NCAA Football (1 Unit) Boise State/Central Florida Over 67.5 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN
Generally speaking, the first week of college football tends to see lower-scoring games as defenses get up to speed faster than offenses. That theory gets tossed aside when two programs with defensive struggles like Boise State and UCF meet up.
Both teams went through coaching changes this offseason, and the key one for me is UCF bringing in Gus Malzahn. Fired by Auburn, Malzahn will want to prove the doubters wrong while showing his offensive system works. He’s in a great spot to do it as the Knights return a ton of talent, including elite dual-threat QB Dillon Gabriel, two of his favorite receivers, and the entire offensive line. UCF has more raw talent at the skill positions than plenty of Power 5 teams, and they should shred a Boise State defense that allowed 33.6 PPG whenever it faced a team with any level of offensive competency last season.
But the Broncos boast an excellent offense of their own led by QB Hank Bachmeier, his favorite target Khalil Shakir, and a three-headed monster at running back. While the UCF defense is slowly improving, they really struggle against the run and should surrender plenty of points to this dangerous and experienced Boise offense. This total opened at 72.5 and has been driven down by weather concerns, but the weather has cleared up and this should be a showcase game for both schools, so I like the over.
NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Citadel/Coastal Carolina Under 55 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+
If you’re not already excited about the return of college football, the return of surf turf, mullets, and the turnover cloak should get you there. I loved what this Coastal Carolina team brought last season, and they’re bringing a lot of it back this season.
Unfortunately for the Chanticleers, they’re bringing back an extremely leaky run defense, a unit that allowed 6 yards per carry to the best teams they faced last season. It will be a tough assignment for them to stop Citadel and the typical military academy triple option. Success from Citadel in running the football will help drain the clock in this game, one of the best ingredients for an under.
Coastal should also destroy Citadel in this game, getting whatever they want offensively behind an offensive line that returns all its starters. But the Chants should call off the dogs once the game gets out of hand, and a constantly running clock late will hold this one under the total.
NCAA Football (1 Unit) Ohio State/Minnesota Under 63 (-110): 7:00 PM CT on FOX
This total has been coming down from the open of 66 for several reasons, and I think they’re all valid justifications of why we’ll see a lower-scoring game tonight.
First off, I see Ohio State wanting to keep things fairly vanilla with a huge matchup against Oregon looming next week. They’ll also be motivated to keep stars healthy for next week, meaning less talent and aggressiveness later in this game. The Buckeyes are also breaking in a first-time starter at QB in CJ Stroud, so I don’t see them asking him to do too much, instead riding elite running back duo TreVeyon Henderson and Master Teague.
As for Minnesota, the Gophers will want to lean on All-American running back candidate Mohamed Ibrahim behind their massive offensive line. A very poor defense last season was beefed up via the transfer portal and should offer some resistance to the OSU juggernaut. Rain is also expected for this entire game, so I’m expecting less offense than normal from these teams.
NCAA Football – Southern Utah @ Arizona State -45 (-110): 9:30 PM CT on PAC12 Network
My concerns with this game, and why I’m leaving it as a degenerate play, stem from the NCAA investigation into Arizona State and how that impacts them this season.
This could be the best Sun Devils team in a very long time if they’re allowed to count the games due to reported recruiting violations. This team can run all over anyone with QB Jayden Daniels headed for stardom, plus running back duo Rachaad White and Chip Trayanum. Facing a Southern Utah team that can’t stop anything will be incredibly unfair for this talented ASU squad.
My sense is that Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils use this game to take out some frustrations and make a statement. The market tends to agree, with unusually strong movement towards the favorite given how massive the spread is. ASU will roll in this game but this is a big number, plus I’m curious how they handle this season so be cautious here.
Tiny Nick is 367-263 ATS (+85.5 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.