Week 1 College Football Picks
The best part of Week 1 is that Week 0 is gone, dead, and buried. Horrendous football but we all happily watched the dumpster fires. I went 2-1 (+1 unit) as Miami/Florida 1st half under 24 hit and over 71 in the late night Hawaii/Arizona game. Had Miami +240 on the money line that lost. To be honest, I have no clue if I was on the right side or wrong side of that bet. Damn that game was painful. I didn’t post an official Week 0 article but tweeted out the plays (follow me at @VWOJoel and follow the site @VegasWriteOff).
From now through the rest of the season each week I’ll post my college football picks on Wednesday and NFL on Thursday. Follow along for picks sure to be wrong. Enough shitdickin’...here are the Week 1 picks.
**All lines used below are from Bovada.
Oregon/Auburn - First Half Under 28 (-115) and Oregon ML +140
If you read my College Football Season Win Totals column you already know I’m not high on Auburn. Malzahn recently announced he’s starting 5-start true freshman Bo Nix at QB. As a general rule, I love first half unders with teams starting a true freshman QB in their first game. Not to mention, this is an extremely tough ask in Nix’s first start. Oregon’s defense returns 7 starters from a unit that allowed 27 ppg last year and added #1 overall recruit in DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. Auburn’s defense is absolutely elite and Oregon travels across the country to play in AT&T Stadium. And you often see offenses struggle early in their first game. Therefore, the first half under it is.
I’m also taking Oregon to win the game. This isn’t overly complicated...I just think Oregon is better. The crowd will certainly favor Auburn, but I love Justin Herbert and think he makes enough plays to win the game. Oregon has arguably the best OL in the country but they’ll need it against Derrick Brown and the Auburn front. Again, as I stated above, this feels like a tough ask from Bo Nix. Give me the team with the potential #1 pick in the NFL draft.
Northwestern at Stanford - First Half Under 23.5 (-110)
Obviously if you can get this at 24, by all means. But I’m taking it regardless. KJ Costello returns for Stanford but they lose Bryce Love, their 3 top WRs (including JJ Arcega-Whiteside), and 3 starters from the OL. That’s a ton to replace and it takes time to gel. For Northwestern, they’re forced to travel across the country and they still haven’t named an official starting QB (Hunter Johnson and TJ Green are listed as ‘OR’). If they go into this game playing 2 QBs, which seems likely at this point, I like this play even more. The game total is 47...that might be worth a play too. Seven total touchdowns for the over seems unlikely.
Purdue at Nevada Under 59 (-110)
Purdue opens up the season by traveling across the country to play in Reno. The Boilers lose David Blough but Elijah Sindelar should fill in fine at QB. Obviously, Rondale Moore returns but they lose a ton at RB and 4 starters on the OL. Defensively they should be strong as they return 9 starters to a unit that gave up 30 ppg last season. Nevada is very inexperienced, returning just 10 starters, 6 on offense and 4 on defense. Purdue should have plenty of defense to slow down Nevada and given Purdue's lack of experience on offense, I don’t see them putting up 35+. Oh, and by the way, Purdue has gone under in 10 of their last 11 road games. So there’s that.
Syracuse at Liberty Over 68 (-110)
Syracuse opens on the road against a Group of 5 opponent for the second straight season. Last year they went on the road and won 55-42 against Western Michigan. This year they travel to Liberty to face a Flames team that averaged 33 ppg last season and over 420 ypg. Enter, Hugh Freeze (I’m still not over the irony of him at Liberty) and an offense that should play even faster than Turner Gill did last season. We know Babers and Syracuse will play uptempo as they value a ton of possessions. Syracuse does return 9 starters on defense which was probably the one spot that gave me pause. But I think Liberty can score with Syracuse and I’m really high on Syracuse’s Sophomore QB Tommy DeVito.
Georgia -21 (-110) at Vanderbilt
I’m not sure Vanderbilt scores more than 10 points. I feel very confident that Georgia scores 35+. So there you go. Easy math on the cover. Vanderbilt hasn’t named a starting QB as Deuce Wallace and Riley Neal (Ball State transfer) continue to battle. If that’s where you’re at in your QB race, opening with Georgia is a bad spot. And for as much as people love Ke’Shawn Vaughn he averaged less than 50 ypg against Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and Notre Dame last year. He had monster games against much poorer defenses: Baylor (243 yards), Ole Miss (127 yards), Missouri (182 yards), Arkansas (172 yards), and Tennessee State (146 yards). Not to mention he loses 3 starters along the offensive line. I like Georgia. Bigly.