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Playing college football has come a long way. You no longer have to wait until game week to place a bet. These bets can be made at any time – even now.
Yes, we have access to point spreads for the major college football games of the season. And we plan to take advantage of this glorious luxury before the season starts.
While Locks of the Week will return to its normal weekly routine for Week 0, we’re finding our footing by picking the winners in some of the sport’s most notable matchups of the year.
To the winners. To college football.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings and currently from Wednesday, August 17th.
Texas (+2.5) vs. Oklahoma
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Last year, Texas completely disintegrated in the Red River Rivalry. The Longhorns led 35-17 midway through the second quarter; they eventually lost that game 55-48. I know this because I bet on Texas.
And with that, we’ll never speak of this game again.
This year’s game is, as usual, a neutral side matchup. Although we still have a lot of time before this game is played, I truly believe this Texas team will be a completely different group when these two meet on October 8th.
The longhorns will be seasoned by this point. Playing Alabama in Week 2 can and will grow this team no matter how this game pans out.
More than anything, though, I’m betting on this Texas offense. Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card will be able to succeed as a quarterback. The situation is similar with superstar Bijan Robinson at the running back and Xavier Worthy at the wideout.
Transfer WR Isaiah Neyor’s injury is serious, although that doesn’t put me off. I still expect great progress. And with Oklahoma going through significant changes on the coaching staff and on the field, it feels like a quality point for the Longhorns.
USC (-3) vs. Notre Dame
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Oh, this one is going to be hyped a lot on November 26th.
It doesn’t matter what both teams have accomplished up to this point. Two new coaches on two storied programs should make for an attractive matchup between two hugely popular and polarizing programs.
The fact that this game is played in California certainly plays a big role in my selection. While I’d class my USC hype as measured, this matchup feels like a challenge for the Irish.
By this point in the season, USC’s Caleb Williams will likely have established himself as one of college football’s elite quarterbacks. (You might already have a feeling he’s there. You couldn’t go wrong.) Add in the additions of wideout Jordan Addison and running back Travis Dye and the USC offense could really thrive.
Make no mistake; Notre Dame has a lot of talent. The Irish will be a very good team.
But playing against offense with so many guns on the street feels like a mismatch right now, especially as Notre Dame is looking for explosive players outside of Michael Mayer.
There are legitimate concerns about USC that can get lost in anticipation of Riley’s debut, and there will be bumps along the way. It just won’t be any of them.
Michigan (-8.5) vs. Michigan State
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Do you remember this game from last year? I definitely do.
I bet Michigan and the Wolverines were leading this game 30-14 halfway through the third quarter. Then Kenneth Walker III became a superhero. A quarter and a half later, Michigan lost by four.
The rematch will take place in Ann Arbor on October 29. The result will be very different this time. (It might sound like a revenge bet, although it’s not. Well, mostly.)
Mel Tucker deserves the greatest credit for turning the Spartans around last season. The problem, however, is that Walker is no longer on the list. While I’m not expecting the Sparty offensive to suddenly fall off a cliff in terms of production, I do expect a small dip.
Michigan, of course, also has a lot of production to replace. The Wolverines must also nominate a starting QB. Whether it’s JJ McCarthy or Cade McNamara doesn’t matter to me at this point.
Michigan’s roster is still loaded, and the offense should actually be improved given the selection of returning running backs and wideouts. That spells trouble for Michigan State, which brought out the best in its rival a season ago.
Not this time.
State of Oklahoma (+7) in Oklahoma
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Yeah, we’re gonna make Oklahoma fade away again.
Yes, that could be a bad idea.
Oklahoma, of course, is very capable. New quarterback Dillon Gabriel has a lot of potential. The Sooners have largely flown under the radar this offseason after the hiring process and transfer portal movement calmed down. This could change soon.
This election is more of a belief in the state of Oklahoma than anything else. The departure of a good defensive player – along with Jim Knowles, last year’s outstanding defensive coordinator – will no doubt hurt.
But the return of QB Spencer Sanders is powerful. His second-half performance against Notre Dame at the Fiesta Bowl showed what he’s capable of and we should expect to see that even more this year.
Though Bedlam hasn’t been kind to the Pokes over time, Oklahoma State clinched a 37-33 win last November. As we save the game prediction for the week of November 19th, a touchdown is an opportunity we don’t want to pass up.
Alabama (-16.5) vs. LSU
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The good news for LSU is that the game won’t be played on the go. Tiger Stadium is one of the best environments in all of college football and the home field will certainly help the Tigers.
But it just won’t be enough.
Brian Kelly will be fine at LSU. In fact, he’ll be better than fine once he settles in. However, given the roster change, I don’t expect that to be the case this year.
By November 5, when LSU welcomes Alabama to town, Kelly should be settled. The task at hand is just getting too much, which is what we’re going to say about pretty much every team Nick Saban’s Crew plays this year.
With Bryce Young driving offense in the QB and Will Anderson Jr. patrolling defense, Alabama will field an extremely talented list. And while LSU certainly has a tough environment, ‘Bama hasn’t exactly had it tough lately.
In their last two games at LSU, Alabama has outplayed the Tigers 84-17. It won’t be that bad, but it won’t be great.
Florida (select them) vs. Florida State
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The scoring for this longstanding rivalry feels appropriate.
Both proud programs are looking for themselves. One coach, Billy Napier, is trying to turn some early recruiting successes into successes on the field. The other, Mike Norvell, is trying to save his job.
If this game is played on November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving, the narrative will be mighty different. However, as we sit here, the alligators look mighty tempting to pick.
This is primarily a bet on quarterback Anthony Richardson. The flashes for Florida last year when it was healthy were significant. Given all the uncertainty for both teams going into this season, his presence is mighty intriguing.
Second, this is a bet on Napier. His addition got lost in the robust hiring process this offseason, although he could end up being very successful.
This isn’t a long-term bet on either team, so we can slow down the reel for now. Where both teams are by Thanksgiving, Florida should have a decided advantage.
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