that are new to this, I pick every college football game every week. Not a top five. Not a top ten. All of them. Big deal, right? Lots of people make picks. Well, I do them all against the spread! I take the odds of each game and average them out at all the Vegas casinos and round to the nearest half. There will be no ties here. Ties are for the other football.

I also assign a point value based on the confidence I have in each pick. 1 means that I have little to no confidence. 5 is one I would place a decent wager on. I keep track of my record and my points back from year to year. I went 400-75 last season and ended up with 31 points in my point bank. I am aiming for 55% this year. It’s harder than it looks!

This is for entertainment purposes only! I cannot be responsible for the loss of money, possessions, spouses, or limbs because of my picks. I can’t have that on my conscious.

Without further delay, we get to the meat of week 1!

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NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 25: The Sooner Schooner takes the field after a touchdown against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 59-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Florida Atlantic at (7)Oklahoma(-20.5)(3):

I usually make it a habit not to bet on my team, but this may be too much goodness to pass up. I know the defense is going to be mediocre, especially early on. I also know that FAU is going to be well coached. However, it’s not like Kyler Murray has never played big time college football before. Wrecking ball Rodney Anderson is still in the backfield. Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb are still out there to catch everything thrown. Murray is being handed the keys to a Ferrari. Is he going to drive it, or just cruise through the neighborhood? I say he’s going to drive it! Boomer Sooner!

Oregon State at (5)Ohio State(-38.5)(2):

Wow, that’s a lot of points. A LOT! The Buckeyes didn’t cover most lines like this last year. There is no reason to think they will here with all of the controversy surrounding the coaching staff. This wont be close, but Ohio State will win by closer to 20 than 40. Give me the Beavers.

(23)Texas(-13.5) at Maryland(2):

Vegas has more faith in Texas than I do. Granted, it seems like more than a year ago that Maryland, in particular QB Tyrrell Pigrome, carved up the Texas defense in what was a big upset in Austin. Things have changed. Pigrome tore his ACL late in that game, and is now the dreaded “co-starter” with Kasim Hill. Hey, Texas has the matching shirt! They have co-starters too! Maryland isn’t going to be able to do what they did last year for a variety of reasons, but I’m not sure they run off with this either. I’ll take Maryland.

Kent State at Illinois(-16.5)(2):

Excuse me if I find it a little hard to trust Illinois just yet. They have all the things in place under former NFL head coach Lovie Smith. He has a staff littered with former NFL players and sons of former NFL players playing for him. They also lured in AJ Bush from Virginia Tech to start at quarterback. The potential is here. If Kent weren’t so bad, I would say no way Illinois covers this, but so help me, I think they can……provided the offense can score 17 points. I’ll take Illinois.

Texas State at Rutgers(-16.5)(1):

This line is falling, and it should be. True freshman Artur Sitkowski will take over a team that was arguably the worst power five team last year (sorry Kansas). Things can only get better, right? They should. Texas State only won two games last year, and one was against Houston Baptist. Texas State is also grooming a new QB. This could be one of the worst games you will watch this year if you are so football starved that you watch this thing. Me? I probably will just because I’m a degenerate college football addict. I watched Texas A&M against the Demons of Northwestern State last night just because it was on. Give me Texas State. I doubt either team hits 20.

Coastal Carolina at South Carolina(-29.5)(3):

We will see just how many sun-soaked Myrtle people make the trek in from the coast while it is still summer. Hell, the football team may not even make it. They may just pay tourists to save the wear and tear on the kids that have to play the rest of the season. The result would be the same. This is going to be ugly. SC wins BIG.

Mississippi vs. Texas Tech(-2.5) at Houston(2):

Jordan Ta’amu was good enough to get Patterson to transfer to Michigan. McLane Carter threw 46 passes all of last season, which is like three quarters’ worth in a normal Texas Tech offense. The Red Raiders are just going to reload. We know that. This line has flipped more times that my trust 1977 quarter that I sometimes use to help me pick. I don’t really know why. This looks like a high scoring game that Ole Miss should win. It isn’t that much of a road game. Houston is about equidistant from Oxford and Lubbock. Give me Ole Miss.

