Looking for expert picks for College Football Week 1? We’ve got your back with some juicy NCAAF picks based on the opening numbers from the 2016 College Football Week 1 odds.
2016-17 College Football Week 1 Expert Picks
HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS (+22) over California Golden Bears, Aug. 26th
In the very first game of the season, the California Golden Bears will be trying to win (and win big, as per the Oddsmakers) against Hawaii at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Whichever way you look at it, Cal is the more talented and proven team so a win should be very likely for the Golden Bears. That said, Hawaii has a new coach in Nick Rolovich who will be hoping to prove that he is the right man for the team, and it just so happens that the Bears will be without their biggest piece from last season in QB Jared Goff (who was drafted first by the LA Rams), so things could be relatively easier for Rolovich and his team. Not to mention, these two teams have split their last four meetings, including a 21-7 win by Hawaii when the two teams last met in California in 1994. Being able to avoid a blowout of 20-plus points should thus be very possible for the Rainbow Warriors, according to the NCAAF odds experts.
HOUSTON COUGARS (+9) over Oklahoma Sooners, Sept. 3rd
Houston’s first year coach, Tom Herman, led the Cougars to a stellar 13-1-season in 2015, including a 3-0 record against the Power Five conference teams. That showcase helped the Cougars to finish the year as the highest-ranked non Power Five team in the nation in the AP Polls (at No.8). More notably, Houston’s lone loss of the season came when the team’s starting dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr. got injured and had to leave the game against University of Connecticut.
With the team returning with a very healthy Ward—who passed for 2,590 passing yards and 16 TDs against just 5 TDs (with a 68.1 completion percentage) and added 1,041 yards with his legs on 178 carries and 5.8 yards per touch– and the majority of his stellar cast from last season that includes a disruptive defense that ranked 8th in the nation in yards allowed per game; many NCAAF experts believe that Houston has all the tools needed to keep things tight or even upset the Sooners in Week 1. Obviously, Oklahoma has a star quarterback of its own in Baker Mayfield, and a 2016 Heisman Trophy contender at that, while the Sooners also have a lot of experience from their solid 2015 campaign that saw them reach the 2015-16 college football playoffs, so beating them won’t be easy. But with the reputation Houston brings in this game, including a Peach Bowl victory last season, you can’t help but feel that the experts may be right on this one.
LSU TIGERS (-10) over Wisconsin Badgers, Sept. 3rd
Like the Sooners, the Tigers will have a tough test of their own in Week 1, facing a dangerous Power Five team in the Badgers. Wisconsin has been one of the toughest teams to beat in their own backyard and will come into this game to prove that it can contend for the Big Ten title in 2016. Unfortunately for the Badgers, LSU’s star running back Leonard Fournette is a one-man wrecking crew, Brandon Harris comes with better experience under his belt as QB for LSU and the Tigers have an established defense. So, even with Wisconsin having some decent talents in the team to make a game out of the Tigers, the experts feel that LSU will almost definitely win this game and most likely take the points too.
OREGON DUCKS (-43.5) over UC Davis Aggies
Despite missing the dependable services of QB Marcus Mariota in their offense last season and featuring one of the worst defenses in 2015, the Ducks still managed to swim to a healthy 9-win season. A big reason for their above-average year was the presence of dual-threat quarterback Vernon Adams who was supported by a strong cast of weapons in his offense. Adams is no longer available in the team, but Oregon’s offense should be in the safe hands of FCS graduate transfer and Montana State All-American quarterback Dakota Prukop, who is every bit of a dual-threat maestro, as is proven by the 1,763 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns he totaled at FCS level.
And to make his work easier, Prukop (or fellow QB Travis Jonsen) will inherit some of Adam’s lethal targets, none more dangerous than the oft-underappreciated RB Royce Freeman. More importantly, the Ducks have a new defensive coordinator in Brady Hoke, who should bring some sanity to Oregon’s insanely-porous defense from 2015. Against a UC Davis team that is no match to Oregon in virtually any department, the experts feel that the Ducks should be every bit capable of delivering a huge blowout Week 1 victory that will earn Prukop and his team the win plus a cover of the point spread.