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Week 1 College Football Lines and Picks

Craig T. Smith hopes to start off 2019 by helping you cash some tickets.

Laughlin Draws Gamblers to the Colorado River Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

The eternal wait is over, fellow degenerates.

With a full slate of games this Saturday – and a more than full slate of Thursday and Friday games – we have finally made it through the long, frozen tundra that is the football wagering offseason.

Now, that being said, the smart money is taking a more conservative dip-the-toe-in, wait-and-see approach to August/early-September betting, as we start to figure out and separate the true players and the frauds. However, given that most of you like to jump right in like a portly fellow belling flopping at a college pool party, let’s get right to it and make some picks….

(And all odds are based on those listed on Bovada as of the time of this post)

Lockity Lock of the Week

Virginia (-2.5) at Pittsburgh

Sigh…..”lock” is a relative term in Week 1. It’s hard to love a team/line too much before really knowing what you’re looking at, as I’ve harped on. However, I’ll bite hard on that hook that the book is throwing at me here at -2.5. If Virginia is supposed to be the real deal this year, this is a game they should win. And, well, they should. #Analysis. I just like the value of the current line. If Virginia laying under three, it’s me.

Other lines I like:

Wisconsin at USF; UNDER 59. Jack Coan at QB, and USF offense vs. a typically good defense.

UCLA at CINCY (-3). AAC contender > PAC-12 doormat.

Rice at Army; OVER 48. Could Army shock folks this year? The preseason love from the media is there.

Boise State at Florida State; UNDER 52. Will take a little while for James Blackman & company to get their sea legs in Kendal Briles’ new system.

Teasers I like (7-point shift, payout at -120):

BYU +14, over 41. Cougars looking for revenge at home in the Holy War after just yakking the game away last year. Utah coming in with a world of hype. 41 points is definitely reachable, and 14 points for a home dog in a rivalry game? Ok.

Georgia Tech +44, under 68. I know the Jackets are breaking in a new everything and going up against the defending champs, but good lord, that’s a lot of points to get on both ends.

Ole Miss +12.5, under 73. This is the noon game on national TV? Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty, give me something else. But I like these inflated numbers, at least.

Fresno State at USC (-6.5); Ga Southern at LSU (under 60). A mix and match, but USC should take this by a touchdown or more, and Ga Southern and LSU are run-first teams by far, so expecting a 60-point total seems to be a reach.

Underdog upset pick: Utah State (+3.5; ML: +150) at Wake Forest. I’m not entirely sure why this line is the way it is. Sure, the Aggies lost 4 off the OL, and their TE and RB to the NFL, but QB Jordan Love is back and the defense returns 7 starters of an 11-win team. Wake can score, but this could be a sneaky-tough test for them. Good value at +150 on the moneyline to throw a few bucks down towards an upset.

Parlay of the Week: Auburn ML (-160) vs. Oregon; Stanford ML (-230) v. Northwestern; South Carolina ML (-400) vs. UNC. Yeah, going with three-game moneyline bet on significant favorites, but it’s almost a +200 payout, so the value is there.