171 Toledo at 172 Kentucky, 11:00AM CT
Kentucky is coming off its best season in 40 years thanks to a simple formula: Pound the ball with Benny Snell Jr. and let one of the top defenses in the nation suffocate opposing offenses. But Snell is now battling for a roster spot with the Steelers and Mark Stoops plans on being more explosive through the air this season. The Wildcats will still run the ball plenty, but QB Terry Wilson could need time to feel comfortable running a vertical passing attack. He was an inconsistent thrower a year ago and it takes time for a new system to click. While Kentucky has won 10 straight games against MAC opponents dating back to 2006, Toledo is no pushover. The Rockets underachieved last year at 7-6, but it was the ninth straight winning season for Toledo, which returns starting QB Mitchell Guadagni. The Rockets are 19-7 against the spread in their last 26 road games, while the Wildcats have failed to cover in 23 of their last 31 home contests. Kentucky is also just 4-12 ATS in its last 16 non-conference games.
Week 1 College Football Selection: Toledo Rockets +10.5
207 Oregon vs. 208 Auburn, 6:30 p.m. CT
Auburn is starting a freshman quarterback for the first time under head coach Gus Malzahn and the first time since 1946. With Justin Herbert returning for Oregon, it might be tempting to take the points with the Ducks but I actually see value in Auburn. The Tigers were one of four teams along with No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama and No. 12 Washington to finish in the top 15 in scoring defense in each of the last three seasons. Herbert or not, it’ll be difficult for Oregon to move the ball consistently tonight inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Plus, despite being a freshman, the scouting reports on Bo Nix are that he’s extremely accurate and there’s plenty of creativity to his game. In other words, he’s not a one-dimensional sandlot player that will look to run every chance he gets. In what could be a tight game until the fourth, I like the Tigers to cover.
Week 1 College Football Selection: Auburn Tigers -4
175 Ole Miss at 176 Memphis, 11:00AM CT
Ole Miss underwent a lot of changes during the offseason, including hiring Rich Rodriguez to be the new offensive coordinator. Rodriguez is expected to install a more run-based offense, which should aid redshirt freshman QB Matt Corral (if nothing other than keeping the ball on the ground and not asking him to make difficult throws). The Rebels are also transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4 on defense after hiring new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre. All of these changes will take time, but this is still a SEC program that went 4-0 against non-conference opponents a year ago while averaging 57.8 points in those victories. Meanwhile, Memphis’ leading rusher from a year ago was Darrell Henderson, who is now a L.A. Ram. Tony Pollard also opted to head to the NFL, so senior Patrick Taylor Jr. will take over. Memphis should have plenty of firepower again offensively, but its defense couldn’t hold leads at times last year, most notably against UCF (on multiple occasions, no less). I see Ole Miss playing a conservative game, relying on its defense and ground game to keep the game tight throughout and have an opportunity to pull off the upset in the end.
Week 1 College Football Selection: Ole Miss Rebels +3.5
2019 Betting Results:
College Football: 0-0 (+0.0 units)
MLB First Half: 59-50-4 (+2.55 units)
MLB Second Half: 15-19-1 (-6.35 units)
NHL Playoffs: 2-0 (+2.0 units)