College Football Picks: Week 1

Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

First Saturday is finally here! Here are our college football picks for Week 1 of the season.

Opening Saturday of the College Football season is one of the best days of the year.

Maybe you’re watching down the beach or by the pool. You could be following along on your phone while enjoying any number of summer activities. First Saturday uniquely bridges the best parts of the summer and fall.

But make no mistake, Fall is Coming! (GoT joke for those of you that did not know) And so are traps, bad beats and desperate parlays if you’re not careful.

So while you’ve been enjoying the summer; swimming, boating and backing the Birds, the line makers in Vegas have been scouting, studying and simulating. Those big buildings in the desert didn’t build themselves after all, so I’m going to try to help you out.

First Saturday is the only Saturday in which you have seen these teams play just as many times as Vegas, unless you count the Spring Games (Note: Time to delete those off the DVR). So it’s important to use that advantage to build a bank roll and confidence for the rest of the season, or else Winter, as Bill Murray once said, is “gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” So let’s jump in.

Note: Winners are marked in bold 

Georgia Tech (-3) vs Boston College – 7:30am

The way I see it, you can’t gamble all day if you don’t start in the morning. Same can be said for drinking, I recommend Irish Coffee (Hot coffee, Jameson, brown sugar, dollop of fresh cream) as this game will be played in Dublin. The greatness of that B.C. defense last year was squandered by the ineptitude of their offense. The offense will improve with Kentucky transfer, Patrick Towles taking over at quarterback but it may take some time. I’ll take the Yellow Jackets here with three year starter, Justin Thomas, making just enough plays with his legs in a low scoring affair. 

More from The Baltimore Wire

Rutgers at Washington (-27) – 2:00pm

Washington finished strong last year, winning their last three games while averaging 47 points in those wins. Take the Huskies early as the secret will be out on them soon enough. I actually like Washington to sneak into the four team playoff after winning the PAC-12. It is former Boise State coach, Chris Petersen’s third year at Washington and he returns 15 starters from last year.

UCLA at Texas A&M (under 55) – 3:30pm

The Aggies played musical chairs at the quarterback position since the end of the regular season. Their top two QBs transferred and they will start Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight. The QB instability combined with the much improved defense under former LSU Defensive Coordinator John Davis should keep the scoring down early. UCLA only returns four starters on offense while returning nine on a defense that should feature a nasty front four.

Louisiana Tech at Arkansas (-25) – 4:00pm

After losing at home against Toledo last year, Arkansas will not take an opponent from a lesser conference lightly. They ultimately want to run downhill, so running the same offense late in the game after building a lead should set them up nicely to cover the big spread. Louisiana Tech loses Kenneth Dixon (get well soon, Go Ravens) who was one of the most prolific scorers in college football history. Lay all those points and don’t fret if it takes into the third quarter to really bury that spread.

USC at Alabama (-12) -8:00pm

There are several games on First Saturday that have National Title implications, which is why we love the college football regular season. This is one of them. All of those weapons USC has won’t be enough against Bama’s defense. Returning starters are important to focus on when betting early in the year as experience is important in the college game, except when it comes to Alabama. It doesn’t matter. Every year they churn out draft picks and every year they replace them with future first and second round draft picks. If they can limit the big plays they will absolutely dominate as USC will struggle to sustain long drives.

Next week we will be able to bet on the hometown Maryland Terrapins. This week they essentially play a JV team in Howard. It could be a good year to bet on Maryland, as they should start 4-0 and build momentum going into their bye week before a winnable Homecoming game against Purdue.

Next: Terps vs. Howard Score Prediction

For now, let’s enjoy football should be a great extended college Football opening weekend. Remember, it’s okay to walk away from the table when you’re up on the house and just come back next weekend. You can’t go broke by taking a profit. Good luck!

These picks are brought to you by Nick Larichiuta. You can find him on Twitter at @cudaball.