DISCLAIMER: This Series is called “Bad Gambling Advice.” Should you rely on this post to bet actual money on the outcomes of sporting events, that is your fault, not mine. After all, this post is titled “Bad Gambling Advice,” and what part of “Bad Gambling Advice” do you not understand?
Somehow, my Week 0 picks went 2-0: Florida beat Miami, 24-20, failing to cover the 7.5-point spread and also hitting the Under.
Clearly, this cannot last. This weekly column is, after all, titled “Bad Gambling Advice,” and there is no way that bad gambling advice will continue to be winning gambling advice. Therefore, take these picks with a grain of salt.
Texas State at Texas A&M (Thursday, 7:30 PM CT, SEC Network)
Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuursday night curtain-jerker here. The SEC Network gets its college football season kicked off with the Texas State
Fighting Armadillos Bobcats making the short trip over to College Station, where Jimbo Fisher is entering his second season with his team getting a ton of hype that probably won’t be met. But that doesn’t seem particularly relevant in the season opener against an overmatched Texas State team. I normally don’t love big lines, but I feel comfortable taking Texas A&M and giving 32 points. I will also take Under 57.5, because while I think the Aggies are capable of putting up points, I don’t feel the same way about Texas State. This will end with a final of something like 49-7.
Ole Miss at Memphis (Saturday, 11:00 AM CT, ABC)
What are you doing with this, Ole Miss? Why are you opening your season in the Liberty Bowl? Anyway, Ole Miss probably hasn’t completely fixed its defensive issues in spite of changing coordinators. And the Rebels are breaking in a new QB, redshirt freshman Matt Corral. I am honestly at a loss to figure out how Memphis is only a 5-point favorite, and I will take the Tigers and lay the points all day. And given that Memphis can score points and Ole Miss can’t stop anyone... Over 66.5 is the play here, right?
Toledo at Kentucky (11:00 AM CT, SEC Network)
I’ve probably made it obvious that I don’t think much of Kentucky entering this season, so a pretty good Toledo getting 12 points feels like a gift. And Kentucky struggled to score points with Benny Snell last year; how exactly are they going to do without him? So I’ll go with Under 62 here.
Mississippi State vs. UL Lafayette (11:00 AM CT, ABC, in New Orleans)
Yeah, I don’t know why they’re playing this at the Superdome, either. UL Lafayette is a decent team for the Sun Belt, but that’s “decent for the Sun Belt” and not an actual decent team. I’m a little bit concerned about the possibility of a backdoor cover, but not enough to stop me from taking Mississippi State -20. Last year’s State team was known for low-scoring games with its dominant defense; this year’s State team features a mostly-new defensive line and a quarterback who’s a better fit for Joe Moorhead’s offense. That makes Over 60 a decent play here.
Alabama vs. Duke (2:30 PM CT, ABC, in Atlanta)
I hate having to pick Alabama games. Because while it’s easy to predict an Alabama win over Duke, deciding whether or not Nick Saban will keep his foot on the gas pedal long enough to cover a 33.5-point spread is a tough call. And I just don’t think Alabama cares enough about the final score to keep Duke from covering. They’re not trying to prove a point, just get the win and get out of here. With that said, it’s not going to happen because Duke is going to score a bunch of points, so I like Under 57.5. Just a comfortable 38-7 final.
South Carolina vs. North Carolina (2:30 PM CT, ESPN, in Charlotte)
Why are we doing this Week 1 neutral site matchup in Charlotte again oh God who really wants to see this. Gamblers seem to be fading Mack Brown’s team, so North Carolina (+11) seems like a good value play. Meanwhile, uh, why the hell is the total 63.5 for a game in which a Will Muschamp team is involved? Take the Under all day on this one.
Georgia State at Tennessee (2:30 PM CT, ESPNU)
Georgia State isn’t any good, but really, we’re giving them 26 points? Remember, Tennessee is a team that beat UTEP 24-0 and Charlotte 14-3 last season. The point is, you have to really believe in Tennessee to think they’re going to come out in Week 1 and score more than 26 points, much less beat somebody by that amount. And, yeah, Under 58 is the play here.
Portland State at Arkansas (3:00 PM CT, SEC Network)
No line on this one, we’re just acknowledging your existence, Arkansas, and that you play an FCS team on Saturday. Portland State isn’t even a good FCS team, having gone 4-7 last year.
Georgia Southern at LSU (6:30 PM CT, ESPNU)
Man, I’m not loving a lot of the SEC teams with these huge lines. Georgia Southern runs the option, which is exactly the offense you want to face in Week 1, and they’re getting 27 points. Having to face that offense also makes Over 52.5 the play here, because a 42-17 LSU win (which frankly sounds about where this is headed) hits both.
Missouri at Wyoming (6:30 PM CT, CBS Sports Network)
Ah, yes, Missouri in Week 1 is playing in the highest football stadium in FBS, at 7165 feet above sea level. That kind of altitude leads to weird stuff happening, and Wyoming is actually a decent team to boot. No, I don’t think the Cowboys will beat them, but cover 17.5? Yeah. And meanwhile, Over 55.5 sounds about right. I’ll pick a final of 38-24 here.
Auburn vs. Oregon (6:30 PM CT, ABC, in Arlington, Texas)
Are you a believer in Auburn’s true freshman QB, Bo Nix? I am not ... yet. At least at the moment, Oregon has a good quarterback and Auburn may or may not, and in a game where Auburn is favored by 3.5, that’s the deciding factor — in fact, I think Oregon will win this outright. Meanwhile, this isn’t your older brother’s Oregon team — we’ll go Under 56.
Georgia at Vanderbilt (6:30 PM CT, SEC Network)
Is Vanderbilt a heavy underdog against a good team? Then, yes, we’ll take the Commodores to cover. That’s especially true now that the line has moved to 21.5 — a three-touchdown Georgia win is a Vanderbilt cover. But I see that happening with Ke’Shawn Vaughn ripping off a few big runs, not with Vanderbilt’s defense slowing Georgia, so Over 58 is the play I like.