College Football Handicapping Picks Week 1 Part 1

This article contains only our free spins of the week. Let the 11th Year of our mandate as disabled Kings begin. Enjoy!

HOLIDAYS

Virginia Tech (-9.5) VS. EAST CAROLINA: Virginia Tech has been one of the most consistently strong football teams in the nation over the past five years and that should continue again this year as they beat a weak ACC. The first is a team from East Carolina that was actually decent last year. The Pirates are very good on both lines, but losing RB Chris Johnson will hurt the offense tremendously. Tech has its own offensive question marks with QB’s Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor vying to be the number one quarterback. They also return just four starters on defense, but this team always produces superior units on that side of the field and should do it again. This has the makings of a very sloppy game as both teams try to find some rhythm on offense. East Carolina is a very good underdog under coach Skip Holtz, as they are 17-6 ATS in that situation. The final score should be around that number, as we calculate a score of 27-17, so our advice is to stay clear. THE SELECTION: STEP

SOUTH CAROLINA (-13.5) VS. NC State: South Carolina will once again try to get Da’Ball Coach back in the spotlight with one of the best defensive units in the country. 10 starters are back in a unit that was very good last year despite injuries to LB Jasper Brinkley and CB Captain Munnerlyn. The key is for quarterback Chris Smelly to take the next step this year and not hang onto the ball like he did at times last season. The running game is solid and if Smelly can become a threat on the field, then big things could be in store for this group. NC State, on the other hand, is a team still trying to work out the kinks after losing its first five games of 2007 under coach Tom O’Brien. They bounced back to win four of six but there are still issues in the running game and offensive line. This doesn’t bode well for redshirt freshman QB Russell Wilson, who needs all the help he can get against Spurrier’s solid D. The only problem is the fact that the Gamecocks qualify at some negative betting angles, so watch out for the backdoor cover. Slight endorsement of South Carolina here. THE TEAM: South Carolina (-13.5)

Wake Forest (-12) VS. BAYLOR******BEST BET

USC (-19.5) VS. VIRGINIA****** STRONG OPINION

Boston University (-9.5) VS. Kent State: The Eagles of Boston College might be overlooked this season after losing quarterback Matt Ryan to the NFL, but this team still has a very solid defense to fall back on. LB Brian Toal and DT BJ Raji return after sitting out last season and should anchor their unit. Chris Crane takes over at QB and there are sure to be some growing pains along the way, but BC brings back most of his receiving unit, which will help early on. For Kent State, their big advantage is at QB with Julian Edelman, who will team with RB Eugene Jarvis to eat up big chunks of rushing yards. The Golden Flashes will need to run in order to maintain a less than decent defense off the field. BC has a solid run defense that should be enough to tip the lead in his favor and allow Crane the opportunity to use his solid receiving body to score points. All scenarios on the field favor BC and we hope they get off to a good start here. THE PICK: Boston College (-9.5)

Clemson (-5) VS. Alabama (at Cleveland)******* STRONG OPINION

PITTSBURGH (-12.5) VS. Bowling Green*****BEST BET

NORTHWEST (-11.5) VS. Syracuse: This is a tough game to decide as both teams had big problems last season, especially Syracuse. The Oranges are giving head coach Greg Robinson one more chance to right the ship, but once again he appears to be undermined by one of the worst defenses in D-1. Northwestern has its own issues on defense, so expect a high-scoring game in this one. The key here is that the Wildcats are 0-5 ATS as home favorites under coach Pat Fitzgerald. That’s too many points to put between two bad teams that can score. THE SELECTION: Syracuse (+11.5)

LOUISVILLE (-3.5) VS. Kentucky: This is another game that is giving us headaches as both teams have big question marks heading into the season. For Louisville, there’s a big hole in the receiving corps that will make things difficult for new QB Hunter Cantwell. Cantwell has all the physical tools to succeed, but not having any help on the perimeter will see the offense grind to a halt soon. For Kentucky, the Wildcats must put the Andre Woodson era behind them and try to do so with Mike Hartline, who, like Cantwell, has the physical attributes to be good. Unlike Cantwell, however, Kentucky has a bumper crop of WRs. The difference here is that Kentucky has the look of a better-than-average defense and that will be key here against an opposing Green QB with little help from the receiver. If Kentucky were home, this would be a perfect pick, but the angle of the road works against it a bit. Ideally, you should avoid this game, but if you must, take points based on the fundamental angles that favor the away team here. THE TEAM: Kentucky (+3.5)

