At long last, college football is finally here. But it won’t be any ordinary opening week; it’ll be one of the best opening weeks ever thanks to an absolutely stacked schedule chock full of great games. And to help wade through all those excellent matchups, let’s get the expert picks and predictions of some of the top college football minds around.
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2016 NCAA College Football Week 1 Expert Picks
Outkick the Coverage
|South Carolina at Vanderbilt||Under 42.5|
|North Carolina (+2.5) vs. Georgia||Georgia (-2.5)|
|Clemson (-7.5) at Auburn||Auburn (+7.5)|
|LSU (-9.5) vs. Wisconsin||LSU (-9.5); under 44.5|
|UCLA (+2) at Texas A&M||Texas A&M (-2); over 55.0|
|Alabama (-10) vs. USC||Alabama (-10); under 54.0|
|Ole Miss (+4.5) vs. Florida State||Ole Miss (+4.5)|
Clay Travis of Fox Sport’s Outkick The Coverage site is so excited for the new college football season that he posted his 10 weekly betting picks days earlier than usual.+7.5) and Ole Miss (+4.5). Travis notes that while Clemson’s awesome, it will be in a rather unusual situation in the opener. It’ll be on the road in what should be a sold-out SEC stadium on primetime. That’s why he sees Auburn staying within a touchdown of last year’s national championship game participants.
Meanwhile, Travis’ rational for picking Ole Miss to cover against Florida State simply boils down to quarterback. The Rebels will be led by senior – and +3,000 Heisman contender – Chad Kelly, while the Noles will have Deondre Francois – a redshirt freshman – starting his very first college game on national television in the Orange Bowl. Talk about pressure.
|USC (+10.5) vs. Alabama||Alabama||Alabama*||Alabama*||Alabama||Alabama*|
|Notre Dame (-4.5) at Texas||Texas||ND||ND||ND||Texas|
|Clemson (-7.5) at Auburn||Clemson||Clemson||Clemson||Clemson||Clemson|
|Oklahoma (+10) vs. Houston||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|LSU (-9.5) vs. Wisconsin||LSU||LSU||LSU||LSU*||LSU|
|Florida State (-4.5) vs. Ole Miss||FSU||Ole Miss*||FSU||FSU*||FSU|
|UCLA (+1.5) at Texas A&M||A&M||A&M||A&M*||UCLA||A&M|
CollegeFootballNews.com’s stable of 10 college football experts has posted its against-the-spread picks for Week 1, but due to space constraints, we’ve taken the picks from five of their most experienced experts on the top seven games on the schedule.
All five were unanimous in their picks of Alabama (now -11.5 at TopBet), Clemson (+7.5), Oklahoma (-11) and LSU (-10) not just winning their opening week matchups, but covering touchdown-plus-point spreads as well. Three of the five experts even went so far as to make Bama a “lock of the century of the week,” represented on the table by the asterisks; none were confident enough to do so for either Clemson or OU.
The game which garnered the most disagreement was the Texas-Notre Dame game, with the Irish claiming only three of the five votes. There are certainly enough question marks surrounding the Irish, who are now just -3.5 favorites on TopBet.
With head coach Brian Kelly still unsure of his starter, it remains to be seen how a possible two-quarterback system of DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire will play out. Meanwhile, their secondary will be shorthanded after the dismissal of senior safety Max Redfield and suspension of senior corner Devin Butler due to separate off-the-field incidents.
|USC vs. Alabama||USC||Louisiana Tech at Arkansas||Arkansas|
|Florida State vs. Ole Miss||Florida State||South Alabama at Miss. St.||Miss. St.|
|Clemson at Auburn||Clemson||Arizona vs. BYU||Arizona|
|UCLA at Texas A&M||UCLA||Stanford vs. Kansas State||Stanford|
|LSU vs. Wisconsin||LSU||Oregon State vs. Minnesota||Minnesota|
Lisa Horne of Sporting News has gone all guns blazing with her bold predictions for Week 1. Easily her boldest prediction of the bunch is 11.5-point underdog USC beating Alabama in their titanic showdown in Texas. Horne sees the neutral field as a big factor, along with the Trojans’ more varied options on offense thanks to their skill position talent.
The USC upset is one of the many wins which Horn predicts for the Pac-12. She has the conference going 11-1 all-in-all in Week 1, so get ready to take the money line when possible. Apart from USC (+350 vs. Bama), she also foresees UCLA (+135 vs. A&M), Arizona (-1 vs. BYU), and Stanford coming out on top in their tricky opening tests.
On the flip side, she has the vaunted SEC West finishing just 3-4 on the week, with LSU coming away the big winner from the week following projected Bama and Ole Miss defeats.
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