College Football Picks: Opening Day Best Bets Plus Upset Special

Doug Upstone

Thursday, September 3, 2015 1:07 PM GMT

Can you smell it? Can you feel it? After months of anticipation and looking over the sportsbooks betting odds countless times in preparation, college football is back and we are all thrilled!

Close your eyes for a minute - take in the smells of the meat on all the grills in the parking lots where games are being played tonight. Then put yourself on the sidelines and the head official hands you a brand spanking new game ball. You bring it to your nose and think, this is why I love being a football handicapper and making college football picks, it's been worth the wait.

Let the games begin!

 

Michigan Wolverines vs. Utah UtesHarbaugh Humbled in Utah
Two things I know for certain, Jim Harbaugh will bring back Michigan to prosperity and top program not only in the Big Ten but nationally as well. He will also be a complete jerk-wad about it because that's who he is.

WagerWeb has the Wolverines as five-point underdogs and while we presume they will be more effective than last year's bunch which only rang up 10 points in the 26-10 setback as three point home favorite, Harbaugh is not a miracle worker.

If you watched last year's contest, the most striking aspect was Utah was faster than Michigan across the board and their defense is still very capable of applying a ton of pressure to disrupt the Wolverines offense. While not sold on quarterback Travis Wilson, I see him doing what is needed for the Utes and scoring in the 20's.

The Utah home crowd besides being excited for opener, has a Big Ten team into Salt Lake City and this will be a really big deal. I'll take the home team for sports picks who is 7-0 ATS recently in nonconference play.

College Football Pick: Utah Utes

 

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Vanderbilt CommodoresCounting on Vandy to be Dandy at home
This matchup was one of the big flip games of the opening weekend. The original college football odds had Vanderbilt as 2.5-point favorites and since then the money has been coming in like an avalanche on Western Kentucky, who now sits as -2.5-point road favorites.

In theory, hard to argue with the switch with the Hilltoppers, led by QB Brandon Doughty, having posted 44.4 points a game, while the Commodores limped in to score 17.2 PPG.

Nonetheless, Western Kentucky also allowed 39.9 PPG a year ago and while everyone expects them to be better with seven returning starters, will they be that much better? Vanderbilt returns 17 starters and the offense will be more efficient, because it hardly have been worse and head coach Derek Mason has taken over the defense and word out of Nashville is dramatic improvement.

While I enjoy watching Western Kentucky play, I do not believe they should be favored against any SEC, especially on the road. Vandy wins outright.

College Football Pick: Vanderbilt

Must Check: Week 1 Mismatches to Tackle Now with College Football ATS Picks

Colorado vs. Hawaii: Upset Special - Hawaiian Style
Count me in on the University of Hawai'i restoring the nickname Rainbow Warriors. Plain old Warriors was so Harry high school and when they get that whole chant thing going, very cool.

Speaking of cool, great spot to take Hawaii at home with +7.5 against Colorado. Former USC quarterback Max Wittek takes over the reins and they have implemented a higher tempo, which should have Colorado off guard, having not faced this a year ago.

Also, while I like the direction coach Mike MacIntyre is taking the Buffaloes program, they are still 5-43 SU on the road in last 48 games and being over the key number of 7 matters. Finally, lets toss in the island squad is 19-8 ATS in the first two weeks of the season since 1992 and under coach Norm Chow are 7-0 ATS in home nonconference contests. The Rainbow Warriors winning sometime Friday morning in the lower 48 should not come as a surprise.

College Football Pick: Hawaii