Week 1 Best Total Predictions - Eastern Washington Could Have Wazzu Seeing Red

Washington State

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, September 3, 2016 7:44 PM GMT

Our capper's alma mater finally hits the board and a small school with a red field should get plenty of scoring chances. Read on as he picks out some value totals bets as Saturday comes to a close.

My little yeast beasts are making booze out of some fine Syrah, and as that simmers, I’ll have plenty of time to catch the first weekend of college football this season. This first week usually features a couple of FCS powerhouse teams that get a date with an FBS level squad. Although these games usually have late breaking lines, there is plenty of value to be had. That is where I am going for my first totals picks of the 2016 season.

 

Eastern Washington at Washington State
I’ll admit, as an alumni of Eastern Washington I should probably stay away from this game at all costs, and I will be staying away from the side when it finally comes out. However, I’ll be auto-betting the Over for this game whenever it comes out. I sincerely hope that bettors consider the last time these teams met, which was a low scoring 24-20 affair, but also Mike Leach’s first game as head coach bringing his ‘air raid’ offense to the Palouse.

When looking at the box score, the first half of this game is more characteristic of what we should see on Saturday night. There were 21 points scored in the 1st quarter and 17 points in the 2nd quarter as the Cougars took a 24-14 lead into halftime. However, in the 2nd half, only 6 points were scored as the game got sloppy and turnovers were plentiful.

What draws me to this game more than anything is that both of these teams do not play a grind-it-out type of offense, and each should have the ball with plentiful scoring chances. The Eastern Washington defense is also very susceptible to big plays by the opposing offense, as I’ve seen countless times in person. Expect a back and forth game here, and scores in the high-30’s or above for each team. If the total line comes in under 73, I’m taking the Over. However, the total was first posted at 76.5 I will hold up to the last moment if the line moves down a couple of points.

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Northern Illinois at Wyoming: Pick Under 55 at Bovada
This pick is not as much of a factor of who is playing in the game, but more of where the game is being played. At 7,300 feet in elevation, the stadium in Laramie, Wyoming has to be one of the highest elevation athletic venues in the United States. This will be the first time that these schools have played and the first time that Northern Illinois will have played in this stadium. I expect the Huskies to be sluggish and low energy in the 2nd half of this game. Wyoming plays into this by trying to run the ball a lot and wear down defenses. The Cowboys averaged 201 yards on the ground at home last year.

Wyoming’s offense last year was not good from a points scored standpoint, though, and the Northern Illinois offense was very streaky and terrible on the road to begin the year. This streakiness was in part because of the loss of Drew Hare, who tore his Achilles at Toledo. The Huskies ended their season with a 55-7 drubbing at the hands of Boise State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. If you are going to play in a bowl game named after a flower, better be it the rose. Northern Illinois only put up 33 yards total in that bowl game. Nasty.

Alas, NIU’s starting QB finished up his rehab in June, but I expect him to be a little rusty in this game to start, and for the sluggish offensive start on the road to repeat itself here. I’m expecting a game in the 28-17 range, which makes the Under my Week 1 College Football Pick.

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