Four College Football Week 1 Predictions

Four College Football Week 1 Predictions

The NCAA college football season is finally underway, and as expected, there are plenty of great games on the schedule this weekend.

Here’s a preview of four games that shouldn’t be missed.

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NCAA Football Picks and Predictions

#16 Louisville Cardinals vs Purdue Boilermakers

  • When: September 02, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Spread: Falcons -3
  • Over/Under: 38

The Cardinals were in the thick of the College Football Playoffs last season before faltering at the end of the season. Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who put up video game numbers before fading down the stretch, is expected to keep the Cardinals in the national championship conversation again this year.

Jackson, racked up 30 passing touchdowns and 21 on the ground last season and still has room for improvement. His completion percentage was at 56.2 last year, and could get it into the 60-or-higher range this season.

However, the Cardinal’s receiving corps mostly consists of new players, except for Traveon Samuel (230 yards receiving in 2016) and Jaylen Smith (599) who will be targets he’ll need to find early on.

The Boilermakers are coming off a disappointing 3-9 season, and are hoping to bounce back this year. While Purdue isn’t going to be in the national championship conversation, the team has what it takes to make a bowl game this year if their defense improves vastly from last season.

Purdue has steadily declined since former head coach Joe Tiller retired in 2008. But Purdue’s new coach, former Western Kentucky head coach, Jeff Brohm, is a Louisville native who both played his college ball with the Cardinals and acted as the program's quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach from 2003-08.

Needless to say, if the Boilermakers want to be taken seriously this season, they will have to figure out how to protect their home field. Last season, they only won two of seven home games, and none of the losses were close.

While they will have a tough time containing Jackson and the Cardinals, they need to keep the score close to show that they are a different team than the one that lost nine games last year.

On the surface, this game has the makings of a blowout. But, if Brohm still has the mojo he had with the Hilltoppers, where he had a 30-10 record in three years, maybe there could be a surprise in store for the Cardinals.

Betting Trends

  • Louisville is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Louisville is 15-5 SU in its last 20 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 12 of Louisville's last 18 games
  • Purdue is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Purdue's last 5 games

Pick and Prediction: The Cardinals are favored to win this game by 25 points. The over/under on total points scored is 68.5. The Boilermakers will keep this one close for a half, but the Cardinals will pull away in the second half and cover the spread. Take Louisville at -25.

Temple Owls vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • When: September 02, 2017, 3:30 PM ET
  • Where: Notre Dame Stadium
  • Spread: Notre Dame -18.5
  • |Over/Under: 56

The Owls used to be one of the worst teams in college football, but they have turned things around in recent years. The Owls finished the last two seasons 10-4, which means if Notre Dame was expecting a pushover in their season opener, they are sorely mistaken.

New Temple head coach Geoff Collins still has not decided who will lead the offense at the quarterback position, and currently there are four candidates in the race. Either Frank Nutile or Logan Marchi will start, but Collins did not disclose who will open the game.

In order for the Owls to be successful against Notre Dame, its front seven must contend with the Irish’s talented offensive line. The Irish have four starters along the offensive line that return, including stars on the left side in tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quenton Nelson.

The Irish were supposed to contend for the championship last season, but the team imploded early in the season and couldn’t get back on track. Now, Notre Dame is looking to wipe away the sour memories of 2016.

Notre Dame finished the year a disappointing 4-8, which is something they can’t afford to have happen again this year if Brian Kelly wants to keep his job.

The Fighting Irish have a lot of talent on this team, and can become a College Football Playoffs contender, but they can’t afford to lose more than one game.

Since DeShone Kizer turned pro, now playing for the Cleveland Browns, the offense will be led by Brandon Wimbush, who is expected to make waves early on and fits in perfectly with coach Kelly’s spread out offense.

With the Georgia Bulldogs coming to South Bend next week, this is the definition of a trap game because a lot of the Irish players will be looking ahead to the big game. If they can’t stay focused on the Owls, they will be prime for an upset loss at home, which will derail their season.

Betting Trends

  • Temple is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games
  • Temple is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Temple's last 6 games
  • Notre Dame is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
  • Notre Dame is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Notre Dame's last 7 games

Pick and Prediction: The Irish are favored to win this game by 18.5 points. The over/under on total points scored is 55. The odds makers are giving a team that finished 4-8 too much respect in this one. The Irish will likely win the game, but it will be much closer than the bookies think. Take Temple on the +18.5.

