The 2015 college football season is set to begin in early September with Year 2 of the playoff system, and it promises to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. Ohio State currently sits atop the futures rankings with a roster stocked with talent at nearly every position. During the offseason Urban Meyer was faced with the problem of balancing three starting quarterbacks, but with Braxton Miller moving to a wide receiver spot the choice is now easier with JT Barrett and Cardale Jones batting for the spot.
The rest of the Top 10 in the rankings includes many talented programs that all believe they have a shot at winning a national title. If Week 1 of the season had a theme, it would be the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" as there are currently seven 30-or-more-point favorites on the board and even more 20-or-more-point lines for bettors to wager on. Let's take a closer look at Week 1's large spreads and figure out the best side of the lines to wager on. All odds come from BookMaker.
Arizona -31.5 vs Texas San Antonio : The Wildcats visited UTSA during Week 2 of 2014 and managed to escape with a three-point victory, but they could not cover the 7.5-point spread. Arizona was never more than a three-touchdown favorite last season but did produce a 45-point win during its opening game of the season against UNLV. This wager feels like a tossup, and bettors would be wise to skip it.
Baylor -35 @ SMU : Last season Baylor pounded SMU on the road to the tune of a 45-0 victory against a 31.5-point spread and ended the year 4-1 against its 30-point-or-larger lines. The scary part for SMU and everyone in the Big 12 is that Baylor seemed to improve during the offseason and now has a chip on its shoulder after being overlooked by the playoff committee in 2014. This feels like another cover and blowout for Baylor.
Georgia -35 vs UL Monroe : Georgia hasn't played ULM since 2005, but the Bulldogs did win that matchup by 37 points. Last season the team went 2-1 against its 30-point-or-more spreads and managed to produce a 66-point victory over Troy during Week 3. ULM was a 30-point-or-more underdog twice last season and split games, going 1-1 ATS. Georgia is expected to be a SEC contender, and a big win here would be a great way to start the season. The Bulldogs should cover this spread.
Arkansas -33 vs UTEP :Arkansas produced a 37-point victory the last time these two teams met in 2010. In 2014 the Razorbacks faced only two large spreads, a 24- and 41.5-point line, and they managed to cover both spreads with ease. UTEP, on the other hand, lost its only game as a large underdog against Kansas State and a 28-point line. Arkansas should be able to cover this spread.
Oklahoma -30.5 vs Akron : The opening game of the season will be the first meeting between the two schools on the football field. Oklahoma faced only one 30-point-or-more line last season, which was a Week 1 matchup it did not cover against Louisiana Tech. Akron had two 31-point losses in 2014 but was never more than a 25-point underdog. This game will probably be a blowout, but bettors might skip this game instead of relying on an uneven Sooners squad to cover a huge line.
Florida -36 vs New Mexico State : Florida has not played against New Mexico State since 1994, a time when most of the players on its current roster were not even alive. Last season the Gators wen 2-0 ATS against their massive spreads, while the Aggies got blown out by LSU and failed to cover a 43-point spread. Florida is not a national title contender by any means; the team lost a key few players from 2014 and probably cannot be trusted to cover this huge spread. Skipping this game is probably the best bet.
Florida State -31 vs Texas State : Florida State is in a transition year after losing starting quarterback Jameis Winston to the NFL. The team, however, is still receiving Top 10 national title futures odds and is expected be very good to great (if it can figure out the quarterback situation quickly). The Seminoles have never played Texas State and may struggle against a squad that went 9-3 in 2014 and was never more than a 15-point underdog all season. Take Texas State plus the points.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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