This article is part of our College Football Betting: Finding the Edge series.
Edge's Great CFB ROI Race
If the title doesn't give it away, I'm about to embark on a long journey.
Although it was on my own time and entirely private, I predicted nearly 60% of college football games last year while placing a simulated bet on EVERY GAME.
This year, I'm going to make it public.
This is how it'll go. I will predict every game according to the spread, unweighted, 1 Unit per game. I will then flesh out my Top 5 picks, from which I'll be placing my real-money wagers. This will be a completely transparent endeavor, as I will provide W-L tallies for simulated bets and real-money wagers. The season goal is to go 60% on the year, with aspirations for an even higher result.
Here are all of my Week 1 predictions:
UAB -14.5, TEM +14,WIL +25., WAG +48.5.CC -35.5, FIU +33.5, UTAH -35.5, TLSA -29, USF+18, ECU +18.5, UNM -19, OSU -14, TENN -35.5, WKU -9.5, UNLV -9.5 SUU +44.5, UNC-5.5, ODU +31.5, EMU -30.5, DUKE -6.5 SDAK +15.5, NW -3, NOCO +35.5, CSU +3.5, MICH -17, OKLA -27.5, WISC -5.5, ULM +31, HC +2.5, COLG +50.5, GST -2.5, KSU -2.5, FOR +42.5, AFA -42.5, FRES +20.5, ARK-19.5, WVU -2.5, IND +3.5, MRSHL -2.5, CIN -23, BAMA -18.5, WYO -17.5, MSSST -23.5, CMCH +14.5, MASS +38, ISU -37.5, TEX -8, USC -14, LIB-20.5, GWB +32.5, SMU -30.5, MEM -24.5, OKST -36.5, AUB -36.5, SC -43.5, TXST +14, ARST-13.5, TOL -37.5, MTSU-7.5, TROY -26.5, SYR -1.5, TTU -1.5, ILL -6, NIU +18, FLA -23.5, WAM +33.5, UNT -17.5, CLEM -3, TA&M -28.5, WASH -23.5, VAN -21.5, DUQ +49.5, USA -1, UCLA +3, BCU +19.5, NEV+3, SDSU -31.5, BYU -12.5, USU +17, WSU -17.PRST+21.5, ND -7.5, MISS -10
If you are going through all the bets in detail, I'm going with the underdog in many of these wide-spread contests. My logic for most of them stems from two variables that should come into play in the first week. Last year's shortened season doesn't provide a lot of tape to review for some of these teams. While that fact doesn't transfer to a lack of preparation, I think some of the higher-powered offenses won't hit some of the lofty totals that we normally see in these stars vs. scrubs affairs. Although I am certain to miss some of them, I think a higher-than-normal percentage of the road dogs will hit.
Let's now look at my favorite real-money wagers of the week:
Clemson(-3.5) vs. UGA (Neutral Site)
This is a toss-up game between two championship contenders. Although both teams possess excellent defensive play, this game will be won outside the hash marks. With a massive WR corps led by Justyn Ross, D.J. Uiagalelei and the Tigers have big-play potential written all over them. JT Daniels and company possess a slight edge in the running game, but the Clemson defense is notoriously stingy against the run. If the secondary can cap the big play from DJU's arm, the Bulldogs have a fighting chance. In the end, a well-prepared Clemson defense should seize the day here as the Tigers light up the scoreboard. CLEMSON (-3.5)
San Jose State @ USC (-14)
Clay Helton and the Cardiac Kids of USC have a knack for letting road underdogs get under their skin, but another year of maturation from Kedon Slovis, coupled with transfer
Keaontay Ingram and standout pass-catcher Drake London, should ultimately give the Trojans their first win handily. USC is 10-0 against Mountain West opponents over the past decade. The Spartans looked great in a blowout win over Southern Utah, but this week should bring them back to earth. USC (-14)
Louisiana @ Texas (-8)
Can the Longhorns bring together a new offensive scheme, a redshirt quarterback and a flock of new offensive starters to earn their first win of the season? The Ragin' Cajuns are no longer a secret, and they are keen to pull an upset in Austin. They may have found Texas at their most vulnerable as they try to generate chemistry with many variables. Still, Texas' recruiting season was off the charts, and the team is high on Hudson Card. If he rises to the occasion, Texas should cover. TEXAS (-8)
UNC (-5.5) @ Virginia Tech
I'm betting on UNC with confidence this season, despite their downgrade at running back. Sam Howell has all the goods to win their side of the ACC, and on paper, they are the only legit challenge to Clemson for the conference crown. This is a tough first test for the Heels, but the Hokies underperformed with a 5-6 record last season and appear to be a threat in name only this time around. If UNC's offense hums early, this game could enter blowout territory. UNC (-5.5)
UPSET GAME: LSU (-3) @ UCLA
I think most people expected the Bruins to beat Hawai'i last week, but UCLA's defense completely dominated from start to finish. The defensive front four had an excellent game and even though they face a stronger opponent in LSU this week, they will wreak a lot of havoc. Chip Kelly boasts a meager 10-21 record over his tenure in Westwood, and this is a pivotal game as he leads one of his best teams to date. Zach Charbonnet is a huge offensive shot in the arm, and if the defense shows up again, we may see the week's biggest upset at the Rose Bowl. UCLA +3