CFB Week 1 Picks: Experts running with Ohio State and Oklahoma


The betting smorgasbord that is the college football weekend is finally here.

Week 0 was a light appetizer to get us in the mood for three crowded days of college football and one game each on Sunday and Monday.

Myself and Jon Jansen went over the big games on Wednesday night's edition of The Line Change. The podcasted version can be found at this link.

Below is a look at our best bets for the college football weekend, starting with a few games on the Thursday slate.

Week 1 CFB Picks

Joe Tansey (1-0)

Ohio State (-13.5) at Minnesota (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)

The golden rule of Big Ten betting is always take Ohio State within two touchdowns against a team in the middle of the conference.

The Buckeyes have too much offensive talent that will overwhelm Minnesota's secondary. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson form arguably the best wide receiver duo in the country and Jaxon Smith-Njigba should get better in his sophomore season.

All of the offensive talent makes life much easier for C.J. Stroud to walk into the offense and achieve success.

East Carolina at App State (-9) (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

I've been looking at App State all week and I'm finally going in on the bet.

The Mountaineers return a handful of starters, including running back Camerun Peoples.

Peoples will be the key to breaking down East Carolina's defense and I think Chase Brice, a transfer quarterback from Duke, will do enough within the offense to hit the Pirates in both facets of the offense.

I was contemplating this bet at 10 or 10.5 points and I now I love that it has fallen down to nine points.

Rice at Arkansas (-19.5) (Saturday. 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+, SEC Network+)

Rice ran the ball 216 times last season compared to 133 pass attempts.

Arkansas' strength is in the trenches. Of course it is since a former offensive line coach is in charge in Fayetteville.

The Hogs should dominate the line of scrimmage and make the Rice offense feel uncomfortable from the jump. Arkansas linebacker Grant Morgan is the player to watch in this matchup. He is one of the best defenders in the SEC.

Arkansas should pull away with a few offensive scores, and with limited production out of Rice's offense, this could be an ugly three-or-four-score victory.

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State (Over 52.5) (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

I'll admit I'm a sucker for a low total for a game involving a Mike Leach-coached team.

Mississippi State's opener with Louisiana Tech will be a competitive game. Don't be fooled by the 23-point spread.

The Bulldogs and quarterback Will Rogers had a full offseason to acclimate to Leach's system and they could have a similar success rate as they did in last year's opener against LSU.

Louisiana Tech is led by Austin Kendall, a West Virginia transfer, and should post at least 14-17 points to aid the over.

As a wise man once said, this game could be closer than the experts think.

San Jose State at USC (Over 59.5) (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

San Jose State eliminated any preseason jitters in a 45-14 win over Southern Utah in Week 0.

Nick Starkel led the Spartans to a 7-0 mark last season and they might put USC on Upset Alert on Saturday afternoon.

USC is far from the perfect product on the defensive side of the ball. The Trojans conceded 20 or more points in four of their six games last season,.

Look for this matchup to be a west coast quarterback showcase between Starkel and USC's Kedon Slovis.

Kent State at Texas A&M (Over 67) (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Texas A&M will not lose to Kent State, but it could feel threatened for a half because of Golden Flashes quarterback Dustin Crum.

Crum is one of the best Group of Five quarterbacks and his experience should help Kent State deal with the pressure of playing in College Station.

Crum's dual-threat ability could cause some problems for the very athletic Texas A&M defense and that could lead to 21-28 points.

Texas A&M should not have a problem moving the ball against Kent State's defense. Expect a big game out of running back Isaiah Spiller in support of new starting quarterback Haynes King.

Jon Jansen (1-1)

South Florida at NC State (-18) (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

This is now bet up to 19.5 at Parx Sportsbook, so proceed with caution on that number, but I still love this matchup for the Wolfpack. They have a ferocious front-seven that should negate the only thing USF does well and that is run the ball. Devin Leary is back and so are all of his top skill players. Wolfpack roll here.

Tulane vs. Oklahoma (-31) (Saturday, Noon ET, ABC)

So I'm well aware I'm probably doing a big no-no here. Betting on two big favorites on the unpredictable Week 1 slate. This is just too good though. Oklahoma has it's best defense under Lincoln Riley and their Heisman candidate QB Spencer Rattler gets to start the season against one of the worst defensive backfields from last season. Riley torched defenses like Tulane when he was at ECU and should have no problem doing it again with this talented Oklahoma team.

Marshall (-2.5) at Navy (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Now, the one thing I don't agree with is teams having an advantage Week 1 against triple-option offenses. These offenses can be tricky no matter what and it pretty much just comes down to the right personnel on defense. What also comes into play here is that Navy just isn't very good. Grant Wells and the Marshall offense have a chance to put up some points in this one and give the Thundering Herd a convincing win.


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