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Bad Gambling Advice: Week 1

Time to lose money again!

Circa Sports Expands To The Pass Casino Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Circa Sports

DISCLAIMER: This column is titled “Bad Gambling Advice.” I am not betting actual money on these picks and neither should you.

Tonight begins the annual five-day weekend of college football, the one weekend a year when the college game does not have to compete with the NFL and thus we get Thursday through Monday of football games.

As is always the case, I pick all games involving an SEC school (for these purposes, we’re already counting Texas and Oklahoma as SEC schools.) This means that I’m picking some lines that, if I were betting actual money, I would not touch with a 20-foot pole, but the premise of this column is that I pick all of them. So... here we go!

Ball State at Tennessee (6:00 PM CT Thursday, SEC Network): Week 1 kicks off with Tennessee hosting Ball State (heh heh... “Ball.”) No, Ball State is not very good, but this line is ridiculous and I am not quite buying in on Tennessee as a Top 25 team just yet.

Score prediction: Tennessee 49, Ball State 21

Picks: Ball State +35.5, Over 66

Louisiana Tech at Missouri (7:00 PM CT Thursday, ESPNU): The thing about Louisiana Tech is that right now, they’re much more of a name you associate with “dangerous mid-major” than an actual dangerous mid-major. They went 3-9 last season and finally got around to firing Skip Holtz. I like new coach Sonny Cumbie and I’m not that high on Missouri, but I think they’ll win this one pretty comfortably.

Score prediction: Missouri 42, Louisiana Tech 20

Picks: Missouri -20, Under 66.5

Sam Houston at Texas A&M (11:00 AM CT Saturday, SEC Network): Sam Houston is a good FCS program, so this might be closer than you think. I still think A&M will win fairly easily, but this isn’t going to be a complete destruction.

Score prediction: Texas A&M 45, Sam Houston 21

Picks: Sam Houston +30, Over 48

Oregon vs. Georgia (2:30 PM CT Saturday, ABC): The beginning of the annual silly neutral-site Week 1 games, Georgia plays Oregon in Atlanta. Oregon’s quarterback is Bo Nix, which... okay. Oregon’s head coach is... Georgia’s most recent defensive coordinator. As such, I feel a lot more confident in the under than in the spread.

Score prediction: Georgia 28, Oregon 10

Picks: Georgia -17. Under 53

Cincinnati at Arkansas (2:30 PM CT Saturday, ESPN): What the hell were you thinking here, Arkansas?

Score prediction: Arkansas 24, Cincinnati 21

Picks: Cincinnati +6.5, Under 52

UTEP at Oklahoma (2:30 PM CT Saturday, FOX): This game is on a national broadcast network?!

Score prediction: Oklahoma 42, UTEP 10

Picks: Oklahoma -30.5, Under 57

Troy at Ole Miss (3:00 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network): I honestly don’t know much about Troy, but Ole Miss will be breaking in a new quarterback and when have you ever trusted a defense associated with Lane Kiffin?

Score prediction: Ole Miss 38, Troy 24

Picks: Troy +21.5, Over 57

Utah at Florida (6:00 PM CT Saturday, ESPN): The Billy Napier era at Florida gets off to a rough start with a visit from a top-10 Utah team that is definitely going to kick their ass (even if they don’t win.) Behold the majesty of an Andy Ludwig offense.

Score prediction: Utah 28, Florida 21

Picks: Utah -3, Under 51

Miami (Ohio) at Kentucky (6:00 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network+): I’m just here to point out how weird it is that the SEC Network is televising Texas A&M playing an FCS team, while relegating Kentucky playing a G5 team to streaming only.

Score prediction: Kentucky 45, Miami 21

Picks: Kentucky -16, Over 54

Mercer at Auburn (6:00 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network+): Is anybody really confident in Auburn this season?

Score prediction: Auburn 38, Mercer 7

Picks: Mercer +31.5, Under 54

Elon at Vanderbilt (6:00 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network+): LOL at this line.

Score prediction: (see Saturday Predictions tomorrow)

Picks: Vanderbilt -20, Over 51.5

Utah State at Alabama (6:30 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network): This is one of those games where Alabama is playing an overmatched opponent but probably isn’t about to run it up. This is also a game where a line move has caused me to change my pick from the Pick ‘Em because... I don’t love Alabama to cover 42.

Score prediction: Alabama 48, Utah State 7

Picks: Utah State +42, Under 62.5

Memphis at Mississippi State (6:30 PM CT Saturday, ESPNU): Memphis is kind of in the same vein as Louisiana Tech, where their reputation doesn’t quite match the reality at the moment. On the other hand, I don’t think Mississippi State covers this line.

Score prediction: Mississippi State 38, Memphis 27

Picks: Memphis +16, Over 57.5

Georgia State at South Carolina (6:30 PM CT Saturday, SEC Network+): So, South Carolina opens the season with a salty opponent, but the line’s low enough that I suspect they’re actually going to cover it.

Score prediction: South Carolina 35, Georgia State 21

Picks: South Carolina -12, Under 57

Louisiana Monroe at Texas (7:00 PM CT Saturday, LHN): It is simply baffling to me how the collective “we” is jumping on Sark’s second year at Texas already.

Score prediction: Texas 49, UL Monroe 21

Picks: UL Monroe +37.5, Over 64.5

LSU vs. Florida State (6:30 PM CT Sunday, ABC): Here’s the deal: I don’t have a good read on either of these teams entering the season, and if not for the premise of this column, I wouldn’t touch this game with a 20-foot pole. Take from that what you will.

Score prediction: LSU 24, Florida State 20

Picks: LSU -3, Under 51.5