Houston(-25.5) at Rice(4):

This is going to be easily the second most interesting game taking place in Houston at this time. I usually avoid lines like this, but Rice looked terrible against Prairie View A&M. Houston is still a high powered offense, and the Houston fans can walk across town to the stadium if they have to. Rice usually plays Houston tough, but the team I saw last week is going to be blown off the field. Give me Houston.

Massachusetts at Boston College(-18.5)(1):

I’m a little surprised that Vegas hasn’t pulled this line. That usually happens when there is this much play in the line. 18.5 is where it opened, but it still varies as much as four points between casinos, some that are just blocks apart. I get the variance. Boston College is the better team, but UMass still has Andrew Ford, so they have a chance. This will be a rivalry if the continue to play it. I’m quite sure that this game is more important to UMass right now. That may show. Give me the Minutemen.

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LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Quarterback Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers scrambles against the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedExField on September 3, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

(6)Washington vs. (9)Auburn(-2.5) at Atlanta(1):

When there is this much play in a line, I take notice. This one opened at -3.5, and is now even in some places. Still, the consensus at the big casinos seems to be -2, so I’ll hang at 2.5. The point is that no one really knows where to go with this. I think Washington is a slightly better team, but Auburn is by no means a bad team and they are closer to home. Honestly, the line doesn’t really matter when the line is this low. I’ll take Washington with little confidence. After all, they have lost ten straight to top ten non conference opponents.

Appalachian State at (10)Penn State(-24.5)(2):

This line opened at 24 and has not move at all. That in itself is strange for week 1 since these lines come out sometimes as far as a month in advance. This is a tough one. Trace McSorely is back, but Saquon Barkley and DeSean Hamilton are both gone, which leaves a big hole in the offense. Appalachian is breaking in a new QB as well, so it’s not a well oiled machine coming in here. I kind of think this stays close, but Penn State’s defense is just too good. That’s why I gave the half. I’ll take it back somewhere else. Give me Penn State.

(17)West Virginia(-9.5) vs. Tennessee at Charlotte(4):

West Virginia returns Will Grier and two of his favorite receivers from a potent offense. Tennessee right now is just a name. Their offense was putrid last year, and they are breaking camp with two QB’s. This doesn’t look good for the Vols. I think West Virginia pulls away in this one. They may double this line. They certainly have the firepower to do so.

Marshall(-1.5) at Miami(OH)(3):

Marshall will enter this game with heavy hearts after losing DT Larry Aaron in the offseason to a New Year’s Eve shooting. They also enter this season trying to replace Chase Litton, who was arguably their best QB since Chad Pennington. Gus Ragland has turned into a pretty good QB for the Redhawks. They aren’t just going to roll over here, but their problem last year was defense. Marshall is going to start rough, but I think the come away with a win. I’ll take the Herd.

Central Michigan at Kentucky(-17.5)(2):

My initial reaction is that this is too many. Then I remembered that Kentucky has Benny Snell. In a conference that was stacked with running backs last year, Snell and his 1,333 rushing yards were largely overlooked. They wont be this year. I don’t care who starts at QB. Both teams are breaking in a new QB. Snell is the difference maker. Give me Kentucky.

Northern Illinois at Iowa(-10.5)(3):

This line is in a freefall, and I would grab it before it gets any lower. The Hawkeyes are left with a big hole where Akrum Wadley used to be. I would say the QB position is a wash between these teams. Both are serviceable options, but neither will change the game. Iowa has a long history of struggling with teams they “should” beat, especially early in the season. I see this offense starting slowly. Slowly enough for NIU to keep this within double digits.

Washington State(-1.5) at Wyoming(2):

I really like what Washington State brings, but can this high powered offense still function at 7,000 feet? We are going to find out! Leach has a stable of receivers there, so I’m not worried about that. I do wonder how the January suicide of Tyler Hilinski will weigh on this team. I tend to think it inspires, but when you find out that your teammate, at just 21 years old, already had CTE, it can get in your head. These factors make me less certain than I would normally be about this, but I still think Wazzu pulls it out behind an underrated defense.

