Which Week 1 games might be too risky to play the college football odds? We're looking at four matchups, including one that's currently off the board, that could fit the bill.
One thing we've all learned by now is there is inherent risk with any wager. Well, unless you're John Candy as Dewey Oxburger playing poker against John Diehl's Cruiser in the classic movie Stripes, there's a certain amount of risk with every bet.
How much risk is not so easy to nail down since it varies from gambler to gambler, sports book to sports book and game to game. One of the biggest risk factors pick on the college football betting card is the size of your bankroll. The excitement of a new season is sometimes difficult to dial back, and far too often it leads to bettors blowing a huge portion of their bankrolls due to a lack of discipline as they chase one losing bet after another.
Before they know it, Labor Day is barely behind them and they're having to regroup with just enough to come to the table in Weeks 2 and 3.
How Will Baylor Respond On Field After Scandal, Coaching Change?
Teams that usually lead me to thinking of as early risks are those going through coaching changes or coming off tumultuous offseasons from NCAA sanctions or controversies. Baylor fits both of those definitions after scandal rocked the football program in Waco and led to the dismissal of head coach Art Briles.
The good news for interim coach Jim Grobe is the Bears get to begin against a real weakling in Northwestern State out of the Southland Conference on the FCS level. The matchup is so one-sided, it's not even listed on SBR's live NCAA football odds. If it does show up late, expect a spread approaching 60. Baylor has beaten the Demons four times in the past 10 seasons by a combined 236-35, so maybe there's no risk laying 8 touchdowns or more on the Bears; still, I find Baylor risky in the early going.
Another school on my early risk list is Georgia after Mark Richt left Athens for Miami to take over the Hurricanes. Granted, the Bulldogs found a very solid football mind for his replacement in Kirby Smart, most recently the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama. Their first opponent is North Carolina in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome, and the Bulldogs opened -3 but are now available mostly at -2 or -2½. I'd take UNC and the points if I had more confidence in the Tar Heels, but I don't. This game is one I'm just going to sit back and enjoy on the tube without taking any risk either way.
Texas Aggies Always Carry Risk
A team that always is a risk to me at any point in the season -- not just Week 1 -- is Texas A&M. That's because I've been an Aggie since nine months before birth and will still be one 100 years after death, so I've been watching them closely. More often than not, I simply fade the Maroon & White, especially when I can get points on the other guys.
The Aggies are 19-9 against all Kyle Field visitors the last four seasons, but many of those wins came against non-conference opponents such as Western Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe (barely), UTEP and Sam Houston State. UCLA promises to present more of a challenge than that quartet, though I'm still not sold enough on the Bruins to back them at +2 to +2½.
The Notre Dame-Texas game should be a great draw for college football action on Sunday. It has already been a volatile game at Bookmaker where it opened Fighting Irish -4½, quickly went to -3½, up to as much as -5 and is now back at -4½. Some gamblers have already taken a little extra risk one side or the other no matter how it turns out.
This is a game I'll watch begrudgingly just to see some of the new faces in the ND and UT depth charts. It's not, however, a game that I'll bet given the current risks and rewards.