RUTGERS (-5.5) VS. State of Fresno******* STRONG OPINION

BIG 10

WISCONSIN (-26.5) VS. Akron: This is a huge advantage for Wisconsin here at home against an Akron team that was beaten by a pathetic offense. However, quarterback Chris Jacquemain has a lot more to work with this season, so some improvements are sure to come. I think the biggest problem the Zips will have is defense, specifically run defense. Akron is small on the D-Line and will be in big trouble with a Wisconsin team that loves nothing more than to shove the ball down their throats. However, the passing game will struggle as would-be starters Allan Evridge and Justin Scherer don’t do much to impress. Based on that notion, it’s very hard to support giving up that many points to someone when their passing game appears to be shoddy, especially early on. Take the points. THE TEAM: Akron (+26.5)

INDIANA (-20.5) VS. Western Kentucky****** STRONG OPINION.

MICHIGAN (-3.5) VS. Utah: Utah is being totally disrespected here, as this was quietly one of the best teams last season. The Utes have won 8 of their last 9 and are looking to take another step forward this season behind the play of QB Brian Johnson. Both defenses rate about the same, but the main point to consider here is the fact that the Wolverines are introducing both a new coach in Rich Rodriguez and a new offensive system that focuses on a lot more running and a lot less passing. . Rodriguez is almost forcing this offense on an understaffed unit and that could spell doom against a very solid Utah team. This game is a great bargain and you should take the points and run. The only reason this isn’t a BEST BET is the lack of a fundamental or strategic indicator that favors the home team, but it’s still a solid play. THE TEAM: Utah (+3.5)

MINNESOTA (-8) VS. Northern Illinois: Northern Illinois returns 21 starters to a team that brings in a new coach in Jerry Kill, who should do wonders for a fast start. NIU struggled a lot last year, but they were incredibly affected by turnovers more than anything. However, this team has talent and if they limit the big mistakes that cost them last year, combined with a year of maturity, Northern Illinois could surprise some. Momentum from a new coach with so many returning starters is always a positive bet and this is a very solid play against a Golden Gophers unit that struggled terribly defensively last year. THE PICK: Northern Illinois (+8)

CALIFORNIA (-4.5) VS. State of Michigan*******BEST BET

MISSOURI (-8.5) VS. Illinois (at St.Louis)

BIG 12

Oklahoma State (-7) VS. WASHINGTON STATE: This has the makings of a very high scoring game as both offenses have serious firepower to expose less than sterling defenses on both sides. For Oklahoma State, the problem each year seems to be a high-powered offense covering up a ragged defense. That seems to be the same situation this year. For Washington State, new coach Paul Wulff brings a no-nonsense attitude to the club and should bring some improvements across the board. The key for them will be the development of quarterback Gary Rogers, who will replace Alex Brink. A solid receiving group led by Brandon Gibson should help in that regard and the points should be there for the taking in this battle. The line is too high for an Oklahoma State defense to hit any team, so the smart play is to take the points and run. THE PICK: Washington State (+7)

TEXAS [email protected] (-20) VS. Arkansas State: The Aggies look like a very solid defensive unit this year that will help against a potentially explosive running game from Arkansas State. RB Reggie Arnold has two 1,000 seasons under his belt and is a handful for anyone, not counting the lesser defenses in the Sun Belt. [email protected] has very good secondary defense, which is key here as the Aggies will be able to send additional defenders down the line to stop Arnold. His problem is offense, as new coach Mike Sherman will try to turn quarterback Stephen McGee into a passing quarterback and not a running quarterback. I question his talent for making such a transition, so there could be great difficulties at the beginning to score points. Arkansas State has the best offense and thus the 20 point early lead makes them the solid play in this game. THE TEAM: Arkansas State (+20)

NEBRASKA (-14) VS. Western Michigan – Western Michigan’s strength lies in their defense, which returns 10 starters this year and they always have the ability to chase down the QB. On offense, quarterback Tim Hiller is coming off a rough season, but Jamarko Simmons’ receiving corps help. It would be even better for Tiller if he had more support in the running game, but that seems to be a problem again this year. For Nebraska, new coach Bo Pelini replaces Bill Callahan and that certainly means a complete change. Pelini is a defensive-first guy, so expect more of an upgrade on that side of the ball. However, Joe Ganz is a talented passer and there is potential for a lot of points to be added at a good pace. The momentum of the coaching change and the fact that they are playing at home should give the Cornhuskers a significant emotional advantage, so the right call is to pay the points here. THE TEAM: Nebraska (-14)

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