Week 1! To keep up with our results for the year, and for each game that we’ve picked, please visit our Gambling Picks page.
Northwestern (+1.5) @ Purdue (Thursday / 7pm / ESPN)
- This line opened at Purdue -3, which is when I grabbed it. Yes, the line is moving against us, but as long as Northwestern is catching points, I feel good about this one. Pat Fitzgerald’s team has the longest current winning streak in the country (8 games), and they’ve got the most experience coming back. Not to mention the Wildcats are 9-5 straight up on the road over the last 3 seasons. Northwestern will slow down this game, cut down the number of possessions, and make this a slug fest, which Purdue is not equipped to win just yet. I like Brohm’s team, but I like Fitzgerald’s more.
Boise St @ Troy (+10.5) (Saturday / 5pm / ESPNNEWS)
- This should be a defensive football game, even with Boise returning QB Brett Rypien. It’s supposed be hot and muggy in Troy on Saturday, with a humidity around 80%. Boise, ID’s average humidity is around 25-30%. In a low scoring, defensive struggle, look for the team that can run the ball better – Troy averaged 4.7 ypc in 2017, and Boise averaged 3.78 ypc… although things were definitely different in the Trojans’ visit to the blue field in last season’s opener, but I think things will be different again this year down in south Alabama, with Troy returning 4 of 5 starters on the O-Line, along with a very talented, even if they’re inexperienced, stable of running backs.
- Also worth noting… Troy coach Neal Brown is 7-2-1 against the spread as an underdog. Including 3-0-1 the last 2 seasons.
MTSU @ Vandy (-2.5) (Saturday / 6:30pm / SEC Network+)
- This line opened at Vandy -7, and has dropped more than 4 points in favor of Middle Tennessee St. I don’t quite understand that. Vandy’s average national recruiting ranking over the last 3 years is 48. MTSU’s is 95. Vandy has the talent advantage, the size advantage on the lines, and Vandy has won this matchup the last 2 seasons – 28-6 in 2017 and 47-24 in 2016 – with the same point spread (3). I expect Vanderbilt to handle MTSU fairly easily Saturday night.
BYU @ Arizona (-11.5) (Saturday / 9:45pm / ESPN)
- The Arizona rushing attack was #3 in the country last season. BYU has size on the DL, but they finished #44 against the run last year, en route to a 4-9 season, including multiple games where they gave up more than 250 rushing yards. Kevin Sumlin’s new team will try to impress in his first home game, and Khalil Tate should run wild in this one. The line has moved towards BYU, as it opened at -13.5 and has been bet down to -11.5. If you haven’t followed us before, you’ll know I love going against the public because there’s always money to be made. This is another example.
Ole Miss (+2.5) vs Texas Tech (Saturday / 11am / ESPN)
- This line opened up as Ole Miss favored by 2 points. It’s been bet down to where Texas Tech is now favored by 2.5, I would imagine because people assume that this will be a Texas Tech home game. I’ll let you in on a secret though… Houston, TX is about a 9 hour drive from Oxford, MS, and about an 8 and a half hour drive from Lubbock, TX. Texas Tech’s defense improved last season… but they were still #105 out of 130 teams in total defense, and were #123 in the country in passing defense, giving up an average of 282 ypg through the air. Ole Miss will score at will on this defense with an experienced, and more talented, offensive line, QB, and WR corp. Texas Tech will put up points, but it won’t be enough to keep Ole Miss from getting the W.
Washington St @ Wyoming (+1.5) (Saturday / 2:30pm / CBSSN)
- Mike Leach’s team is in a rebuilding year, after losing big time QB Luke Falk and the tragic passing of QB Tyler Hilinski, who would have been this year’s starting qb. On top of that, the Cougars lost defensive coordinator, Alex Grinich, to Ohio St, after he built a pretty good defense in Pullman. Former Minnesota coach, Tracy Claeys, is the new DC, but I believe it will take a little while to build that defensive chemistry again. Craig Bohl’s Wyoming Cowboys looked like the real deal after only giving up something crazy like 50 yards at New Mexico St last week, and the offense couldn’t help but remind you of what Bohl built during multiple FCS national title runs at North Dakota St. I look for Wyoming to slow down Washington St in this one, by keeping the ball on the ground and lowering the number of possessions enough to pull out a huge win at home in Laramie, WY. Oh, and on top of that, Washington St – before last season’s 31-0 win over Montana St – had lost the last 4 straight season openers, against such powerhouses as Eastern Washington, Portland St, Rutgers, and Auburn. They were big favorites against EWU, Portland St, and Rutgers.
Michigan (PK) @ Notre Dame (Saturday / 6:30pm / NBC)
- New Michigan OL coach Ed Warriner will be the story after this game. Jim Harbaugh has had OL troubles ever since he got to Ann Arbor, but if Warriner’s group can open holes for the running game, that will buy new QB Shea Patterson enough time to find open receivers against a Notre Dame secondary that finished #53 in the country against the pass in 2017. I don’t trust ND QB Brandon Wimbush against Don Brown’s Michigan defense, which returns 9 starters from a group that finished #3 in the country in total defense last season. Notre Dame also lost DC Mike Elko, who I believe is a defensive genius, to Texas A&M in the offseason, and although Clark Lea learned under Elko in one season at Wake Forest, and last season in South Bend, I don’t believe that his first ever game calling a defense will result in a W. Give me Michigan to win this game to take a little heat off of Harbaugh after 2017’s lackluster 8-5 record