September 8, 2018
There are 5 college football picks today, which were released yesterday.
#1: South Carolina +10.5 spread against Georgia for 3% of the bankroll.
The Georgia Bulldogs are one of the few teams expected to not only make the 4-team playoff this season, but possibly contend for the National Title once again. Looking at their schedule, there are not too many obstacles that stand in their way of running the table this season, but this matchup in Columbia is one of them. Playing on the road, early in the season, in an SEC opener against a much-improved team like the Gamecocks is exactly the type of spot we wouldn't be surprised to see the Dawgs stumble.
Improving the offense was an offseason priority for South Carolina coach Will Muschamp. The Gamecocks only averaged just 5.5 yards a play and ranked 12th in the SEC by averaging just 24.2 points a game in 2017. This unit was hindered by injuries, including receiver Deebo Samuel sidelined for the majority of last year. In an effort to spark the offense this season, Muschamp handed play-calling duties to Bryan McClendon and hired Dan Werner to coach quarterbacks. So far, the results have been encouraging for the Gamecocks. They now feature an up-temp style offense which is designed to put defenses on their heels and rip off chunk-plays at a time. In their season opener, South Carolina won 49-15 by averaging 7.6 yards a play. The offense generated 263 rushing yards, and quarterback Jake Bentley connected on 22 of 29 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs are a talented team, and Kirby Smart is defensive genius, however, Georgia lost a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball from a season ago. Their front seven is currently in transition and failed to record a sack last week against an overmatched Austin Peay team. If their defense is still shaky, SC could capitalize. Rico Dowdle could have success running against Georgia’s front seven and South Carolina also has a deep receiving corps which will likely test the Bulldogs’ revamped secondary. It's really going to come down to Jake Bentley's development and how efficient he plays in the spread, up-tempo offense.
We expect this to be a close game throughout, especially with this game being played in Willams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina should give Georgia all it can handle in this contest. While we are not sure they manage to pull off the outright upset, The Gamecocks should keep things competitive enough to stay within this double-digit number.
#2: Nebraska -3.5 spread against Colorado for 3% of the bankroll.
The start of the Scott Frost era in Nebraska was put on hold last week after weather cancelled the Huskers season opener. While many may look at that as a detriment to the team, considering they have yet to take the field in a live action game while their opponents have, but we believe the extra anticipation that this delay has caused will only add to the motivation of the players as well as turn the stadium into an incredibly hostile environment.
The Colorado Buffaloes may already have a game under their belts, however, beating up on a Colorado State team that doesn't appear to be very good isn't saying much. The thing that Nebraska has going for them at this point, is the element of surprise. Colorado has nothing but tapes of Frost at UCF a season ago to go off of. While Colorado has surely been practicing to counter Frost's tendencies, the one thing they won't be able to replicate is the Huskers overall speed. The pace that Nebraska’s new staff has implemented hasn’t gone away, nor have the Huskers stopped practicing it. While Colorado State’s offensive successes against the Buffaloes were few and far between, Colorado did show gaps where an up-tempo offense with quick and agile skill players could make a huge difference. Nebraska has the bigger, faster and stronger athletes and that could prove to be the difference in this one.
To expand on that point, it's not like defensive coordinator D.J Eliot has had a ton of success at the DC position. While coaching under Mark Stoops at Kentucky, the Wildcats surrendered and average of 30 points per game. He didn't do much better last season as the Buffaloes allowed opponents to score an average of 28 per game. Frost is a great coach, has a superstar (freshman) QB who could be something special in the future and has the talent to put points on the board. We simply don't believe Colorado will be able to keep pace in this contest, not on the road, not in this contest, not in Lincoln.
#3: Arkansas State +36.5 spread against Alabama for 3% of the bankroll.
There is no question that the Alabama Crimson Tide is the best team in college football. They are the defending National Champions and just held the Louisville Cardinals to their lowest offensive output in franchise history. It is also no wonder that they are now laying a huge number against amid-major team in the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
We’re not going to say that Alabama is in any danger of being upset in this contest, however, they do have a big date on deck as their play their SEC opener next week against Ole Miss. This matchup is sandwiched right in between their high-profile match against Louisville and a conference game, which means they may not have their full attention on Arkansas State, which could make it difficult to cover such a high number. Nick Saban has been known to play his backups in the second half of games that he has firmly in control and we wouldn’t be surprised if he did that here.
Despite playing in a mid-major conference, this is a talented Arkansas State squad that is going to give Alabama all they got. They have a veteran QB at the helm in Justice Hansen, who has no problem will airing the ball out. The Red Wolves will likely struggle to get anything going early and Alabama will gain a big lead, however, this is a team that has dominated their conference for over a decade and always plays a full 4 quarters. We don’t expect the fact that the game will likely be out of reach stop them from trying to put points on the board. Once the Alabama defense softens up in the second half, we expect the Red Wolves to put some scores on the board and sneak within this large number.
#4: USC +7 spread (buy the half point) against Stanford for 3% of the bankroll.
The oddsmakers are giving an awful lot of respect to the Stanford Cardinal in this contest and we are not quite buying it. Yes, the Cardinal have Bryce Love in the backfield and now it appears that they have a balanced passing game with KJ Costello at the helm. USC has owned the Cardinal recently. USC beat Stanford twice last season, including in the Pac-12 title game.
USC has a poor showing in their season opener as they allowed an inferior UNLV team to basically run roughshod on them, compiling most of their yards on the ground. That showing must have the Stanford faithful licking their chops at the thought of what someone like Love could do to that porous D. Again, we're not completely sold on that. USC may have a lot of new pieces on their team, especially on offense, this is a team that has prided themselves on the defensive side of the ball as well and can't be pleased with how they were run over last week. We expect to see a much better showing in this contest.
Stanford is probably the better-balanced team at this point in the season, however, that doesn't mean they should win this game easily. The Trojans still have numerous playmakers on their team and are capable of not only hanging with the Cardinal but could certainly pull off the upset and win this game outright. This will likely be the only time that the Trojans are listed as underdogs this season and the fact that they are getting a touchdown, the value that presents is simply too good to pass up.
#5: BYU -2.5 spread against California for 3% of the bankroll.
After such a disappointing 2017 season, the BYU Cougars appear to be back on the upswing this season and will look to start the season 2-0 as they face Cal. The Cougars put on an impressive performance in their opener as the completely dominated the Arizona Wildcats. They owned the battle in the trenches with their offensive and defensive lines and we believe that will again be key for them tonight.
A season ago, BYU QB Tanner Mangum was hampered by injuries and failed to take the next step in his progression. This season however, he appears healthy and really controlled the BYU offense. Cal also started the season off with a victory last week, although it was hardly impressive. With new coach Justin Wilcox at the helm, this is going to be a detailed oriented team, however, questions remain on the offense. Last week Cal used three different QBs to control the offense and while they did come away with the win, it was far from easy.
Against a disciplined and tough BYU front, if the O-line is unable to protect their QB, the Cal offense will once again struggle to move the ball down the field and score points. BYU appears to be the more balanced team, with continuity at the QB position as well as a veteran RB in Squally Canada in the backfield. With the Cougars now at home and playing in the elevation of Provo, this is a matchup that favors them. At less than a FG, the value is on the home team to pick up the win and cover tonight.
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