The early part of the season can provide good value for bettors. Before teams have played several games (or in the case of this weekend, before they’ve played any), there is less data for the oddsmakers and thus more of a level playing field (in theory). If you’ve got a hunch about certain teams, place your bets now, before everyone else catches on. As the season progresses, it gets tougher to beat Vegas, though forget I said that when I’m still making picks in December. On to this weekend’s picks!
Georgia at Clemson +2.5
On New Year’s Eve, Clemson dominated the fourth quarter to defeat then-No. 8 LSU on a last second field goal in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, proving it can beat an elite opponent. The Tigers will try to knock off a second straight SEC school on Saturday night, when No. 5 Georgia comes to town. Simply put, I think they will. A bit of a forgotten man last season, I think Sammy Watkins rekindles his magic with Tajh Boyd on a big stage.
Boise State +3.5 at Washington
While Clemson tries to pull off an SEC double-whammy, Boise State will try to beat Washington for the second time in as many games. The Broncos beat the Huskies 28-26 in December’s Las Vegas Bowl to finish 11-2. It’s not often you see Boise getting points. Take advantage against a mediocre Washington squad.
Ohio +21.5 at Louisville
The Cardinals are worthy of their No. 9 preseason ranking, but Ohio is no pushover. The Bobcats opened with a 24-14 victory at Penn State last year and started 7-0. After losing four of their last five regular season games, they blew out a good Louisiana-Monroe team in their bowl. Senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton is an under-the-radar talent who should be able to get his team enough points to cover the big spread on Sunday.