An avid gambler and sports handicapper wages war on Vegas with betting strategy, analysis, and of course free picks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

NCAA Football - Week 1 Analysis and Picks

Well, the wait is finally over.

It has been months since we watched Vince Young scramble for the game-winning TD over USC, and we've not had much of substance to feast on since. Of course, there's been coaching changes, spring games to evaluate, and a barrage of pre-season polls and predictions but now we are ready for some big-time college football. Well, maybe not quite "big-time" this week.

73 games are scheduled this week that include Division 1-A teams, but only 44 have lines posted with the other 29 games a "beating in-waiting" between Div 1-A and 1-AA teams (these typically do not have lines). Looking at just the 44 games with lines, 30 have lines with more than a touchdown and 18 have lines greater than two touchdowns. So much for marque matchups.

With matchups so one-sided and lines sky-high, the challenge for the handicapper this week is going to be game selection.

My Week One strategy is to handicap defense largely on last year's squad, but adjust offensive production significantly for teams that will debut new QBs. A couple of games are noteworthy:

Hawaii at Alabama (-17):
On the surface this would look like a 10 point game (27-17), but Alabama has it's first new QB in 3 years and they lost seven defensive starters from last year. Hawaii has their high-powered offensive returning nine starters including QB Colt Brennan. I expect Hawaii to put up some points, so we bet against new Bama QB John Parker Wilson. Hawaii +17.

La-Lafayette at LSU (-30):
Yes, I know that LSU is a better team, but 30 points better? LSU has got a returning QB, but they are replacing three starters on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Ragin Cajuns have got Sr. QB Jerry Babb back with a strong chance for conference player of the year, as well as RB Tyrell Fenroy who ran for 1000+ as a true freshman. Tigers win, but the Cajuns should put up 10-14 points. La-Lafayette +30.

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (O/U 51):
No way these teams combine for over 51 points. 21-14 Notre Dame maybe. Georgia Tech has some returning offensive power, which should keep the game close. Big question is the Tech secondary which is green. D-Line should be fine. Is Notre Dame overrated? Perhaps. We avoid the temptation to lay the 7.5 and take the Under instead. Under 51.


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