Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Five: Kicking off 2016 with a bang (hopefully)

With college football starting Thursday September 1st it's never a bad idea to kick off this year's 5 in style.

As a reminder, I will be handicapping 5 games that will count toward my season-long stats. These are games that I do not necessarily consider plays, but games in which I feel fairly confident about. The idea, at the end of the season, is to finish north of 53% which would be a profitable season by Las Vegas standards, taking into account the Vig.  I'll keep running tabs every week as to my progress and the posts will remain up including the date/time of posting although they're probably written well before the post is actually published. In most cases I'm probably writing this on Wednesday evening. (I will guarantee that it's almost in all cases for that matter).

As such, all lines will be taken from via oddsshark and will be accurate as of 7:00PM Central Time the Wednesday before the games start. (That's what time it is right now, as I'm writing this on Wed. August 31st and I plan to make it a routine and keep it that way.) If there's any deviation from this, I will note it in the individual post.

Reminder: These picks are for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered either an invitation for wagering, or a solicitation of a wager which would be illegal.

Disclaimer: If you're taking pick advice from a rotund, 40-something accountant from Houston, get some professional help.

And so, without further ado:

The First Five of the 2016 College Football Season!

1. Tulane @ Wake Forest (-17) - Tulane might be an angle that I work hard in the early going. Their head coach has a history of turning programs into winners quickly.  Plus, I don't think Wake Forest is all that good.  Tulane 27 Wake Forest 17.  Tulane on the ML for the upset.

2. Indiana (-9.5) @ Florida International. There are a couple of things that I look for in a 5 upset First is a favorite with a weakness, 2nd is an underdog that can exploit said weakness. You have both in FIU. Indiana 35 FIU 31. FIU to cover 9.5

3. Clemson (-7.5) @ Auburn. In order to think Auburn can cover you have to think they're going to be pretty good this year.  I don't and they shouldn't.  Clemson 45 Auburn 17. Clemson to cover 7.5

4. Toledo @ Arkansas State (-3.5) There's a lot to like about a strong MAC vs. Sunbelt matchup, especially an Ark State team that could surprise some people this year.  Toledo 24 Ark State 38. Arkansas State to cover -3.5

5. Oklahoma (-12) @ Houston. I've been pushing this game as one of the early season games of the year for a while now. I think it's a game of the year type and I truly think that Houston can win outright.  For entertainment purposes however....Oklahoma 33 Houston 31. Houston to cover 12.

Of course, these five aren't the ONLY games being played during one of the better opening weekends in recent college football memory.  As will be the norm, I'll look at some of the other games (and the Michigan game) but they don't count toward the season stats. Some of these games ALMOST made the 5 but were eliminated due to an uncertainty, or just a funny feeling I had handicapping.

Georgia Tech (-3) @ Boston College. Boston College is going to have a spectacular defense, Georgia Tech is going to test that with what should be their best team to date. Georgia Tech to cover in Ireland, but only by a little. GaTech 17 Boston College 9

Missouri @ West Virginia (-10) Every year I want to believe that WVU is the real deal and every year I just cannot do it. The reason for this is because I think Dana Holgerson is a fantastic offensive coordinator, but a horrible head coach.  That said, Mizzou is going to suck.  Mizzou 10 WVU 45. (Left out of the 5 due to the Holgerson factor)

UCLA @ Texas aTm (-3). aTm is a popular pick here, but Aggie fans are relying on Trevor Freaking Knight.  And Sumlin is losing this team.  Give me Rosen and my questions about Mora as a HC any day.  UCLA 38 aTm 24 (Knight with 3 INT's in the game)

LSU (-10) @ Wisconsin. Fournette is amazing, LSU needs a quarterback. Lather, rinse repeat.  But Wisky is no slouch itself running the ball right? We've seen the pondering B1G team vs. the fast/athletic SEC story before. LSU 31 Wisc 3. (out of the 5 because LSU's QB could throw a dozen INT's, or none.)

Georgia (-2.5) @ North Carolina. This one could go any which way to be honest. I think UNC is going to win their ACC division this year, I have no idea what to expect from Georgia. Georgia 17 UNC 31. (But I would lay off this game way off. Like, on the other side of town off)

USC @ Alabama (-11.5). We've seen this game before: Alabama is a big opening favorite against a name opponent on week one. The pundits try to talk themselves into believing it will be a close game. Trust me, it won't. USC is overrated.  USC 10 Alabama 38. (Unless USC is for real. out)

Clemson (-7.5) @ Auburn. If you pick Auburn you have to think the Tigers/War Eagle/Plainsmen are going to be good. They're not. Clemson 45 Auburn 3 (Only thing keeping me from putting this in my five is prior history with Clemson. They're a 'me' killer.)

Notre Dame (-3) @ Texas. The sexy upset pick for just about every pundit who doesn't work for NBC. (Who has the ND football contract you see). I think Texas is better, and should make a bowl game, but this game won't advance that argument.  ND 28 Texas 14.

Brigham Young @ Arizona (-1.5). Taysom Hill gets the start for BYU. This is a feel good story and the team is much better with him in the lineup. But coach RichRod has a real team this year in the PAC12. BYU 24 Arizona 28. (Too close to call.)

Ole Miss @ Florida State (-4). Honestly, I'm surprised the line is this close. Ole Miss 13 Florida State 27. (My worry is if Ole Miss comes out angry due to all of the negative press they've absorbed.)

And finally.......

Hawai'i @ Michigan (-40.5) After watching Hawai'i flail around against Cal it's easy to see why people are saying Michigan will beat them by 80.  I don't think that happens on the 1st game of the season with a new QB in place.  Much of the optimism surrounding Michigan has to do with how they finished the year last year. People are quick to forget that Michigan team got progressively better as the year went on. Largely due to the improving play of Rudock.  The Wolverines should win comfortably, but it will be closer than 40 methinks.  Hawai'i 7 Michigan 38.

Good luck to all of you if you're choosing to wager this Holiday weekend.

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