Last week was a small glimpse of what college football should feel like. We have a full set of games on Thursday, a full set of games on Friday and an entire slate of games on Thursday. I will be doing a preview for all three days, because why not?
Last week we went 1-1 and are down only .09 units on the weekend. But don’t worry, I will have 15 plays for you this weekend.
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UCF vs. Connecticut
Line: UCF -24, O/U 71
UCF has the share of the 2017 National Championship but they lost their coach Scott Frost to Nebraska. None the less the Golden Knights return McKenzie Milton, their star quarterback who had 4,037 yards, 37 TDs and only 9 interceptions. Milton also added another 613 yards and 8 more scores on the ground. Best part, Milton is only a sophomore this year. Milton should be able to rack up the yards against a UConn defense that only returns 2 plays on a defense that ranked 127th out of 130 teams last year. UCF cruises to a victory and wins the Civil COnFLict trophy, a rivalry game that has little to no meaning. Pick: UCF -24
New Mexico State vs. Minnesota
Line: Minnesota -21.5, O/U 27
New Mexico State lost to Wyoming 29-7 last week, are playing an early game this week and have to travel to Minnesota for Week 1. The Aggies only had 144 passing yards and -9 rushing yards. Clearly things didn’t go as planned, and now play a Top 30 2017 defense. Minnesota is starting a walk on true freshman Zack Annexstad at quarterback, which isn’t the best look for a Power 5 team but returns Rodney Smith (977 yards, 3 TDS, 4.27 YPC in 2017) behind a solid offensive line. Wyoming was a G5 team that crushed the New Mexico State offense and Minnesota, a P5 team should do the same. Pick: Minnesota -21.5
Northwestern vs. Purdue
Line: Purdue -1.5, O/U 53
Two great coaches, two QB’s returning from injuries. That is the story line of the season. Northwestern scheduled Notre Dame later this season, pushing this B1G matchup into Week 1. Northwestern has only lost to Purdue one time in the last decade, with an average margin of victory being 12.3 points. The last two times the programs met in West Lafayette, Northwestern outscored the Boilermakers 83-31. Northwestern returns most of their 34th ranked defense from last year while Purdue has made changes at every level of their defense. But the largest if factor, Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, is still questionable for game 1 a lot will rest on this. If you can wait till game time do so, but I am sure the line will flip if Thorson starts. Pick: Northwestern +1.5
Wake Forest vs. Tulane
Line: Wake Forest -6, O/U 57
Wake Forest finished 8-5 last year including a win over Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl. Tulane went 5-7 and had an upset victory over Houston last year. This is a prime matchup that should catch a lot of excitement tonight. Last year Tulane had the 99th best defense and the 75th best offense, while Wake Forest had the 113th best defense and 17th best offense among all D1 teams. Wake Forest scored 42.8 points in Wins, but only 23.4 points in losses. Tulane had 35.4 points in Wins and 21.9 points in losses. These teams are primed for a shoot out. Tulane is a passing team that is playing a defense that allowed over 300 yards passing in 7 games last year including the last 6 games of 2017. Wake Forest is a running team that is playing a new defense that allowed 200 yards or more 8 times (2 of those games were 194 and 197 yards, but close enough). Pick: Over 57
Note: Lines may have changed. These picks were made at 8:15 PM CT on 8/29/2018.