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Gambling Takeaways from College Football Week 1

How great was yesterday? I literally sat on my couch for the better part of 14 hours and just watched college football.  My wife asked me around 6pm if I was tired of watching football yet?  I was like are you kidding me, this is like Christmas morning!

The picks were just ok as we went 4-5 on official plays but the 5 extra plays I gave went 4-1.  So if you played everything I gave out you went 8-6 and that’s not too bad.

With this article, I want to touch on some of the things you may have missed as you were watching Jake Browning choke away the game or Notre Dame put away Michigan in the first 5 minutes.  My goal here is to highlight some teams that stood out to me from a gambling perspective and might provide some line value moving forward.  I will also take a look at some final scores that were not indicative of the overall game.

What in the world do we do with Hawaii? I can’t remember a team outperforming in the first 2 games like Hawaii has this year. Yesterday they once again raced out to a comfortable lead and then coasted to an easy victory. Last week at Colorado State, the Rainbows lead 37-7 midway through the 3rd quarter and last night they led Navy 38-14 at the half. Sophomore QB Cole McDonald has 846 yards and 9 touchdowns in those 2 games.

They have won straight up as 17 and 13 pt dogs and in both games, the victory was sealed early in the 3rd quarter.  So then what do we do with our power rating on Hawaii?  After their victory over Colorado St I moved them up 4 points and this week I think I might move them up another 4-5 points.  It is looking like Hawaii will be 6-0 when Wyoming comes to the island on October 6th.

When my week 2 power ratings are released tomorrow I will most likely have Rice as the 2nd worst team and that is who Hawaii plays next.  I have Hawaii as about a 13 pt home favorite so this opening line will be one to watch and if the oddsmakers get crazy and put this too much above 14 then I will be a buyer on Rice.  Speaking of Rice they made the misleading finals section at the bottom of this article so be sure and check that out.

For the 2nd straight year, they lost the opener to Maryland but I am not giving up on UT just yet and they could provide some line value heading into the week 2 home opener against Tulsa.  Tulsa plays zero defense and this is just the game Texas needs to get back on track.  I also like Texas to beat USC in 2 weeks so if you can get points in that game I would take it.

Utah St
I had the Utah St over in my season win totals preview and this game went pretty much exactly as I thought.  Utah St is an experienced team and Matt Wells’ teams usually outperform on the road.  Keep your eye on them this year as this game was not a fluke.

Michigan St 
I loved seeing this game from Michigan St as they struggled with Utah St.  They should provide good value for us all year.  Michigan St is a tough-minded and experienced defensive team with 19 returning starters.  The line next week for MSU@ASU will be one of the first I look for.  ASU manhandled an overmatched UTSA en route to a 49-7 win as a 17 pt favorite.

Boise St
You know the rule: always play against Boise St at home and on Boise St on the road.  Once again that cashes.  Boise St is going to be really really good this year and Troy is one of the favorites to win the Fun Belt.  My week 1 power ratings had App St only 2 points higher than Troy.  There will be an adjustment for those 2 for next week but Troy is on the level with App St.  This game was never close as Boise led 35-7 at the half and coasted to an easy win.  Boise returns 10 defensive starters, 76% of last years tackles and senior QB Brett Rypien.  Boise St is the best G5 team.

North Texas
Seth Littrell is one of the really good young coaches in college football and this will be his best team in 3 years in Denton, Tx.  I thought North Texas would win this game but I didn’t think they would dominate the way they did.  In 2 weeks UNT travels to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas and I think North Texas will win that game.

Oregon St 
I can’t believe I am about to say this but I was impressed with Oregon St and in particular their offense.  They have some athletes and it showed in scoring 31 points and putting up 392 yards of total offense against the dudes of Ohio St.  If you need a refresher on dudes vs athletes, there are teams that have great athletes and then there are the few like Alabama, Ohio St and Clemson that have dudes. Dudes>athletes.

Make no mistake, Oregon St will not be good this year but there could be some value on them as a big underdog.


Misleading finals

Rice (+26) played Houston tough until Houston blew the game open in the 4th quarter.  Rice led 24-17 at the half and was down 31-27 at the end of 3 quarters.  Houston scored the final 14 points to win 45-27.

Washington St (-3) led Wyoming 20-19 at the end of the 3rd qtr before scoring 21 unanswered points to win going away 41-19.  Wyoming has a good defense and I am bullish on them this year.

Syracuse (-5) dominated Western Michigan in the first half and rolled out to a 34-7 halftime lead.  But senior QB Eric Dungey was taken out for the final drive of the first half in favor of freshman Tommy DeVito, the future of Syracuse football.  After WMU closed the gap to 34-28 Dungey was put back in and the Orangemen cruised to a 55-42 win.  Dungey is so fun to watch as he plays the game like a LB and reminds me a lot of Phillip Rivers.  The Syracuse offense will be very good this year.

Northern Illinois (+10) was down 3-0 at half at Iowa and this game was exactly the kind of defensive struggle I expected.  But the floodgates opened for Iowa in the 2nd half as they easily covered 33-7.  I don’t think Iowa will compete very well with the big boys in the Big 10 and NIU is one of the favorites to win the MAC and this game did nothing to change that opinion.

North Texas (-3.5) led 36-0 in dominating SMU before the Mustangs put up 23 4th quarter points in garbage time to make this a respectable 46-23 final.


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