South Carolina Gamecocks vs NC State Wolfpack

  • When: September 02, 2017, 3:00 PM ET
  • Where: Bank of America Stadium
  • Spread: Wolfpack -5
  • Over/Under: 38

The Gamecocks overcame a 2-4 start to the season last year and finished with a 6-7 record. By their standards, it was a disappointing campaign, but the fans didn’t complain too much because it was the team’s first season under head coach Will Muschamp, who replaced the retired Steve Spurrier.

Now that the team has one year under Muschamp, expectations are high again and the team cannot afford another 6-7 season. The game against the Wolfpack gives them an opportunity to show how much they have improved since last year, but they also have to keep in mind that the Wolfpack aren’t pushovers.

Key for the Gamecocks to win this game, will be how the offensive line contends with the Wolfpack’s defensive front. NC State has no shortage of talent including the likes of Bradley Chubb who could wreak havoc for South Carolina if the OL doesn’t neutralize him.

The Gamecock’s ability to keep Jake Bentley protected, keeping Notre Dame’s pass rush under check, is also crucial. The sophomore quarterback has high expectations this year, but he will only flourish if he manages to stay healthy which means much of it comes down to South Carolina’s O-Line.

The Gamecock’s defense must also make things uncomfortable for Ryan Finley. NC State’s quarterback last year was inconsistent, so it may give South Carolina an opening to exploit.

North Carolina State is a very talented team, especially on the defensive end, but they were very inconsistent last year, which was the reason they finished 7-6.

The Wolfpack almost upset the Clemson Tigers on the road in one week, then got blown out by the Louisville Cardinals the next. A few weeks later, they almost upset the Florida State Seminoles.

With a lot of their defensive stars returning, expect the Wolfpack to pull a few upsets this year or come close again, one thing is for sure, they will fight until the final whistle is blown.

Betting Trends

  • South Carolina is 6-12 SU in its last 18 games
  • North Carolina State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of North Carolina State's last 6 games

Pick and Prediction: The Gamecocks are favored to win this game by 5 points. The over/under on total points scored is 52.5. This will be a very interesting game, and I expect to see a few lead changes. In the end, the Wolfpack will walk away with the win. Take NC State +5.

Wyoming Cowboys vs Iowa Hawkeyes

  • When: September 02, 2017, 12:00 PM ET
  • Where: Kinnick Stadium
  • Spread: Hawkeyes -12.5
  • Over/Under: 50

Last season, the Cowboys bounced back from a 2 win season in 2015 and finished 8-6. This year, the team will be looking to improve on last year’s success and get their first double digit win season since 1996.

One of the biggest wins for the Cowboys last season game on the road against 13th ranked Boise State, so playing on the road in Iowa isn’t going to intimidate them.

There’s also an opening for Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen due to Iowa cornerback Manny Rugamba being suspended for this game. Allen is the preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year after racking up 3,726 yards of total offense and 35 touchdowns (28 pass, 7 rush) last season.

Key to the Cowboys in this game is managing to disrupt the Iowa’s untested passing game. Mountain West preseason Defensive Player of the Year safety Andrew Wingard, who racked up 131 tackles last season, is just the man to get the job done. However, Wyoming’s defense could be dealing with some growing pains as the unit is under the direction of first-year coordinator Scottie Hazelton.

Iowa also won eight games last season, but they did it against tougher competition, so they have the edge going into the game.

After losing two consecutive games to ranked Wisconsin and Penn State, who went on to win the Big Ten title, the Hawkeyes reeled off three consecutive wins, two of which came against ranked Michigan and Nebraska.

Iowa is hoping to compete for the Big Ten title this year, so they have a lot at stake and won’t take this game lightly. There’s a lot riding on sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley’s shoulders; while it’s likely the Hawkeyes will be relying heavily on 2017 Maxwell Award watch list member running back Akrum Wadley (1,081 yards, 10 TDs in 2016), there’s still no certainty to Iowa’s passing game.

Key to Iowa’s success will be neutralizing Josh Allen. As mentioned above, since Rugamba will be absent in this game, the responsibility will fall on linebacker Josey Jewell. Jewell is a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and was named to the Associated Press’ preseason All-American team after finishing second in the conference with 124 tackles last season.

Betting Trends

  • Wyoming is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games
  • Wyoming is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Wyoming's last 10 games
  • Iowa is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Iowa's last 6 games
  • Iowa is 3-9-1 ATS in its last 13 games at home

Pick and Prediction: The Hawkeyes are favored to win this game by 11.5. The over/under on total points scored is 50.5. The Hawkeyes are clearly more talented and are playing at home so expect them to run away with this one. Take Iowa at -11.5.

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