Top ATS College Football Plays To Lay Down This Saturday Evening

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, September 3, 2016 5:08 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 3, 2016 5:08 PM UTC

Our handicapper, Mark Lathrop, gets to cherry-pick the board in Week 1 (or is it grape pick?). Read on as he reveals the picks he is most excited about as the College Football season of 2016 kicks off.

Wow, this summer went quickly and college football is back. As some of my brethren here at SBR know, I own a winery up in Washington State, and we’ve already harvested grapes and started making the 2016 vintage. Just like a winery vintage, any college football season is unique, and the offseason has put into place all of the thousands of variables that will play out during the season. No week is as unpredictable as Week 1, with new recruits playing on the big stage for the first time and new starters coming into their own. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the games and lines I like for Week 1 of the College Football season.


Fresno State vs Nebraska: Pick Nebraska -29
This is a huge line I admit, but the fact is that these programs are about 3 levels apart from each other in talent, facilities, coaching, and recruiting at the current time. Fresno State really hasn’t recovered from the graduation of tight end, Ben Focke, in the late 90’s, after all. Ok, so that’s partially pondering to a personal friend, but really if not for a few transcendent quarterbacks from the same family nobody would have cared about Fresno State football at all over the last two decades.

The Cornhuskers will come into this game with a 4th year starting quarterback in Tommy Armstrong Jr. Along with one of the best-receiving corps in the Big Ten, he should be able to carve up a Fresno State defense that gave up 38.1 points per game last year. Now, the Huskers are going to miss WR Brandon Reilly and safety Nate Gerry to suspension, but the 2nd string will be better than the Fresno State’s starters in this matchup. This might even have the effect of Armstrong Jr. deciding to pull the ball down and run more, in which he was deadly effective at last year.

Unfortunately for Mr. Focke and the Fresno State Bulldogs, they don’t really need to win this game to have a successful season in their book, which would be to compete for a Mountain West title. Look for them to be overpowered mightily in this matchup, and for the game to end up similar to the 55-19 Nebraska win in 2014. Lay all of the points here and take Nebraska -29 at 5Dimes as one of your Saturday night College Football Picks.


Free College Football Pick: Nebraska -29
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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Clemson vs Auburn: Pick Clemson -7 (Buy ½ Point)
I think it is a fool’s errand to try to fade Clemson as long as Deshaun Watson is the starting quarterback, and this game is no exception even though it is in Death Valley against Auburn. Watson is a transcendent talent and a game changer, and with him at the helm the Clemson offense should have what it takes to overcome any Auburn home field advantage. He’s seen bigger stages, and won’t be intimidated. Lay the points with Clemson in this spot.


Free College Football Pick: Clemson -7.5 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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Brigham Young vs Arizona: Pick BYU -1
Sometimes it takes an off-color comment to get an edge in a pick that you would have never thought of backing, but hear me out on this one.

In discussing the College Football card with my wife this evening, I brought up the  BYU vs. Arizona game and she immediately spouted that 'BYU will win that game'. I asked her to explain her logic, and she went on to state that, obviously, the Mormons at BYU had been painfully celibate all summer after seeing girls in skirts and swimsuits, and would come out with a fire and determination not to be matched. That logic is easy enough to understand for me, and in a game that is about pick’em across the board, a motivational advantage is important. I’m taking the Cougars at -1 at 5 Dimes as another Saturday College Football Pick.


Free College Pick: BYU -1
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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