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Giving Away Money: Way-too-early Week One College Football point spreads

What if I told you the best game of the week involved the Mountain West and the Sun Belt?

Las Vegas

Last week, the first offshore books posted the season win totals. And yesterday, the first books were open and offering preliminary action on the Labor Day kickoff weekend.

Of particular note:

  • The Alabama spread has added the half-point hook; the Tide are now favored by 28 12. I honestly don’t think that will matter very much, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. If this edges to 30 or so, I’d probably skip it: 40-10 seems a very likely sort of score.
  • Keep an eye on Purdue. The rebuilding and exciting Boilers open with a critical game against Northwestern, and they’re even favored against the Wildcats. It’s a very good thing Phil Fulmer wanted an inexperienced puppet head coach. Alabama’s true rival could have been saddled with the #BrohmSquad, and dodging that degree of competence in Knoxville is something which we can be grateful for.
  • Auburn is a very early 3 12 point favorite over Washington. Despite it being a travel game for the Huskies, given Auburn’s traditional slow starts, I’m putting my money on Petersen with a full summer to prepare. If this game were a month later, I’d bet the house on the ‘Barn — October/November Auburn is ferocious. September Auburn is less so.
  • There’s no way that Kentucky, also a traditionally slow-starter under Stoops, covers three touchdowns against Central Michigan. In fact, these are exactly the kind of early-season near-losses that the Wildcats have mastered in recent years. I’m not calling an outright upset, but don’t be surprised if it happens either.
  • Boise and Troy may be the best game of the opening week. I don’t think the Broncos are a double-digits better than Neal Brown’s squad on a neutral field. But, on the smurf turf, it’s a tough one for the Trojans: a far better game to watch than to bet. Then again, Troy could just implode — it happens to far too many BSU opponents.
  • Ole Miss is practically a pick ‘em versus the Red Raiders. This is a must-win for Kliff. Does he get it? Who knows, but given the secondaries the two teams will trot out and the post-sanction depth hit that the Rebels have taken, I’d be very happy betting the matter the number.
  • Miami is a 3-point favorite over LSU to open the season. Given the deep rebuild in Baton Rouge, double that spread and the ‘Canes still cover it in a low-scoring tilt. This game will be ugly and bad, and you should feel bad for watching it. The coaching “battle” between Ed Orgeron and Mark Richt is like watching Bobby Fisher play chess against a piece of bruised fruit.
  • Yuck. I can see no reason why the ‘Noles would be favored over VT, aside from a brute talent advantage. If Justin Feunte wants to live up to the hype that accompanied his arrival to Blacksburg, notching a critical early season conference win against a marquee team would be a very good start. I think he gets it here. The dirty secret is that Willy Taggart just isn’t that great of an in-game coach. He is very likeable, a decent program builder, and a great recruiter. But he has just one division title to show for almost a decade of work, and his stops have usually involved completely hitting rock bottom the first few years before a modest rebound occurs. (His work at USF would especially give me pause — taking a bad team and making it worse. But for the grace of Quinton Flowers, there be a 4-8 team here). The ‘Noles just chased off the last strong-recruiter-short-on-delivery guy they had, so I’m curous how they’ll accept wheel-spinning mediocrity from Taggart. Welcome back to the land of 8-5 in Tallahassee...if the Seminoles even hit 8 wins this season.
<p zoompage-fontsize="15">Nike Pro Combat Alabama

Pic unrelated, but awesome.

  • LOCK OF THE WEEK: Nebraska sits at 18 12 against Terry Bowden’s Akron. The Zips are a competitive MAC squad, coming off a division title and a .500 season. But, call this one a coronation for Scott Frost: There will be a ton of miscues as the offense finds its way, but the offense will find its way. ‘Huskers BIG, BIG, BIG. Remember the Boca Raton Bowl, a 50-3 loss at the hands of Kiffin’s FAU Owls? Like that...but in Lincoln against an excitable, angry prestige team eager to restore its reputation. Get in on this one early.

Saturday, Aug 25th

Wyoming -4 at New Mexico St

Colorado St -14 vs. Hawaii

Thursday, Aug 30th

Central Florida -20½ at Uconn

Purdue -4½ vs. Northwestern

Minnesota -14½ vs. New Mexico St

Wake Forest -9 at Tulane

Friday, Aug 31st

Michigan St -27 vs. Utah State

Syracuse -4½ at Western Michigan

Wisconsin -33 vs. Western Kentucky

Colorado -6 vs. Colorado St

Stanford -14½ vs. San Diego St

Saturday, Sep 1st

Oklahoma -23 vs. Florida Atlantic

Houston -21 at Rice

Ohio St -38 vs. Oregon St

Penn St -27 vs. Appalachian St

Duke -10½ vs. Army

Nebraska -18½ vs. Akron

Boston College -20 vs. Umass

Illinois -14½ vs. Kent St

Rutgers -13½ vs. Texas St

Indiana -13 at Florida International

Iowa -13 vs. Indiana

Texas -10½ at Maryland

Boise St -10½ at Troy

Louisiana Tech -10 at South Alabama

Marshall Pick’EM at Miami Ohio

North Texas -1½ vs. SMU

Vanderbilt -6 vs. MTSU

Arizona -14 vs. BYU

Arizona State -17½ vs. UTSA

USC -27 vs. UNLV

UCLA -15½ vs. Cincinnati

Auburn -3½ vs. Washington

Kentucky -20 vs. Central Michigan

Mississippi -1½ at Texas Tech

South Carolina -31½ vs. Coastal Carolina

West Virginia -7 vs. Tennessee

California -6 vs. North Carolina

Washington St -4 at Wyoming

Oregon -28½ vs. Bowling Green

Old Dominion -5½ at Liberty

Notre Dame -2 vs. Michigan

Alabama -28½ vs. Louisville

Navy -15 at Hawaii

Sunday, Sep 2nd

Miami Florida -3 vs. LSU

Monday, Sep 3rd

Florida State -6½ vs. Virginia Tech