Pitt will need to be on upset alert in Week 1 when Bowling Green comes to town.
With the college football season just two short weeks away, it's about time we start looking closer into some of these Week 1 lines. As I go over the spreads for CFB's opening weekend, I see solid value in some dogs that could be ready to bite early.
NC State +11.5 - The Thursday night opener features a South Carolina squad that's expected to be much improved this season. However, the Wolfpack are also a team that will be much better in 2008. NC State closed last year winning four of six games and they have a strong rushing attack and what should be a solid defense. Those two things usually help a team stay close, especially early on in the season. The whole world will be on the Gamecocks in this game but I would tread lightly and give the Wolfpack a look.
Army +7 - Temple has 21 returning starters. Some are talking about the Owls as a potential bowl team. In other words, Temple has high expectations surrounding the program for the first time in two decades. That's not a good spot for them. And to make matters worse, the Owls open up against an Army team that's returned to running the wishbone. It can be difficult for a program that has been down as long as Temple has to all of a sudden be expected to win. To put things in perspective, the Owls have been a favorite once in the last five years. They were -3.5 at home last season against Buffalo, a game where they got drilled 42-7. The Black Knights may struggle this season but Temple giving a touchdown on the road could be too much to pass up here.
Syracuse +12 - Syracuse is garbage, we all know that. However, is their a team in a less appealing position than Northwestern on opening weekend laying 12 points? Since 2000, Northwestern is just 5-8 as a double-digit favorite, including going 1-2 last season. Laying close to two touchdowns just isn't a good spot for a perennial doormat. The thing that has me looking hard at the Orange here is their strength on offense should be able to exploit Northwestern's weak rush defense. Last year, Northwestern gave up 167 yards per game on the ground and SU has three solid running backs in Delone Carter, Curtis Brinkley and freshman Averin Collier. If the Cuse gets the ground game going against Northwestern, it's going to be difficult for the Wildcats to cover this spread.
New Mexico +6.5 - This line surprises me. It opened up at -5 and has gone up. TCU is a strong team but they have to replace a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball and this is from a team that doesn't score much in the first place. New Mexico has one of the best lesser known quarterbacks in the country: Junior Donovan Porterie. He will be the best offensive player on the field in this game. I look at these two teams and I think they are extremely close. Throw in the fact that the Lobos are at home getting close to a touchdown, and they deserve a long look in my opinion.
Bowling Green +12.5 - The whole world is on Pitt entering the season. I'm sorry, did they get a new coach or something? As long as Dave Wannstedt is coaching that team, I will be betting against them. The Panthers still have no quarterback to speak of and Wannstedt will always screw up enough to allow inferior teams to stay in the game. Bowling Green was actually a year ahead of schedule in 2007. Sure, they got blasted in their bowl game by Tulsa but the Falcons were a young team last season. Led by quarterback Tyler Sheehan, the Falcons are going to have one of the top passing offenses in the country this year. Bowling Green must improve on defense but Pitt's passing attack is so weak, I think the Falcons get a break here. I'm not only considering taking the 12.5 points, I'm looking at a possible ML play on Bowling Green as well.
These are some of the underdogs I'm looking at right now for Week 1. Who are some of the dogs you think have a chance to bite hard on opening weekend?
The more I think about it and look into the game, the more I like Alabama. I can see them winning that one outright.
Nick Saban +5=$$$
Good call on NC ST looks like some smart money is coming in on NC ST too!
I was going to add Bama Chad but I didn't want to make this blog post too long. I will be watching that line closely for sure.
No doubt about it Tommy, should be a high scoring game. I'm curious to see the O/U for it. Another small play dog I'm looking at is Bama +5 vs Clemson. Tide may be able to keep this one within a field goal. Dunno yet, still working on the numbers.
Chad, if that Florida/Hawaii game was a few weeks later, the Over there would be my total play of the year. I don't see any way those two teams don't combine for at least 80 points. Florida should get into the 50's by themselves.
I tend to agree with Kentucky Chad but not with Hawaii. The Gators should roll the RAINBOW Warriors.
I wager almost exclusively on the SEC and there are two dogs I like in week 1 matchups: Kentucky +4 v Louisville (I think the Wildcats can win this outright) and Hawaii +33.5 v Florida (The Warriors score points and the Gators have a pathetic pass rush. Florida still wins, but not by 5 tds)