College Football Picks: Rider's 2008 "Bet On" Teams (Part I)


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College Football Picks: Rider's 2008 "Bet On" Teams (Part I)

Josh Freeman and K-State are one of Tommy Rider's "bet on" teams this season.

As part of my preseason college football picks, I have come up with a list of 16 "bet on" teams for the upcoming season. I will break this up into two parts so it's easier to read but here are my first eight teams to watch for this year.

Ball State - Led by QB Nate Davis, WR Dante Love and an improving defense, the Cardinals are my pick to win the MAC this season. They have 15 returning starters and are 9-2 in their last 11 conference road games. Keep that in mind, as the Cardinals could be underdogs when they travel to MAC contenders Toledo, Miami and Central Michigan. They will probably be a dog when they visit Indiana on Sept. 20 as well, but they are a better team than the Hoosiers.

Bowling Green - Another MAC team I really like heading into the season is Bowling Green. Most people will remember the Falcons getting blasted by Tulsa 63-7 in their bowl game but that overshadowed a breakout year from Bowling Green. Seventeen starters return, including QB Tyler Sheehan, one of the MAC's best. The rush defense needs to improve but BG has the offense to score on anyone. They open up as a juicy two-touchdown underdog at Pitt. Im intrigued.

Colorado - The Buffs are headed in the right direction under Head Coach Dan Hawkins and there is always that leap year programs make from competitive to good. I think 2008 could be that year for the Buffs. The good thing about Colorado is that they play an extremely tough schedule, so there will be plenty of chances to get some favorable lines. Actually, CU could be underdogs in half of their games this season. If freshman RB Darrell Scott is as good as advertised, the Buffs offense has a chance to be scary.

Connecticut - The Huskies could spoil the highly touted Big East showdown at the end of the year between West Virginia and South Florida. UConn gets the Mountaineers at home, where they are 28-8 lifetime. They are also 10-1 ATS at home versus teams from the Big East. This is a very underrated football team. The Huskies return 17 starters and should have one of the Big East's best defenses. Phil Steele believes Connecticut will finish 7th in the Big East, just ahead of Syracuse. On the other hand, I think they will be a moneymaker ATS once again in 2008.

Houston - Some people may be off Houston because Head Coach Art Briles moved on to Baylor but this is still a very talented team. The Cougars return 14 starters and 56 lettermen from a squad that won eight games last year. Sophomore QB Case Keenum returns to lead an explosive offense after winning C-USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2007. The Cougars should also have the conference's best pass defense. Houston is 18-7 against C-USA teams since 2005.

Kansas State - The more I look at this team, the more I like them. K-State ended last year on a four-game losing streak but I think they have the pieces in place to be an 8-win team this season. As usual, the Wildcats play a cupcake schedule early on but it may be worth laying the points with them. Kansas State has won 18 consecutive home openers by an average of 27 points. They opened up as a 25-point favorite against a North Texas team that went 2-10 last year. QB Josh Freeman is a stud and this is a team I will be keeping a close eye on in 2008.

Louisiana Lafayette - I made the Ragin' Cajuns my top sleeper team of the year in a previous blog post. They were a supposed to challenge for the Sun Belt title last year but ended up being the conference's biggest disappointment. I think they rebound in 2008 and could be a great dog pick against teams like Southern Miss, Illinois and Kansas State. Don't sleep on the Ragin' Cajuns this year!

Marshall - The Thundering Chuck O' Luck's return 16 starters and look primed to rebound after three poor seasons. The defense will be much improved with the return of 2006 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, DE Albert McClellan. This is the most talented team Mark Snyder has had in his four years at Marshall and I expect that to pay off at the betting window.

I will post the next eight "bet on" teams Friday afternoon.

  • Yes Greg. I think Ball State wins that one.

  • Do you still like Ball State +3 over Indiana in tonights game?


  • No question that Southern Miss has athletes Chuck. I don't doubt that. You are closer to the team than I am so for me personally, I'm just waiting to see how everything comes together first. And Chad, you may get your wish tomorrow. You'll have to check back and see. That's what we call a "tease." lol

  • Great read Tommy...hope to see FAU or NM in tomorrow's edition.

  • Austin Davis IS Going to be VERY Good in the No Huddle-Spread Offense. Fedora said after the Spring Game that Southern Miss HAD more Team SPEED than he First Thought.

  • Don't worry Chuck, Southern Miss is coming. I still have to do my "Bet against" teams yet. lol Just kidding. I really don't have a great read on them as of yet Chuck. I'm going to see how they play in the first couple of weeks first. I love Larry Fedora, I just want to wait and see how the QB situation plays out.

  • Nice List! Where's SOUTHERN MISS?

  • Does anyone know of a capper who has ever released a GOY in week one of any sport? God, that would be really funny. I guess if you lose, there is no place to go but up. lol

  • That sounds like an Opening Week GOY to me LOL

  • That's a great line lgjr1. The guy I know close to the program who bleeds Northeastern is hoping they can keep that game within 35 points. He believes Ball State is a terrible matchup for the Huskies because their secondary is so weak. I like Ball State in the neighborhood of 49-10 in that game.

  • BET US HAS BALL ST @ -20.5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ball State is going to open up a can on Northeastern in Week 1. I can't get to the Sportsbooks quick enough to bet that game.

  • Awesome stuff Tommy - I'm with you on Ball State for sure!