By Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports
Let’s be honest, college football might have flaws on numerous fronts, but for those of us that love the sport and are less concerned with the never-ending money train they ride, this is great news again.
All of us that love betting on college football are thrilled to have all these big games to start the first full week. We are pumped up and have previews, betting odds and expert picks on some of the game’s biggest matchups. Enjoy!
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Thursday, Sept 2, 8:00 pm ET (FOX), TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
The most striking aspect of this matchup and what to follow are both offensive lines. They are big, tough and nasty. Each defense will have trouble stopping the opposing running game, which should set up play-action passing down the field for both Ohio State and Minnesota.
In the second half, the more talented Buckeyes will start to impose their will and wear the Golden Gophers down and force them to pass more. That’s where OSU coach Ryan Day can unleash the hounds for the pass rush. No. 4 Ohio State is 8-0 and 6-2 ATS in the land of 10,000 lakes and pulls away for the cover.
Free Pick: Ohio State -13.5
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Friday, Sept 3, 8:00 pm ET (ESPN), Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
The last two years these ACC rivals played extraordinarily high-scoring affairs. Last year North Carolina won 56-45 at Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech won a 43-41 thriller in Blacksburg in 2019.
With experienced quarterbacks Sam Howell for the Tar Heels and Braxton Burmeister for the Hokies, the scoreboard operator won’t have time for a bathroom break other than halftime. The latest listed total was 65.5 and we will call for another OVER and a four-hour battle in this encounter.
Free Pick: OVER 65.5
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, Sept 4, 12:00 pm ET (FOX), Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
With each of these Big Ten partners coming off a disappointing campaign, this is a heck of a way to start a season.
Penn State was 4-5 and did not appear to have enough playmakers on either side of the ball to make a difference. Coach James Franklin is convinced a year of experience will make a big difference for his squad and they will rise to the occasion.
Wisconsin had Covid problems on their way to a 4-3 year. Then on offense, Whisky was using third and fourth string receivers because of injuries, which curtailed the confidence and play-making ability of QB Graham Mertz.
In looking at the two clubs, the Badgers are better at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and they have more playmakers. Wisconsin takes a three or four-point lead into the fourth quarter at home and puts the game away with one last score.
Free Pick: Wisconsin -4.5
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Miami Hurricanes
Saturday, Sept 4, 3:30 pm ET (ABC), Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
The defending national champions lost enough talent on offense that would cripple almost any other program the following season. However, Alabama is no ordinary football program and while the Crimson Tide might not be as dynamic as last year, Nick Saban is running the show and the cupboard is always replenished.
Miami welcomes back D'Eriq King at quarterback and he’s been given the go-ahead coming back from an ugly ACL and meniscus injury. King is a dual-threat and nobody has worked harder to return because many assumed he would miss all or most of this upcoming season. The Hurricanes lost a great deal of offensive talent from last year and will need its defense to generate turnovers.
Bama is a large 18.5-point neutral-site favorite and they have never lost an opener under Saban with every victory by double digits. If King plays well, the Canes can cover, but Saban against Manny Diaz, that’s the real mismatch for college football picks.
Free Pick: Alabama -18.5
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers
Saturday, Sept 4, 7:30 pm ET (ABC), Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
What a nightcap, No. 5 Georgia at No. 3 Clemson! For all we know, this could be the first of two confrontations between these high-caliber teams.
With Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne drafted, the offense should be in good hands with new starting QB DJ Uiagalelei, who played well in relief last year and is a big-time talent.
Georgia is excited to have a full season of JT Daniels at the throttle and their lethal running back duo of James Cook and Tamir White gives them a dangerous attack.
As expected, both defenses are excellent and they will create plenty of stops and we note Georgia is 13-4 UNDER in September. As far as the side, hard to go against the Tigers under Dabo Swinney, but this Bulldogs squad could be special, and since we are getting the half-point hook, we’re grabbing the value on the dog. (Pun intended)
Free Pick: Georgia +3.5 and UNDER 52.5
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 21 Documented No. 1 Titles - 94 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 25 Handicapper of the Month Awards. (Latest: MLB May 2021) Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.