College Football Kickoff Bonanza
Well, it ain’t much…but sometimes, just the tip is all you get! We start the year off with a less than satisfying slate of 5 games. Had these games fallen during a full, 75+ game weekend of College Football, they wouldn’t have landed in the GreenZone. That being said, we know you’re all chomping at the bit to get the season started…and so are we, so we’ll take a deeper look at several of the matchups.
The model results to start the year are typically less predictive than once we get into the meat of the season. This should make sense to anyone out there with half a brain…obviously a LOT has changed for these college teams since last year and using historical data to predict future results for in some cases, a very new team, can be dicey. For that reason, we want to make sure we don’t come out of the gates like madmen. We’ll outline some small unit sizes here (based off % of bankroll) but the best approach for this mini “week 1” is to ask yourself how much you’d be fine with losing and roll with that. In our opinion, these are “entertainment” bets. Just breaking the seal and knocking off the 7-month football off-season rust.
A quick side note: for all the subscribers who just purchased one week of College Football plays, this doesn’t count as your week…you’ll receive the real week 1 plays and research next week.
Now, onto the picks!
[1 Unit] San Jose State (+22) home with Southern Florida
This is a classic early season caveat college game right here. Both teams have entirely new staffs…new head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators. Charlie Strong brought over his guys from Texas for USF and San Jose State brought in a HC and D-coordinator from Oregon State with the addition of 1st time O-coordinator, Andrew Sowder. Interesting tid-bit… Sowder was an offensive assistant last year at University of Texas, under the current USF staff. Advantage, SJSU. He knows everything they are trying to do on both sides of the ball, so even though both of these defenses were garbage last year, at least San Jose knows what systems they are up against. The long prep time for the 1st game makes this impact even bigger.
USF is going to run all over this Spartans defense…there’s no doubt about that. They return an electric dual-threat QB, Quinton Flowers, who ran for 2800 and rushed for 1500 with 42 total TDs. They lost their best RB and WR from LY, but will still easily have enough offense to hang 40 on SJSU. On the flip side of the ball, USF gave up 32 ppg and an ugly 38 ppg the last 6 games of the year. Charlie Strong is a defensive guy, but his scheme takes time to master and there are going to be mistakes in a week 1 contest on the opposite side of the country.
San Jose State returns their entire starting o-line and should improve offensively under Sowder. Experience up front is the best gift a new offensive coordinator can receive and should help them fold a new QB into the mix. Regardless of who ends up getting most of the time in the 'gun, they should be able to stay in this one against the subpar Bulls defense. Expect both sides to come out fired up for their new staffs, but the long trip, home opener pride, and lack of defense should keep this one within 22. Bulls by 20 as we sweat out the first unit of the year.
[1/2 Unit] Oregon State Beavers (+4) @ Colorado State Rams
On paper, Joe Public is going to be all over the Rams (-4). The return of dual threat QB Nick
Stevens and WR Michael Gallup (1000+ receiving yards) will be one of the best in the Mountain West this year. Defensively, they were not good last year. They return 8 starters, but lose their best LB. Oregon State will be starting Jake Luton at QB. Luton, a Pro-style QB signed with Idaho out of HS and transferred to Ventura CC after his freshman year. Last year at Ventura he was named a JUCO All-American and set season and career records there. The good news is the Beavers return Ryan Nall at RB, which should take some pressure off Luton for the season opener. Defensively, the Beavers are average but Freshman All-American Xavier Crawford should be able to matchup vs. Gallup. I think this line will only continue to go up closer to game time but results will be within a 3 pt game. So we recommend taking the Beavers and the points.
Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors @ UMass Minutemen (-2)
From a pure system prospective, the Rainbow Warriors (7-7 LY) have a ton of value. Their QB Dru Brown returns after his freshman year (62% comp rate and 19 tds) and they return Diocemy Saint Juste who rushed for over 1,000 yards LY. They are not going to have trouble scoring this year that’s for sure. On the flip side UMass (2-10 LY) returns a ton on offense as well, including, Andrew Ford (2,600 passing years and 26 tds). The Minutemen losses LY are deceiving as they came to some big name schools (Florida, BYU, Miss St, South Carolina). With all that being said, again Hawaii +2 meets every threshold in our system other than the “caveat” test. We typically don’t give two shits about history for CFB but there is one stat we feel is a major concern and that is Hawaii’s record on the road vs. non-conf since 2010 is 0-13. This is going to be a long trip from the Island to the east coast and for that reason we advise to stay away from this game. To be successful this year, we are looking for the cream of the cream with no caveats. We want you to last long betting this season and not a “minuteman” week 1.
Stanford Cardinal (-30.5) vs. Rice Owls – Nerd Bowl – Sydney, Australia 10PM
This one would probably be a better matchup if they were competing in some sort of math battle, but alas, this is a football game, with pads and everything. Stanford should win handily, like by at least 4 scores, but 30.5 is a big number. Can the Cardinal, led by a QB (Keller Chryst) playing in his 1st game since tearing his acl and the guy taking over for 1st round RB Christian McCaffrey (Bryce Love) remain strong? Well, they probably have a top 15 offensive line and a legit top 10 defense, so whether or not Chryst is really ready to go down under, they will most certainly be pounding the rock and probably not giving up too many points. Rice will be rolling with redshirt freshman Sam Gaesmann at QB. Not exactly an ideal situation to make your debut, versus #14, halfway around the world. The Owls have their full O-Line returning and a few offensive weapons returning, but at the present, rank around 115 out of 130 teams nationally. Our numbers put this game around a 29-point game. For that reason, my head says stay away, but my heart says, “it’s Saturday night, the 1st week of football, you’re waiting probably till midnight for the fight to start, get a little taste of Stanford and hope for that late FG”.