Last week I ran down some of the great opening week match-ups in college football but most of the oddsmakers didn’t have quality lines out just yet. That has changed now as our friends at Bovada have lines for all the action coming up on college football’s opening weekend.
I’m not going after games I think will be good games today though. I’m going after games I believe you could really cash in on. There are teams with new coaches and new quarterbacks as well as teams with a whole lot to prove in 2013. Let’s get it started.
USC (-22) at Hawaii - The Warriors were 3-9 last season and finished near the bottom of the FBS in just about every key category. They gave up over 35 points per game (107th), scored just over 21 points per game (102nd) and rushed for 108.6 yards per game (114th).
Did I mention they were ranked 101st in passing? The Trojans will use two quarterbacks on the island this weekend. Both Max Wittek and Cody Kessler will see time. The Trojans will be a team on a mission to prove they were better than last year’s paltry record. I love the Trojans to cover.
Western Michigan (+28) at Michigan State - The Broncos head up I-69 to play a Spartans’ team that lost five games in 2012 by three points or less despite getting very little out of the quarterback position. MSU must replace stud running back Le’Veon Bell but there are a host of contenders.
WMU enters with their top running back and top receiver out of this contest. New Head Coach P.J. Fleck is the youngest in college football and has brought tons of energy to Kalamazoo but rebuilding will take time. The Spartans will cover on Friday night.
Northern Illinois (+3) at Iowa - The Huskies come off a 12-2 season in which they shocked the college football world by busting the BCS and going to the Orange Bowl. Head Coach Rod Carey took over for the bowl game after Dave Doeren left for NC State.
Superstar QB Jordan Lynch returns as do several other playmakers on offense, but the defense must replace seven starters. The Hawkeyes are coming off an embarrassing 4-8 season and the luster that once surrounded Kirk Ferentz has waned. They’ll open with a new QB and pressure facing the defending MAC champion. I love the Huskies here.
Louisiana-Lafayette (+10.5) at Arkansas - The Bret Beilema Era begins in Fayetteville and does so with huge expectations. He must replace starters at both the running back and quarterback positions while re-tooling the offense more in the mold of what he did at Wisconsin.
The Rajun Cajuns will enter as favorites to win the SunBelt Conference. They are coming off a 9-4 season and a bowl victory. Head Coach Mark Hudspeth has lost just eight games in his two season with LL. I won’t call for the upset but I will call for the Cajuns to keep it well within the spread.
BYU (-1) at Virginia - The Cavaliers return seven starters on both offense and defense from a team that struggled behind two different quarterbacks. Both guys are gone and the duty to falls to Sophomore David Watford who played in 2011 but redshirted last season.
The Cougars’ defense was one of the best in the nation last season surrendering just 14 points per game. The offense should be better as last year’s QB injuries were a lot to overcome.
While I see Virginia being an improved team this year, I like BYU in the opener.