I’m back! And hopefully, for you and for me, better than ever. If you followed me last season you saw a winning season in both the NFL and NCAA, giving you free NCAA and NFL winners for absolutely FREE. When I say Free Picks, I mean Free Picks, I made nothing, you gave nothing, we’re talking real Free, not some small print excluded kind of free that gets your hopes up right before crushing you with reality. The good free. The big story here? I’m back for some more free picks, write-ups, and best of all, heaps and heaps of flipping winners. College Football’s Week 1 is always a big deal, it means football is here, the NFL is damn close, and that nice warm weather that kept you warm (and less pale) for the last four months is just about finished. But the cooler nights allows me to smell some football. And with a bigger whiff I smell some winners. And that smell, more than anything, makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Here’s 10 bets for Opening Week… Enjoy!
Oregon Ducks @ Boise State Broncos (OVER 64): Here’s the deal. The Ducks went out big last year, winning a few games to end their season, then busting Oklahoma State in the mouth on their way to a big bowl win over the heavily favored Cowboys. Hooray last year. The Ducks also return their stud starting quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, a beast of a running back in LeGarrette Blount, and a few big boys on the line among others. What they lose, however, is some punch in their secondary and that could really hurt against a Broncos team that knows how to pick apart defenses. Boise State has some athletes of their own, helping Kellen Moore put points on the board will be Jeremy Avery, Jeremy Childs, and a huge play guy in Titus Young – a receiver that just happens to be one of the quickest players in the land. You throw in the blue turf, an Oregon team “trying to prove themselves and make up for last years loss to Boise State in Oregon” and I think the Broncos have the comfort level in this one. While I like the Broncos to win, and likely cover the 4 point spread in this one, I like the OVER even more. Oregon scored over 30 points in 11 of their 13 games, and I don’t think the Broncos will hold them much lower than that. The Ducks give up points too, allowing 30 or more to each ranked team they played in 2008. This game should light up the scoreboard, take advantage of that, it’s the best bet in this game.
South Carolina Gamecocks (+5) @ North Carolina State Wolfpack: Did South Carolina get that much worse in the last year? I don’t see Steve Spurrier’s team doing that. In fact, I think they’ve gotten a little better. Has North Carolina State become a powerhouse this summer, losing their best defensive player for the season? I think they’ll be decent in 2009, but they’re not a great team. The Gamecocks beat NC State 34-0 last season. They played tough against just about every single team they played until injuries broke them down and they lost 3 straight to end their season. Spurrier is a bit of a donkey, don’t get me wrong, but he’s one hell of a coach, offensive genius, and recruiter. His Gamecocks will get big contributions from freshman, a better season out of the quarterback position, and an upset win at NC State this Thursday Night.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (-6.5) @ Syracuse Orange: This game seems too easy. Does that put a little scare in a guy? Sure, from time to time, but the books are busy, certainly, and doing all those pre-season games, getting lines up for Week 1 in the NFL, getting proper lines for every single college game to start the season, shoot, it has to be tough. So they miss a line now and again. I’d take the Gophers at -14 in this one, so less than a touchdown favorite seems like free money. You know what I think about free money? Take it before it’s not free anymore. Sportsbook still has the Gophers favored by less than a TD, it doesn’t get much easier than that. The Orange are starting a quarterback that hasn’t played football in 4 years, and just transferred from Duke to Syracuse this spring. Greg Paulus, Duke’s old PG, is now the starting QB for Syracuse. Come on. This is Tim Brewsters’ 3rd season as the head coach of the Gophers, this will be his best season yet. The Gophers can really run the football, and the Orange are terrible at stopping the run. Look for the Gophers to start their season off right.
Baylor Bears @ Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (-2.5): This line seems to be moving towards the visiting team. I think the Deacons will win, but the hype is with the Bears. They have a young QB that lit up the conference last season, but I still give the nod at that position to 4 year starter Riley Skinner – the guy has a scope on his arm. Wake loses a lot offensively with Demir Boldin’s graduation, but there’s talent there, and like I said, Skinner is a sniper. Wake struggled a lot last season, playing way below their expectations, and I think that flips this season. The opposite can be said for Baylor. The Bears don’t play well on the road, they look like everybody’s favorite sleeper team this season, and I’m not buying in. I’ll take the Deacons.
BYU Cougars @ Oklahoma Sooners (-22): BYU didn’t get better, and last year they got pretty well kicked around by every “Good” team they played, at least final score wise. Arizona was decent, they won by 10. Utah was good, they won by 24. TCU was good, they won by 25. You get the picture? Oklahoma returns a load of great players, 1st round pick in the NFL type players, best QB in the land type players – so despite the high number, despite BYU’s returning players and big game hopes, I like the Sooners to beat up the Cougars by 30 or so.
Virginia Tech Hokies (+6.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide: The ACC gets not love, and that’s fine, I’ll just ride them toward some bags of money. The Hokies have a good enough defense to go with them as a 6.5 point dog against anybody in the nation, especially a run first team that lost 3 starting offensive linemen, their starting quarterback, and starting running back. I’m not sure that the Hokies are a Top 5 team, but I really don’t think Alabama will finish the season in the Top 15, not that rankings matter at all, but I’m basically saying the Hokies are the better team.
Maryland Terrapins (+21.5) @ California Golden Bears: I’m taking the Terps because 25 is too high. The Terps play close as dogs, and I think the Bears are a little overrated, even though Jahvid Best is an absolute beast. I think the Bears win by 10, maybe 14, but not more than three touchdowns.
LSU Tigers (-17.5) @ Washington Huskies: If the Tigers promise that they won’t throw the ball, and the Huskies get to stack 11 people in the box, and their new head coach just for shiggles, the Tigers will still run all over the Huskies in Seattle. The talent difference on the field should look like a college team playing a pro team. Do I think the Huskies will be better this year? You bet. Will they be good enough to make this game respectable? No chance. I would be stunned, absolutely pissed on, if the Huskies finish within four touchdowns of the Tigers.
Mississippi Rebels (-16.5) @ Memphis Tigers: Anybody worth anything hammered Memphis last season. The Rebels were one of those teams. This year, the Rebels are a year older, and that has made them a more complete team, stronger in a lot of places that help you destroy teams like Memphis. Ole Miss isn’t used to being in the Top 10, that’s for sure, and a couple games this season, those expectations are going to hurt them. Not in this game, that won’t hold them back.
Miami Hurricanes (+6.5) @ Florida State Seminoles: I think Miami’s the better team. There it is. This game is always a huge rivalry game, but I must say that it has to mean more to Miami. This is their very best chance for a win in the first four games of the season. After FSU it’s Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma. It doesn’t get easier after this game, that’s what I’m saying. So, I think they’ll have a little urgency, something that FSU won’t be ready for. I also think Jacory Harris is special, and that this Miami team is going to be very talented this season. Almost a touchdown dog in this big in-state rivalry game? I like them to cover here.