As soon as the College Football odds were released for the 2015-16 season, we began handicapping. Here are our earliest leans on the Week 1 matchups offering best value ATS.
ULM Warhawks vs. Georgia Bulldogs Odds: Georgia -33.5
There’s an argument to make for Louisiana-Monroe in this game, and it’s that the Georgia Bulldogs are going into this game without a returning starting quarterback. Hutson Mason has graduated, forcing a change at that position for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s passing game could be very sluggish in this game, meaning that the Bulldogs could get off to a slow start in the first quarter and a half. They might lead by only 10 points at halftime and could have a tough time winning this game by five touchdowns. They might take a 38-point lead late in the game, but ULM could score a late touchdown against Georgia’s backups to put the final margin of victory at 31 points. You could also say that Georgia, without last year’s Heisman Trophy threat, Todd Gurley, could be a little more limited at running back.
The argument for backing Georgia with College Football picks is that the Bulldogs have a great running back in Nick Chubb. He’s a punishing and nasty running back who is going to be devastating between the tackles this season. Georgia doesn’t have to be cute on offense. It can overpower ULM from the start and win by 40 or more points without a complicated plan.
UTEP Miners vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Odds: Arkansas -35
The reason to place College Football picks on UTEP is that the Miners made a bowl game last season and are moving forward as a program. They’re not at Arkansas’ level, but they are not a total patsy. They can play.
The argument for Arkansas is that the Hogs are getting not only better, but deeper, as a program. They should be able to punish UTEP on both sides of the line of scrimmage and make this game a laugher, especially at home.
New Mexico State Aggies vs. Florida Gators Odds: Florida -38
While a lot of college football handicappers are focusing on the total odds as New Mexico State faces the Gators, I see value in this spread. The Aggies have consistently been one of the worst teams in major college football over the past decade. The Aggies are very weak and have nothing that can stand in Florida’s way. This game might stay under the spread, though, because Florida is playing its first game under new head coach Jim McElwain. This season will be sluggish and difficult for the Gators, so don’t expect the offense to flow in Week 1 – at least not all the time.
Texas State Bobcats vs. Florida State Seminoles Odds: Florida State -37
Florida State moves past the Jameis Winston era and gives the ball to Sean Maguire at quarterback. Maguire has some experience as a fill-in starter, so he might be ready to play well. Yet, you can’t expect everything to click in a season opener for a player who is about to embark upon a full season as the starter. Texas State, though, might be weak enough that Florida State can cover the number anyway. The Sun Belt is one of the weakest conferences in the country.
Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. USC Trojans Odds: USC -29
Arkansas State is expected to contend in the Sun Belt, but USC has way too much speed and athleticism for the Red Wolves. This looks like the safest call for a favorite against the spread of any of the games listed here. USC has been rebuilding for years but they finally do look like the real deal this year.