The College Football season is finally here and even though the Hoos don’t kick off for another week, I figured I’d still jump right into the betting action. I’ll be looking to improve on my 59-47-1 record last year, though 56% if still pretty good. Let’s get going with the picks.
Picking this first week is going to be a challenge as we have no idea how teams will come out of the gate. Therefore, I’m going to rely heavily on my preseason win total predictions. I expect UNC to be one of the best teams in the league, while Syracuse will be one of the worst. Syracuse’s defense disappointed last year. This year I have no expectations for that unit to be much better. I like the continuity and explosive talent for the Tar Heels and Sam Howell and company should cook in their first game out.
Pick: UNC -23
While it’s nice to have ACC match ups in our first weekend (as opposed to 10 games with FCS opponents), this is another matchup of the top and bottom of the league. Duke is generally competitive and I’ll imagine they look prepared out of the gate, but Notre Dame will just be too much. Duke’s pass rush will keep quarterback Ian Book in check, but the Blue Devils won’t be able to stop the Fighting Irish run game. The clock will run, Notre Dame will win, but this one doesn’t go over 54.
Pick: Under 54
One team breaking in a new coach, another team still transitioning from a major offensive scheme change. This line is a little tighter than you might think on paper. I think both teams comes out a bit rusty and I think the best unit on the field is the Florida State defense. 52 points is outrageous.
Pick: Under 52
Austin Peay Governors @ Pittsburgh Panthers
Pitt -27.5; Over/Under 49
Pitt’s defense should be amazing this season, but the question with the Panthers always comes down whether they can put up enough points. Enter new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and I think Pitt will be better on the offensive end, but I think there could be some rust early. Austin Peay, while an FCS team, already has a game under their belts. They’ll be a little more game ready and won’t get trucked.
Pick: Austin Peay +27.5
If this were last season, I would say I liked Wake to be able to keep this one “close” just by virtue of their explosive offense. Unfortunately, the likes of Jamie Newman and Sage Surratt are gone, leaving a not-so-good defense with an offense not as likely to bail them out. Clemson may not be clicking right off the bat, but I don’t expect them to take their foot off the gas late as Trevor Lawrence will take every chance to pad his Heisman profile.
Pick: Clemson -33
It may not jump off the page at you, but this game should be really good. Western Kentucky comes into the game with one of the best non-Power Five defenses in the country. So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an impenetrable object? Given that the Cardinals aren’t an extremely fast paced team as they rely on a balance run/pass game, I like the scoring to stay low. Western Kentucky won’t roll over and the game should be close throughout.
Pick: Under 58