Taphorn’s Twelve Pack: College Football Week 1
This write up features twelve weekly betting lines (The Twelve Pack). Six bets I like will be broken up into half units, full units and double units.
The additional six lines will be lines to stay away from. Each week I’ll also feature a special bonus bet from the little degenerate birdie that whispers bets in my ear.
Week Zero Record: 3-0. +3 units.
6 Bets I Like
1. Ohio State Buckeyes -13.5 at Minnesota Golden Gophers
This early season game feels like the oddsmakers aren’t giving quarterback CJ Stroud enough credit. Minnesota has one of the top running backs in the country in Mohammed Ibrahiem, but the offense will struggle to keep up with the Buckeyes. Stroud has arguably the top two receivers in college football at his disposal in Chris Olave and Garret Wilson. The Buckeyes back seven will have growing pains but Larry Johnson’s defensive line will be a problem for teams all season. Bet amount: ½ unit.
2. Boise State Broncos at UCF Knights -5.5
I’m very bullish on the Knights under Gus Malzahn. Auburn let Malzahn go after six seasons, but his offense should do well at Central Florida with quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel is already a polished passer that takes care of the ball and can make plays with his legs. This is a tough matchup for Boise coming across country week one on a Thursday and I like UCF by more than a touchdown here. Bet amount: 2 units.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide vs Miami FL Hurricanes under 61.5 points
Alabama’s offense has been flying high and Nick Saban continues to recruit at the highest level. D’Eriq King is playing in this game after a late season ACL tear. But I’ve got to take the under here.
Bryce Young and company will take some time to gel and reach the level the Bama offenses fans have become accustomed to. King relies on his legs to be the dynamic playmaker he can be and it’s hard to see him being 100% this early from the injury he suffered. Add in an Alabama defense that should be one of the top units in the nation and this game shouldn’t see enough scoring to hit the over. Bet amount: 1 unit.
4. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns +8.5 at Texas Longhorns
One of the matchups between ranked teams this weekend may be flying under the radar due to name recognition. People better learn the Ragin’ Cajuns names along with coach Billy Napier. The matchup of former Nick Saban assistants provides a tough matchup for first year Texas coach Steve Sarkisian. Louisiana brings back the most production in college football and has experience on this stage after taking down Iowa State in week one last year. Might even be worth taking ULL outright here. Bet amount: 1 unit.
5. LSU Tigers at UCLA Bruins under 65.5 points
UCLA kicked off in week zero against Hawaii and looked like a force on the ground and defensively. The Bruins defense was flying around the field and making plays all over the place. LSU has been displaced for the past week due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Hurricane Ida and has been practicing in Texas on their way out to Los Angeles.
The Bayou Bengals should be better than they were a season ago, especially on defense with a strong secondary, but the offense loses Myles Brennan, Arik Gilbert and Terrace Marshall from a team that dropped off considerably from 2019. I expect both defenses to control the game well enough to keep the score on the lower side. Bet amount: 2 units.
6. Georgia Bulldogs vs Clemson Tigers -2.5
The matchup in Charlotte is easily the biggest game of the weekend. Both teams come in ranked in the preseason top 5 and are considered by most as two of five teams that have a legitimate chance at being crowned champions at the end of the year. Georgia is missing its three biggest receiving weapons (Pickens, Washington and Gilbert) and replaces almost the entire secondary from a year ago.
DJ Uiagalelei replaces Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and gives Dabo Swinney another future All American at the position. This game will probably be a low scoring affair, but the Tigers come out with a win by a field goal. Bet amount: ½ unit.
Degenerate Little Birdie’s Bonus Bet: USF Bulls at NC State Wolfpack -18.5.
The little birdie tells me that the Wolfpack returns 20 starters from an 8-win team a season ago. USF only won one game last year and likely won’t show much improvement in 2021.
6 Bets to Avoid
1. Penn State Nittany Lions +5.5 at Wisconsin Badgers
Both teams had a disappointing 2020 for a various of reasons. Penn State started off 0-5 and Wisconsin had multiple contributors miss games due to COVID. Both teams are expected to contend in the Big Ten but both feel like a slight unknown this early.
2. Stanford Cardinal +2.5 at Kansas State Wildcats
David Shaw has long been rumored for NFL jobs but his Stanford teams haven’t recently lived up to the level that he was able to sustain shortly after Jim Harbaugh left. Kansas State coach Chris Klieman followed in the footsteps of a legend in Bill Snyder and collected national titles like Nick Saban in his time at North Dakota State.
Klieman has the Wildcats trending in the right direction and this game should shed light on where each team stands entering 2021.
3. Fresno State Bulldogs +20.5 at Oregon Ducks
Oregon is the favorite to win the Pac 12 this season and should contend for a playoff spot. The Ducks travel to Columbus in week two so there’s the possibility of looking ahead. Fresno State was able to shake off the rust with a week zero game and has an experienced team that could hang around if Oregon’s not careful. I’d stay away from giving Fresno three touchdowns.
4. San Jose State +14.5 at USC Trojans
Like the Fresno State game, San Jose State got a chance to shake off any rust with a week zero game. The Spartans have an experienced defense and quarterback Nick Starkel brings SEC experience out west. USC should have a great season and were my picks to win the Pac 12 South, but San Jose State could hang with the Trojans for a while.
5. Nevada Wolfpack +2.5 at California Golden Bears
Carson Strong. Another group of five conference quarterback that will garner attention nationally, Strong put together an impressive 2020. Nevada comes in with the second-best odds to win the Mountain West while Cal projects well behind the Pac 12 North favorites. Another Mountain West vs Pac 12 that I’m just not confident about.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7.5 at Florida State Seminoles
Notre Dame replaces Ian Book and multiple offensive line starters, but Jack Coan and Kyren Williams will showcase in this year’s offense. How effective they can be early on is remained to be seen. Florida State has been atrocious since Jimbo Fisher’s departure, and Mike Norvell hit the transfer portal hard this offseason. The Seminole roster is a relative unknown right now so until I see them in action I’m staying away.