Oh, how foolish I was to believe I could change my fortunes in 2023. We picked up this year right where we finished last year, below .500. Our record in zero week was 2-5, shout out to Notre Dame for the under and USC for the over. That’s okay though! Now that we have a full slate of college games on the docket, we will get in the win column. The odds* for the picks below come courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. Nothing in this blog should be construed as financial advice.
Florida at Utah -4.5
Florida travels up to Utah to kick off the college football season on a Thursday night. The Gators beat the Utes last year but that was in Gainesville. The crowd in Salt Lake City will undoubtedly be boisterous and the X-factor here which I mention entirely too often is the elevation. It will never be easy for teams to travel from sea level to higher altitudes. I think the Utes will be out for revenge and they win by at least a touchdown. Keep an eye on the Cam Rising injury situation though.
Colorado at TCU -20.5
The Colorado Buffaloes have an enormous amount of hype behind them now that the Coach Prime show has come to town. Unfortunately, this rebuild in Boulder is going to be a multi-year process. Colorado lost a ton in the portal and looks particularly concerning in the trenches. While TCU will take a step back after their impressive 2022 campaign, it won’t show against Colorado. Take TCU to cover.
Buffalo at Wisconsin over 54.5
The times are changing in Wisconsin with new head coach Luke Fickell bringing in a different brand of offense than the Badgers are used to. Under center for Wisconsin will be SMU transfer, Tanner Mordecai. For the past two seasons, Mordecai has powered the Ponies to produce some of the most prolific offensive numbers in the country. I am hammering the over with this new-look Wisconsin offense.
Boise State at Washington -14.5
Washington is my pick to win the PAC 12 in the final year of the conference as we know it (and perhaps at all). The Huskies kick off the season against Boise State but Boise isn’t the giant killer they once were. I like the Huskies to get started with a big win over Boise State at home. Consider me a member of the Penix for Heisman bandwagon once that gets started. Take Washington in this one.
UTSA -1.5 at Houston
The Cougars were expected to be one of the top teams in the Group of 5 last season with their talent level. They failed to meet the hype. Now the Coogs are without Tank Dell and Clayton Tune and they find themselves in a bit of a concerning situation for their first season in the Big 12. Meanwhile, UTSA hopes to get revenge after losing to Houston last season. I like the Roadrunners -1.5 here. Meep meep.
West Virginia +20.5 at Penn State
The Mountaineers are being counted out by just about everyone headed into the season but I think West Virginia is in a position to shock some folks. Neal Brown will be coaching for his job and while I don’t think they pull off the upset, I think the Mountaineers go into Happy Valley and give Penn State a bit of a scare. Penn State wins but WVU covers.
South Alabama at Tulane Under 52
South Alabama at Tulane represents the best matchup of the week for the Group of 5 with the Jaguars near the top of the Sun Belt last year and Tulane winning the American and going on to knock off USC. Tyjae Spears is no longer with Tulane and the Jags have a very strong defense. I’m expecting a low-scoring affair in this one.
Upset Special: Clemson at Duke +380
In the first year under Head Coach Mike Elko, the Blue Devils went 9-4 - an extremely impressive turnaround from their 3-9 record the year prior. They kick off the season with a conference game against Clemson no less. The Tigers were ACC Champs in 2022 going undefeated in conference but they did have a pair of disappointing losses to Notre Dame and South Carolina before getting handled by Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. I think Cade Klubnik is an elite talent and Clemson ought to be good this year but Mike Elko will have that Duke defense ready to build off last season. I’m sprinkling a little money line action on the Blue Devils at +380.
Let us know what matchups you are keen on in the comments!
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See http://draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.