Throw that asterisk out because college football is officially here. After the FBS made their debut last weekend, the Power Five got it all kicked off last night in Miami Gardens with The U rolling up over 300 rushing yards in a business-like win over plucky UAB. It feels so good to have this beautiful sport back in our lives and fingers are crossed that we’ll all be able to move forward with a full season without the Big Ten and Pac-12. Ryan Day, however, is trying very hard to change that.
— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) September 10, 2020
With this sport comes underdogs, moneylines, parlays and teasers. Football is the easiest game to wager on and many of you will be dusting off your offshore accounts in order to make some green this fall. For those looking for an edge, we are here to help provide some assistance.
On 11 Personnel this season, we plan to touch on some spreads every week when our new episodes drop each Wednesday morning as we hope to pick out some covers. Here with the Locks, we are going to expand on that while giving out my favorite plays on the card. Let’s ride!
ULM (+21) at Army
For our first play of the weekend, we’re headed up to West Point where the Cadets will be playing their second game of the season. In year seven under Jeff Monken, Army blitzed Middle Tennessee for an impressive 42-0 win last week and now they’ll be taking on a ULM squad that is projected to finish at the bottom of the Sun Belt. However, don’t sleep on those Warhawks.
Matt Viator usually finds a way to squeeze everything he can out of his roster and this feels like a really good spot for a ULM squad that is retooling on offense and surprisingly just lost their defensive coordinator. Take those three touchdowns in the sandwich spot as all of a sudden Army has a monster clash with BYU next week. ULM likely won’t have embarrassing game management malfunctions this weekend to assist the Black Knights.
Duke at Notre Dame Under 54.5
Brian Kelly begins his 11th season on the sidelines for Notre Dame and the Irish are on a 33-6 run in the last three seasons. This year they’ll be a member of a conference for the first time ever and many believe they are Clemson’s toughest competition in the ACC. In week one, they’ll be hosting a Duke squad with David Cutcliffe entering his 13th season with the Blue Devils owning a victory in the most recent game in South Bend. It’s going to be weird seeing that logo in that stadium.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) September 3, 2020
Clemson transfer Chase Brice gets the start at quarterback for the Blue Devils while Ian Book has been at Notre Dame for a decade, but this is a game that features two really good defenses. Both units are projected to finish in the top-25 per SP+’s efficiency rankings with two good young play-callers in Notre Dame’s Clark Lea and Duke’s Matt Guerrieri. Ride the under and watch a puntfest.
Georgia Tech @ Florida State Under 52.5
Geoff Collins and Georgia Tech took it on the chin last season and they’ll begin year two with a tricky road trip. After a strange offseason in more ways than just COVID-19, a new era begins with Mike Norvell at FSU as the Seminoles look to get back to their national championship competing ways. Another battle of solid defenses has us leaning towards the under.
Both Georgia Tech and Florida State are projected to have top-35 defenses while a new system is playing it’s first game at home with the Ramblin’ Wreck entering year two transitioning away from the triple-option. Expect a lot of sloppiness and this one screams under. Keep an eye on Georgia Tech true freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs because he could be special.
Best Bet: WKU (+11.5) at Louisville
Now time for the big one under the lights at the artist formerly known as Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Both Tyson Helton and Scott Satterfield are fresh off impressive debut seasons at their respective programs and each feel like they can be contenders in their leagues this season. Add in the in-state aspect and this one could be juicy.
WKU does it with defense led by superstar EDGE DeAngelo Malone who recorded Josh Allen type numbers last season (99 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks). The Tops have a star in defensive coordinator Clayton White with a defense that is projected to be a top-25 unit. Meanwhile, Louisville might have the most explosive offense in college football with quarterback Micale Cunningham (11.5 yards per attempt), running back Javian Hawkins (1,525 rushing yards) and wide receiver Tutu Atwell (1,276 receiving yards, 18.23 yards per catch, 12 touchdowns). But nearly always in these matchups, it’s the other side of the ball that tells the tale.
WKU returns four starters in the trenches, two all-conference players at running back and wide receiver, plus Maryland transfer Tyrrell Pigrome set to start at quarterback. While Louisville gets back almost all of the production off a defense 110th in yards per play allowed last season. Whoever wins this matchup will have a great chance at winning the ballgame.
Not many people want to hear it, but these two clubs are very similar and some good recent recruiting by WKU has closed the talent gap with the big city program. Louisville should win, but 11.5 is just too many points. Take the Tops who are 8-1 against the spread in their last nine road games. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little on the moneyline if you’re feeling chesty.
Let it ride.