Let’s be clear: we are not experts. If you go by these, you’re bound to lose money, maybe a lot. But who knows? Each week, a few writers at The Alabama Take give their best guess at the best bets with the lowest stress. It’s our college football picks of the week!
2018 ATS Record
Blaine Duncan: 1-1 (Week One: 1-1)
T.D. Wood: 1-2 (Week One: 1-2)
Playing the over is a lot of fun and in the case of last week, it proved fruitful for me in the Ole Miss/Texas Tech game. I’ll take going 50% for Week One since there are always question marks going into that first round of games. For example, I didn’t think Ohio State would function at such a high level as they did without their head coach, but that goes to show you that it’s more about the players and less about the schemes. With that said, here are my bets for this week.
UCLA (+30) at Oklahoma: The Sooners looked dominant at home last week against an over matched FAU team. It’s likely that they’re overvalued here for scoring 60 plus points last Saturday, and the Bruins are likely undervalued for losing to Cincinnati. UCLA won’t come close to winning — there’s still a lot of kinks to work out under first-year coach Chip Kelly — but they’ll keep the game within 25 or 27 points.
Southern Cal at Stanford (-6): Stanford has a nice setup at quarterback this year, and winning by a touchdown seems logical for the Cardinal at home, even if does have to come against USC. The Trojans have struggled of late as underdogs, and I can’t see them getting a victory here.
Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh: I’m probably gambling a little too loosely here by picking two different teams on the road this week, but Penn State has to be pissed after their showing against Appalachian State. They’re undervalued due to that performance and can beat Pitt by three touchdowns easily. It’s a night game on a rival’s field. Penn State takes it to poor Pitt to show the rest of the college football world that they’re contenders. Penn State wins by at least 14 points. Bank on it.
Thank you Virginia Tech for saving me from an opening-week shutout. The lesson as always: never trust Mark Richt or Michigan. Let’s see what stupid picks I can make this week.
Mississippi State (-7.5) at Kansas State: There are certainly signs that this game could be a classic K-State upset in Manhattan, KS. They had a poor showing last week against an FCS foe, and people are overlooking them. But this Bulldog team feels different, and the talent in maroon and white should handle business on the road. The Wildcats might put a scare into the visitors, but Miss. St. should pull away late.
Georgia at South Carolina (+10): I’m a little wary making this pick because the Gamecocks are getting just a little too much love in the press, but this still feels like a tight one. The Dawgs have won the last three in the series, but South Carolina is always a tough matchup for UGA and should keep this close until Georgia’s depth overcomes.
Clemson at Texas A&M (+12): The Aggies really have no business hanging around in this matchup, but Jimbo Fisher will be eager to look like he’s worth the money A&M paid to get him. Kyle Field is always a tough place to play, and you know the home crowd will be amped up for the first big game of the new era.
Note: All games are Against the Spread. Odds are taken from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.