UNLV at (15)USC(-26.5)(2):

Wow, that’s a lot of points. Especially for a team that is starting a true freshman in place of the departed Sam Darnold and a running back committee that not only needs to replace the 261 carries of Ronald Jones, but needs to try to match his production in said carries. UNLV remains largely intact from last year when they played well down the stretch. USC was lost last year until Darnold took the team and ran with it. I see that happening again. They aren’t covering this. Give me UNLV.

North Carolina at California(-7.5)(2):

We shouldn’t see a whole lot of jitters here. Cal returns both Ross Bowers and Patrick Laird, who were a huge part of the offense last year. Nathan Elliott played well for Carolina down the stretch last year, but I think Cal has more offensive weapons and they are at home. I’ll take the Bears.

(22)Boise State(-10.5) at Troy(3):

This looks low. Troy is going to try to replace Brandon Silver, one of the best QB’s they have ever had, against a defense that returns ten starters. Not that Boise’s defense was great last year, but when a unit plays together for an entire year, they get better. Much better. Brett Rypien also returns at QB, and he has the job to himself this time around. I don’t see a blowout here, but I do expect Boise to start strong at make a statement here. Give me Boise.

Old Dominion(-5.5) at Liberty(4):

The Monarchs have held their own at the FBS level for a couple of years now. Liberty gets the advantage of welcoming a FBS team into their home for their first game at this level. Those of you savvy fans may also remember that Liberty beat Baylor in game one last year in Waco. This is a pretty dangerous team. The Monarchs put RB Ray Lawry in the NFL, but Jeremy Cox ran for 621 yards last year, and may be a better receiver. I like the tested Monarchs to give Liberty a proper welcome to FBS. Give me ODU.

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Louisiana Tech(-10.5) at South Alabama(3):

This Louisiana Tech offense barely missed a beat with J’Mar Smith taking over at QB. Smith was not only incredibly efficient, he is also the leading rusher to return to the team. Jaqwis Dancy looked good in limited carries last year. If he can fill the void at running back, this offense wont miss a beat. USA is breaking in a new coach, and still hasn’t really decided on a QB. Give me the Bulldogs.

Cincinnati at UCLA(-14.5)(2):

The thing that I find most amusing about this line is that it dropped two points after Wilton Speight was named the starting QB for UCLA. Some of you may remember just how awful Speight was a Michigan over the last three years. What is UCLA really getting here? Are they that desperate? Or can Harbaugh just not coach? Whatever the reason, UCLA raved about Speight in the spring and again this fall. I’m curious to see how Chip Kelly’s offense works in L.A. and to see if Hayden Moore can carry Cincinnati again. I’ll take the Bruins simply because I don’t know any better.

Indiana(-10.5) at Florida International(3):

Peyton Ramsey got plenty of run as a freshman last year with mixed success. Morgan Ellison led the team in rushing as a freshman. If these guys made any kind of jump between last year and this year, Indiana’s offense is good enough to play with just about anyone. Meanwhile, FIU loses their quarterback and running back. This is a place where Indiana can win big if their defense is any good. However, if you have watched Indiana at all in the last decade, that’s a big if. Give me Indiana until FIU gets acclimated.

(14)Michigan at (12)Notre Dame(EVEN)(3):

I said to anyone that would read last year that Michigan would be dangerous if they had a quarterback. Guess what they got? A quarterback. Shea Patterson was really good with Ole Miss. I see no reason why he wont be here. Give me Michigan.

Middle Tennessee State at Vanderbilt(-2.5)(2):

This line has plummeted, as it should. MTSU beat Vandy a couple of years ago. Vandy isn’t your typical SEC team, and this isn’t your typical Power five vs. small school. These two schools are about 30 miles apart, and this has turned into a very fun rivalry. The loss of Ralph Webb is going to be tough for Vandy, but Kyle Shurmur is a good quarterback. If his receivers can catch passes, this is a winnable game for Vandy. I’ll take the Dores at home.

