This past weekend I gave my best win totals bets for 2019. But for those that like to gamble on a weekly basis, waiting all season for one bet won’t do! Here’s my top-5 picks for the first week of college football.
*Picks in italics, odds courtesy of FanDuel.
#1 - Hawaii (+11) vs. Arizona
I’m going with Hawaii to cover the point-spread in ‘week 0’ of college football. I’m not saying Hawaii is going to win here, but that is a lot of points to give a home team in the first game of the season. The line opened with Arizona being favored at just over a touchdown (8.5 points) and has quickly ballooned too high. I think Cole McDonald and Hawaii’s offense are going to be able to score against this Arizona team. For Arizona, Khalil Tate, will obviously be healthy and ready to put on a show so look for this one to be a shootout.
Hawaii’s offense is the main reason to be optimistic. They return nine starters from an offense that averaged over 30 points a game. Their quarterback (McDonald) threw for 3,900 yards and 36 TDs despite battling injuries in 2018. Hawaii’s defense wasn’t great last season, but they return their top-three tacklers. Also Arizona is 5-16 against the spread (ATS) in their last 21 road games.
#2 - Boise State (+5) vs. Florida State
Boise State and Florida State have never faced each other. Both programs are coming off somewhat of a disappointing season, but Boise State won twice as many games as FSU. Willie Taggart is expected to get the Seminoles on the right track, but they stumbled to five wins in his first season. Boise State is breaking in a new quarterback and lose some production on both sides of the balls. Giving the Broncos five points this early in the season? Good luck to Florida State here, but I’m taking the Broncos. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boise State won this game outright.
#3 - Wake Forest (-3) vs. Utah State
Despite being favored against Gary Andersen and Utah State; as a die-hard Beaver fan I can’t help but bet against the Aggies here. Utah State returns a stud quarterback, but they need to replace four new starters on the offensive line and most of their top receiving weapons from 2018. Wake Forest has a strong linebacking corps and excellent wide receivers that will pressure Utah State’s secondary. I think Wake Forest will come away with a comfortable win.
#4 - Oregon State (+15.5) vs. Oklahoma State
Here’s the match-up that Beaver fans are most excited about! Oklahoma State is a very good team, but they are replacing a bunch of guys on a defense that struggled in 2018. The Cowboys are relying on a few transfers to fill in, but they’re linebackers are the most untested.
Most are predicting a shootout in Corvallis and both offenses are more heralded than their defensive counterparts. I still think Oklahoma State will walk away with a victory, but look for the Beavers to lean on Jermar Jefferson and control the clock as they keep their defense fresh. This game will be closer, than the odds makers are predicting. Take the Oregon State and the points in their first game.
#5 - Northwestern (+6.5) vs. Stanford
Both of these teams are physical, grind-it-out type football teams. Northwestern has some talented skill position players though and Clemson transfer, Hunter Johnson, is expected to start at quarterback. If Stanford’s secondary can’t hold their own, look for Northwestern to upset Stanford in week 1. Stanford has a talented quarterback in their own right and this should be a fun game. Stanford can sometimes struggle early in the season before turning it on late, so I’m expecting more of the same here.
Another game I’m looking forward to is Utah vs. BYU. The Utes face their rivals early in the season on the road. Anything can happen in a rivalry game, but Utah is the favorite. Have some fun watching the first week of college football everybody!