It’s back! Week One of the 2021 college football season is finally here, which means we at The Alabama Take are all set to give you some of the best against-the-spread picks of the season. No offense to Week 0, whatever that is, but this week is a full slate of quality college football! And here, every Friday afternoon, two Takers give their best guess at the best bets with the lowest stress. Here, after a year away, begins once again the college football picks of the week!
2019 ATS Record (note: no picks were made in 2020)
Blaine Duncan: 30-14-1 (67%)
TD Wood: 21-28-2 (41%)
The first week of betting really does feel like throwing darts in the dark at what you assume is a board made for such things as dart throwing. Other than a few games last week, there’s not a lot of information on how teams will do in real game circumstances; and even then, it’s hazy: does the UCLA win last week mean much against LSU, for example? Are LSU going to be as bad as they were last year? It’ll play out soon. Here’s where I’ll put my money.
Army (+2) at Georgia State — I’ll go off the radar for my first pick, which opened with with Army+4 and felt like a steal. Maybe I’m jumping in too late. A common rule is not to pick a dog unless you feel like that team can win outright and not just beat the spread. I think Army comes in and does their complex run game and the Panthers can’t stop it and the Knights go out with a solid win in Week One. Georgia State will pass and pass often, but Army will run, run, run, and run.
Stanford at Kansas State (-3.5) — I like Kansas State now that they have some potent offensive players, namely the QB Skylar Thompson, back this year after injuries. Add that to the fact that the Cardinal just hasn’t been a top-tier program in the last couple of years. I’m not sure what’s happening with the team or head coach David Shaw, who’s normally a good coach, but they aren’t battling for PAC-12 leadership like they once were. The Wildcats just need a touchdown to cover here, and playing at home should allow that against a team that just hasn’t sparked any enthusiasm from me.
Georgia vs Clemson (-3) (in Charlotte) — In all honesty, stay away from this game. It’s got either/or written on it. With that said, what has Kirby Smart shown in big games other than he tends to lose them by playing safe down the stretch? And is there a bigger game over the next three weeks? All eyes are on this one, and Dabo’s been here before; but, by God, ain’t them Clemson Tigers been picked on, though?! Them poor things! Anyways, despite Dabo’s dumbassery, he does have a QB who’s started a few games last season and a team that’s ready. Georgia will be great and this very well could be their only loss this season. Their QB and defense will do amazing things, but the Tigers have been here a lot.
That 2019 percentage is an embarrassment. A great collection of games on the docket for the true opening weekend. A shame I couldn’t pick against Tennessee, as they played Bowling Green Thursday night (and failed to cover). This week’s big one is a doozy and a possible playoff preview.
Florida Atlantic at Florida (-23.5) — The Gators are flying a bit under the radar, and I expect some style points from
Dan Stan Mullins’ squad.
BYU (-13) vs Arizona (in Las Vegas) — No Zach Wilson, no problem for the Cougars. This is a good program who almost became the first “outsider” to get into the CFP. Meanwhile, Arizona hasn’t won a game since October 5, 2019.
*Game of the Week* Georgia (+3) vs Clemson (in Charlotte) — If not now, then when, Dawgs? They have the talent. They think they have the quarterback. Now they just gotta get that big win.
Note: All games are Against the Spread. Odds are taken from the Vegas Insider and the site’s consensus.