SMU at North Texas(-4.5)(2):

Wait… North Texas really favored against SMU? Yes! Naming the team after Hall of Fame alumni Joe Greene wasn’t enough. North Texas is giving Mean Joe his own statue outside the stadium. QB Mason Fine may end up with a statue right beside him if he keeps doing what he’s doing. Fine threw for 4,052 yards last year. This is a very dangerous offense against a porous SMU defense. Does SMU even have a chance? Any time they have Ben Hicks and Xavier Jones in uniform, absolutely! They are going to need a Texas-sized scoreboard to handle all this scoring, but I think UNT pulls this out at home. I’m more comfortable betting the over at 71 if that tells you anything.

Louisville at (1)Alabama(-24.5)(5):

This looks low. Alabama is stuck with two quarterbacks who could literally start anywhere. Louisville might not even have one. We know how lackluster the supporting cast around Lamar Jackson was last year. Why would Louisville be able to hang here? I smell blowout. I’m going to go ahead and make this my lock. Roll Tide!

Bowling Green at (24)Oregon(-32.5)(2):

That’s a lot of points, but Oregon won a bowl game they they probably had no business being in in the first place. This offense is still a force to be reckoned with, and the Falcons flirted with my bottom five all season long. Oregon runs off with this one. I’m taking them even with this massive spread.

Akron at Nebraska(-25.5)(2):

Maybe someone should tell the people betting this game that Scott Frost isn’t playing in the game. He’s just the coach. This line is up five points already, and could be higher by kickoff. What I see here is Nebraska starting a freshman QB, and leading rusher Tre Bryant’s career may be over. I do like Devine Ozigbo, but can he outscore Akron by 26 on his own? No. Nebraska is going to win without much of a problem, but this offense isn’t going to be explosive just yet. Give me Akron.

UTSA at Arizona State(-17.5)(3):

The Roadrunners hung with Arizona State a couple of years ago, but with a new QB, that likely wont happen here. Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard are both gone, but Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry are back. UTSA can’t cover Harry. He could have a huge game here. Give me Sparky.

BYU at Arizona(-11.5)(2):

Tanner Mangum will be back (isn’t that guy like 35??) starting for BYU again, but I’m more interested in the other side of the ball. Like how in the world is BYU going to stop Khalil Tate. They aren’t. That’s the simple answer. This line is bouncing quite a bit, and is even down to 10 in some places after opening at 15.5. BYU only won four games last year, and I don’t see where they are that much better anywhere in the lineup. Give me Arizona.

Navy(-11.5) at Hawaii(3):

This line plummeted after Hawaii’s showing against Colorado State in the opener. After what the Ralphies did to the Rams last night, maybe it wasn’t such a crowning achievement. That said, this Hawaii team has some athletes, and Colt McDonald looked pretty good in that game. The problem is that Hawaii’s defense is going to have a serious problem with this option. Zach Abey and Malcolm Perry both return. That’s a whole lot of offense. I’ll take Navy.

(8)Miami(FL)(-3.5) vs. (25)LSU at Jerry World(2):

Miami returns a lot, LSU returns practically nothing. LSU always reloads, but there could be a period of learning. Unfortunately for these Tigers, it comes against a top ten team. On paper, Miami is going to win this game fairly easily. However, Death Valley at night is a very tough place. So I will just lower the bet. Give me Miami.

(20)Virginia Tech at (19)Florida State(-6.5)(1):

Josh Jackson did pretty much everything as a freshman for the Hokies, and he is going to have to again. Deondre Francois is back after a lost season last year. Word out of camp is that he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. We know how good the Seminoles looked with him in there, but how much of it was Francois and how much of it was the supporting cast? This is a really tough one to pick because I know that FSU is going to be a lot better than last year just because of Francois. Virginia Tech’s lack of a running game is going to hurt them. I do think this stays close, so I’ll take Virginia Tech.

ESPN College Pick Em Picks Week 1. dark. Next

That leaves us with a total of 46 FBS vs. FBS games between last weekend and this weekend. I ended up with eight one pointers, 22 two pointers, 11 three pointers, four four pointers and just one five point bet. Going conservative in week 1 is not a sign of weakness. Good luck out there!