College football is finally upon us ladies and gentlemen! That means its time to start sweating out backdoor covers and praying coaches don’t pull their starters in the 4th. The current week 1 lines have been live in the wild for quite some time and we have seen a lot of movement on most of the games. But when it comes to week 1, it’s best to stick to what you know wins: talent, coaching, and returning starters. Without further delay I bring you some week 1 picks!
Western Michigan +5.5 vs. Syracuse
Tim Lester just couldn’t catch a break in his first year as head coach of the Broncos as he watched player after player go down injured. Tim took over a very talented team from PJ Fleck who has since moved on to Minnesota but what is promising to me is Lester has maintained that high level of recruiting. The Broncos rank at the top of the MAC in talent. The talent difference between these two teams is slimmer than you might think and with 8 starters returning on offense and many of those backups getting playing experience from all the injuries last year I like the Broncos to have enough juice to cover the spread here at home.
Northwestern +105 ML vs. Purdue
In his first year Jeff Brohm had an amazing season at Purdue. He took the Boilermakers to their first bowl game since 2012. But year two will be a challenge for Brohm as Purdue only returns 4 starters on defense and doesn’t recruit at a high enough level to replace the players they lost. On the flip side, Northwestern’s coach Pat Fitzgerald is one of the best coaches in the country and he is especially good when his team is cast in the role of the underdog. Northwestern returns 7 starters on offense and defense and also returns QB Clayton Thorson so the offense should continue to operate effectively. I took this line a week ago at +3 for NW but honestly, I think the Wildcats win outright here so go ahead and grab that extra payout.
Boston College -18 vs. UMass
Boston College surprised a lot of people in the second half of last year winning 5 of their last 6 regular season games and they did it with a punishing running game and freshman QB. This year they bring back pretty much the entire offense from last year that was able to run up and down the field on most of the ACC. Umass had a nice feel good win in week 1 against an FCS team, but now its time to battle the big boys and this BC team is eager to show what they can do. I like the Eagle to run roughshod all over Massachusetts here and cover the 18.
Tennessee +10 vs. West Virginia
Tennessee was an absolute dumpster fire last year having one of there worst years in a long time on their way to firing their coach after they went 4-8. Now with new head coach, ex-Alabama defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt in charge they look to turn things around on old Rocky Top. Now most folks are probably thinking #17 West Virginia rolls in with all-American QB and future NFL draft pick Will Greer and smashes them but I say not so fast my friend! Don’t forget this Tennessee team still has boat loads of talent and often when a team gives up on a season and hires a new coach they are hungry to show the world how good they can really be. I like the Volunteers to keep this game close and I would even considering sprinkling a little bit on the money line as well.
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