I went 13-11-1 last week with a few bad beats. I can’t beat myself up about it since Week 1 is always loaded with landmines of risk. I picked some games I should have stayed away from (Houston vs Oklahoma) and didn’t expect such poor outings from Tennessee and UCLA.
As I said before, Week 1 is full of risk, but the following week is loaded with value. You have to take what you learned in Week 1 and use it for your advantage. At the same time, there are times that you kind of have to go against all your information since betting lines are often swayed a little too much if a team outperforms preseason expectations or is underwhelming in Week 1.
We at ‘America’s White Boy’ pick against the spread for all the big college football games on Saturday (September 10th, 2016) and a few Thursday games. We also picked five extra games as a bonus.
Tennessee at Virginia Tech (+11.5) – My pick is Tennessee Volunteers
Sometimes you have to take what you learned during Week 1 and throw it out the window. Tennessee played like garbage for roughly 75% of their game against Appalachian State last week. They were expected to blow out the Mountaineers, but clearly took them a little too lightly. The Vols will face the Hokies in front of what could be a record attendance for a football game. It will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway, best known for hosting NASCAR races. I’m expecting more of a complete game from Vols QB Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd. Virginia Tech still plays ‘Beamer Ball’ (even without Coach Beamer), but I expect the Vols to try to get the bad taste out of their mouths by owning the Hokies.
Iowa State at Iowa (-15) – My pick is Iowa Hawkeyes
This is one of my favorite early-season rivalry games every year. I know it is cliché to say ‘throw the record books out when these two teams face each other’, but it’s so true when Iowa State and Iowa face each other. Iowa State has had quite a few lean years, yet always show up strong against Iowa. This year the Hawkeyes are once again ranked while the Cyclones are expected to finish near the bottom of the Big 12. I’m going out on a ledge here with such a large cover since neither team has won by more than 15 points since 2010…and the road team has won outright in the last four meetings. I think RB Akrum Wadley will have a big game for Iowa and help seal a cover.
BYU at Utah (-3.5) – My pick is Utah Utes
I love BYU QB Taysom Hill and I’m glad he is now healthy, but the Cougars are not as talented as some of Hill’s previous teams. Utah have won the last five contests against BYU (4-1 ATS) and Utah is just the more talented team. Washington-transfer QB Troy Williams will lead the Utes to a cover at home.
Arkansas at TCU (-7.5) – My pick is TCU Horned Frogs
This game had my brain running in circles for awhile. In one scenario, I could see Arkansas pounding the ball on the ground and eating clock while TCU’s defense gives in to the Razorbacks. In a different scenario, TCU QB Kenny Hill lights up the Razorback secondary as Arkansas struggles to comes back from a deficit through the air. I think the second scenario is more likely. I’m taking TCU to cover at home.
South Carolina at Mississippi State (-7) – My pick is South Carolina Gamecocks
How the hell did Mississippi State lose to South Alabama last week? Well, Mississippi State let off the gas after halftime and South Alabama played mistake-free, efficient football in the fourth quarter. South Carolina isn’t in the upper echelon on talent in the SEC, but they don’t turn the ball over and keep it close, they could have a shot at winning late in the game. I’m taking the points in this game.
Ball State at Indiana (-18) – My pick is Indiana Hoosiers
I started my college life at Ball State, so I’ve always kept a close eye on their games. They were horrible when I went there, but they have been very bettor-friendly over the last few years. Indiana has also been a team I’ve kept a close eye on the last two years. They run a no-huddle offense that keeps the defense out there and gassed. I don’t like Ball State’s run defense and the are not very deep on offense. I just think the Hoosiers are a bad matchup for Ball State. I’m taking Indiana to cover in Bloomington.
Wake Forest at Duke (-5) – My pick is Duke Blue Devils
Freshman QB Daniel Jones looked great for Duke in their blowout win last weekend. He’s a big guy that appears to be quite comfortable in a pro style offense. He should be able to move the ball well against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons defense is their strongest side of the ball, but they will need a lot more from their offense if they hope to stay with the Blue Devils. I’m taking Duke to cover at home.
Kentucky at Florida (-17) – My pick is Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky had a very good first-half against Southern Miss last weekend…but they completely fell apart after halftime. Kentucky’s offense looked much better than they did last year, but their defense was just downright horrible late in the game. Florida beat UMass last week, but honestly didn’t do much to impress me. I expected them to dominate in every facet of the game. Florida QB Luke Del Rio looked okay, but Florida’s offense will be their weakest side of the ball this season. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida since 1986. Kentucky has kept the game within a touchdown the last two years and overtime was needed in one of those games. I’m going to take the points.
Penn State at Pittsburgh (-5.5) – My pick is Penn State Nittany Lions
I’m so happy to be able to bet on Penn State without having to rely on Christian Hackenberg. I’m not saying he’s a horrible quarterback, but he was just so inconsistent. I had trouble getting a read on him from week-to-week. Penn State QB Trace McSorley may not have the size and arm as Hackenberg, but he gives Penn State more of a scrambling threat on top of his arm. Pitt RB James Conner is a great story and I wish him the best, but he didn’t look like his old self, at least not yet. Pitt will need the old James Conner if they hope to cover. I’m taking the points.
Georgia Southern at South Alabama (+13) – My pick is Georgia Southern Eagles
This is when we pick a game with smaller conference teams. Georgia Southern defeated South Alabama 55-17 last year, but many of the impact players from that game have graduated. South Alabama is coming off a huge upset over Mississippi State and Georgia Southern blanked Savannah State 54-0. South Alabama will not be ‘turned up to eleven’ like they were last week. Georgia Southern has a better offense and defense, so I have to believe they will cover this spread.
Arkansas State at Auburn (-19.5) – My pick is Arkansas State
Eastern Michigan at Missouri (-25) – My pick is Eastern Michigan
Tulsa at Ohio State (-28.5) – My pick is Ohio State
Cincinnati at Purdue (+6) – My pick is Purdue
Maryland at Florida International (+10.5) – My pick is Maryland
Louisville at Syracuse (+15) – My pick is Louisville
Wyoming at Nebraska (-24.5) – My pick is Wyoming
Boston College at Massachusetts (+17) – My pick is UMass
Central Florida at Michigan (-35.5) – My pick is Michigan
Georgia State at Air Force (-18) – My pick is Air Force
New Mexico at New Mexico State (+12.5) – My pick is New Mexico
Utah State at USC (-16) – My pick is USC
Ohio at Kansas (-3) – My pick is Ohio
Akron at Wisconsin (-24) – My pick is Akron
Old Dominion at Appalchian State (-21) – My pick is Appalchian State
Sweetbob’s college football picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.