The main highlight of the evening is No. 2 TCU taking the field in search of the College Football Playoff. Join us as we preview the best college football odds offered in tonight's betting board.
TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Odds: TCU -17
This is a game in which the Horned Frogs need to be very careful. It’s not a matter of whether TCU is the better team or not. The real question is if TCU is ready to be sharp on offense and not require two or even three quarters to get into rhythm. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. He was easily one of the 10 best players in college football last season. However, in any season-opening game, any college football team or player – even the really good ones – face the challenge of suddenly playing a live game. There are no preseason games in college football, so that first game will often involve all sorts of twists and turns for many teams. This is something bettors can and should take into account for every game on this three-game card, and for every other game and betting proposition in week one. It’s part of college football to be erratic and perhaps not indicative of the full regular season in week one.
TCU is probably going to win this game, but Minnesota is a well-coached team led by head coach Jerry Kill. Minnesota has competed well for the Big Ten West title the past few seasons. The Golden Gophers played TCU last year, so they are familiar with what the Horned Frogs like to do. This is a home game for Minnesota, and also a night game. TCU, should it make mistakes and fall into a quick 10-0 or 14-0 deficit, will have a very tough time winning. As it is, 16 seems like way too many points to give to the Gophers here. They won’t win outright, but they will cover the number.
Pick: Minnesota +17
Duke Blue Devils vs. Tulane Green Wave
Odds: Duke -7
The key point to note here is that Tulane has a roster with a lot of freshmen on it, nearly half of the total starting 22 players the Green Wave will field between their offensive 11 and their defensive 11. That’s too many inexperienced players for a season opener. Duke is extremely well taught by head coach David Cutcliffe, and while you might be right in saying that Thomas Sirk has not started a game for Duke in his career, he’s been in the program for multiple years and knows the offense really well. He should be good in this game and the season. Take Duke minus the points.
Pick: Duke -7 at Bovada
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Odds: Western Kentucky -2
Western Kentucky did play against lesser competition last year, but it still scored a ton of points, in the national top 10, on offense. Brandon Doughty returns at quarterback this season for WKU, so the Hilltoppers should still score. Vanderbilt really struggled to score last season and plummeted to the bottom of the SEC. This is a game Western Kentucky should win.
Pick: Western Kentucky -2 at Pinnacle
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