Happy first college football Thursday, y’all. We made it. There are actual, legit Power 5 games today (beyond last Saturday’s awesome Nebraska-Northwestern tilt in Ireland). And - as is often the case in college football - there are some tasty, tasty matchups to kick off the season.
As usual, all lines are courtesy of our friends over at DraftKings and can be found here. With that said, let’s get to picking...
NOTRE DAME (+17) at Ohio State
I think Ohio State will be really good this year, but don’t sleep on the Irish to be competitive this year. This is about the worst opening game for a team, but the Irish find a way to at least keep it interesting for 3 quarters and hang on to cover, albeit barely.
Florida State vs. LSU (-3) (game played in New Orleans, LA on Sunday)
I have no idea what LSU really has this year, but the Tigers just got significantly better on the sideline with Brian Kelly taking over the reigns in Baton Rouge. He can coach circles around Mike Norvell, and LSU’s overall better roster talent rises up in what’s all but a home game for the Bayou Bengals. Lay the three and take LSU.
NC STATE (-11.5) at East Carolina
Oh boy, I’m buying the Pack this year, which you already knew if you read my futures picks article from earlier this week. If they’re for real, they’d better take care of business here in a big way.
Cincinnati at ARKANSAS (-6.5)
The Bearcats are about to find out what life is like after Sauce Gardner and Desmond Ridder against a very good opponent on the road. And that will be a tough one. Hogs win by double digits.
Western Kentucky at HAWAII (+15.5)
Am I really picking a Hawaii team that just got their doors blown off at home by Vanderbilt by 53?!?! Yes. Yes, I am. Western beat Austin Peay at home last week by a whopping total of 11 points, so this isn’t a world beater coming to the islands. If they can’t stay within 15 points of this caliber of opponent, 0-12 might be on the way.
VIRGINIA TECH (-6.5) at Old Dominion (Friday)
The last time the Hokies went to ODU in 2018, it went very poorly for them, and this isn’t a particularly better Hokies team going to Norfolk, with a new coach and an unsettled QB situation playing out. However, the Hokies have more talent and are now laying less than a touchdown, so I’ll take the talent edge more often than not.
UTEP at OKLAHOMA (-30).
UTEP just got thoroughly handled at home by North Texas. The Brent Venables era starts off with a romp.
North Carolina at Appalachian State; OVER 56
I honestly have no idea who wins this game, which is a 1-point spread right now. I do think these teams will get into a shootout classic. FAMU’s QB had a field day last week, so the seasoned Chase Brice should be set up for success against the Tar Heels in one of the Mountaineers’ biggest home games ever.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.