College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 1

College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 1

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

CHRIS' PICKS

Over 66.5, Colorado at Colorado State

I really like the Rams as an underdog. I believe I saw this line as high as Colorado –8 to open the week, but with it now –3.5, I'm a bit leery. As such, I'll confidently fall back on this total. The Rams' offense returns largely intact from last season and just ripped off 58 points against Pac-12 doormat Oregon State. The Rams also allowed 27, and the Buffalos' offense should be significantly better than Beavers. This total hasn't come close to hitting since 2013, and the under is 8-1 in the last nine matchups, but points should come a bit more freely Friday night.

Boston College (–3.5)
at Northern Illinois

Quite simply, if the Eagles can't cover this number, even on the road, then Steve Addazio may not last the entire season in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles' defense is stout, and the Huskies are unsettled under center. The total of 51 seems high with this line, as we're looking at something along the lines of 27-24. I'm not sure either team will score that much, but I expect the Eagles, led by a healthy running back Jon Hilliman and a potential breakout freshman in A.J. Dillon, to grind this to a comfortable win.

Over 68.5
, Louisville at Purdue

This seems like a ton of points, especially in Week 1, but with reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson returning, you know the Cards will come out firing on all cylinders, making

CHRIS' PICKS

Over 66.5, Colorado at Colorado State

I really like the Rams as an underdog. I believe I saw this line as high as Colorado –8 to open the week, but with it now –3.5, I'm a bit leery. As such, I'll confidently fall back on this total. The Rams' offense returns largely intact from last season and just ripped off 58 points against Pac-12 doormat Oregon State. The Rams also allowed 27, and the Buffalos' offense should be significantly better than Beavers. This total hasn't come close to hitting since 2013, and the under is 8-1 in the last nine matchups, but points should come a bit more freely Friday night.

Boston College (–3.5)
at Northern Illinois

Quite simply, if the Eagles can't cover this number, even on the road, then Steve Addazio may not last the entire season in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles' defense is stout, and the Huskies are unsettled under center. The total of 51 seems high with this line, as we're looking at something along the lines of 27-24. I'm not sure either team will score that much, but I expect the Eagles, led by a healthy running back Jon Hilliman and a potential breakout freshman in A.J. Dillon, to grind this to a comfortable win.

Over 68.5
, Louisville at Purdue

This seems like a ton of points, especially in Week 1, but with reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson returning, you know the Cards will come out firing on all cylinders, making them a reasonably safe bet for 40-plus points. Purdue allowed at least 45 points six times last season, all to conference opponents, and a quick fix isn't likely in this matchup. And with the Boilermakers moving to Jeff Brohm's spread/temp offense, they seem capable of contributing to the scoring fest.

Georgia (–14.5)
vs. Appalachian State

Some might have the Bulldogs on upset alert, but I find that to be a tall order for the Mountaineers between the hedges. Georgia should boast one of the nation's top defenses, and while no one knows how quarterback Jacob Eason will develop in his second season, all indications are that running back Nick Chubb is back to his pre-injury form, and that alone could be good enough to cover this number. Appy State stepped up in competition twice last season, nearly stunning Tennessee in the season opener before getting drilled at home against Miami. The common theme, however, was that they scored a combined 23 points. It's tough to see them getting much more than 14, and if the Bulldogs hold them that low, the ground game will be strong enough to cover the two touchdowns.

Texas A&M (+3.5)
at UCLA

This feels counter intuitive, as the Bruins have a proven Josh Rosen under center, while the Aggies haven't declared a starter. But Texas A&M seems to play their best football in September, having only lost twice in the season's opening month since 2012, to No. 1 Alabama in 2013 and No. 24 Florida in 2012. Given the body of work from UCLA last year, and the unlikelihood that its offensive line and running game suddenly take off, I don't know that the Bruins should be favored against anyone to start the year.

GREG'S PICKS

It's the first full week of the 2017 college football season and unlike every other sport, there needs to be a lot of caution entering the first week from a handicapping perspective. Sure, there are plenty of unknowns in other sports, even the NFL for example, but college football teams, especially good ones, have so much turnover from year to year that it's hard to gauge exactly what they are until you've seen them in action.

With that in mind, it would be wise to proceed with caution with any and all prognostications this week. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't done my homework, it's just that it's tough to make picks based on returning starters and accounts of practices. My angle Week 1, as during most weeks, is to attempt to figure out what the oddsmakers are thinking and if I can figure that out, I can pick winners. Without further ado, the Week 1 selections.


Colorado (-3.5) vs. Colorado State



This line has predictably dropped since it opened because of the beatdown the Rams put on the Oregon State Beavers last week, but within that pummeling of the Beavers a sore spot remains. That sore spot is CSU's rushing defense, which was terrible last season and didn't seem to improve much in its opener. Even in a blowout win, the Rams allowed 5.2 yards per rush, and that is simply not going to cut it this week against a team that can run with authority. 



Bowling Green (+17) at Michigan State

The Spartans were a mess last season and with only nine returning starters total, they might be in for another long season. Bowling Green was a bit of a mess on defense last season, but the Falcons ran the ball well, and as long as that carries over to this season, they should be fine in matchups like these. This line appears to be baiting the public into thinking that MSU is going to be back to form this season, but I am not sure it will be.


Wyoming (+11.5) at Iowa



This should actually be an interesting matchup as Josh Allen for Wyoming is one of the best QBs in the nation and Iowa once again should have a top-notch defense. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, their offense is again projected to be pretty weak. I don't expect Allen to have his way against a stout Hawkeyes defense, but he probably won't need to do much to keep this game close as the Hawkeyes just don't have that much to offer on offense.

Over 66
, Penn State vs. Akron

Penn State has everything it needs on offense to compete for a Big Ten title this season, but its defense needs to improve to match up with the likes of Ohio State. That defense shouldn't come into play against Akron as the Nittany Lions should have their way all day against the Zips. The Zips have the same problem as the Nittany Lions in that they moved the ball last season but their defense often fell flat. Unless there have been some major improvements on that side of the ball, by both teams, this game should go over with ease.

Alabama (-7)
vs. Florida State

When it comes to teams challenging the throne of the Tide, I need to see evidence that it's possible before I can believe. For example, Clemson played Alabama tight for 60 minutes in January 2016 before finally breaking through in January 2017. I haven't seen that out of Florida State yet, and while the Seminoles look the part of a great team, there's a long way between looking the part and beating Alabama.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only College Football Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire College Football fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
College and Devy Fantasy Football: Late-Season Impact Freshmen and Sophomores to Watch in 2024
College and Devy Fantasy Football: Late-Season Impact Freshmen and Sophomores to Watch in 2024
College Football National Championship Game: Odds, Picks & Predictions
College Football National Championship Game: Odds, Picks & Predictions
DFS College Football: College Football Championship Slate for DraftKings and FanDuel
DFS College Football: College Football Championship Slate for DraftKings and FanDuel
Sugar Bowl: Odds, Picks and Predictions
Sugar Bowl: Odds, Picks and Predictions