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College Football Picks This Week: Week 1 Odds, Predictions and Best Bets

A 3-2 week to open works terrifically for me, given how limited the options were and how much I forced picks/content. Maybe that just shows how truly random this is, and a 55-60 percent win clip is a tremendous season.


TCU (-13.5) at Colorado (Friday)

This line has moved immensely, opening at (-8.5), but I may feel comfortable at anything around three touchdowns, let alone two. Neither team has settled on a QB and are both expected to play two, but TCU's two offer veteran presence or dual-threat capabilities. Colorado went 4-7 last season and their best player is now at Michigan State. How exactly are they to improve on the 18.8 ppg they averaged last year? Perhaps from playing a Horned Frog defense that allowed 461.8 ypg last year? I'm not buying it. TCU's offense is good enough to cover this under Sonny Dykes' scheme, and the coaching upgrades will have the defense playing at least at a serviceable level.

North Carolina (-1.5) at Appalachian State

This line has been dancing all week, so shopping is encouraged. It opened around (-3) for the Heels, but I've seen some spots where the Mountaineers have been favored. I think this is a nice value for UNC with some Week 0 overreaction as they struggled to put away undermanned FAMU. There's certainly concerns about the Heels' defense, and Appy State will score their fair share. But I don't trust their QB Chase Brice to win this game. He's turnover prone against Power 5 opponents. Meanwhile, UNC QB Drake Maye looks like a budding star. We're not asking for more than a UNC win in all likelihood. Kidd Brewer Stadium will be rocking, but across four quarters, UNC prevails.

Louisville (-4) at Syracuse

This game reeks of a trap, but I'm in anyway. Louisville won 40-3 against the Orange last season, and all reports are star QB Malik Cunningham will be a better passer in 2022. The lower spread seems to be a result of Syracuse hiring offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who was at Virginia previously and put up 34 points on this defense last season. And while he may have a quarterback that's capable, and may also have one of the ACC's best running backs in Sean Tucker, the 'Cute have a big-time void at wide receiver. Points will come freely, and the Cardinals will get more of them.

LSU (-3) vs. Florida State (Sunday, New Orleans)

This is a rare spot where I'm fading a team that played in Week 0. There are a ton of unknowns on both sides, but I find LSU to be at least closer to a reload situation while Florida State is just hoping to step forward in a rebuild. LSU's offensive line is a concern, but the combination of QB Jayden Daniels and WR Kayshon Boutte gives the Tiger offense elite talent that FSU can't match. I'm not sure which, if any, Seminole offensive lineman would start at any top-end ACC school, and we've seen countless times where big-name ACC teams are blitzed by mediocre SEC schools in the trenches. I'm huge on LSU defensive lineman Maason Smith. He's going to create turnovers here, leading LSU to a comfortable win.

Clemson (-22) vs. Georgia Tech (Monday, Atlanta)

I absolutely loathe that this line has pushed over the three-touchdown threshold. But holding off could push it into the 24-point range, which may be uncomfortable given Clemson's offensive struggles last season. But I just don't see how Georgia Tech scores, like maybe not at all. They've scored 14, seven and eight points in their last three meetings with Clemson. The Tigers have an elite front, and the Jackets don't have weapons to challenge the rebuilding secondary. DJ Uiagaleleiwill show improvement, and I think the Tigers win by enough to get Cade Klubnik some snaps, which means Clemson won't fully call conservative plays while he gets reps. 30-7 works just fine at the current odds.



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