We are now only 25 days until the start of the 2016 college football season! Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it, that Alabama beat Clemson in last season’s national title game? Here are a few games and updated college football lines that I recommend.
Let’s Take a Look at the 2016 Top College Football Week 1 Betting Odds
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 1, 2016
USC vs. Alabama (-10.5 on NCAA Footbal Betting)
The Tide begin defense of their title in Arlington, Texas, against the Trojans, who will be a Top 25 team when the first preseason polls are released. Alabama likely will be in the Top 3 of the polls despite losing quarterback Jake Coker and running back Derrick Henry, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
But Alabama will likely be missing a few key players for this game. For sure out is Alabama defensive back Tony Brown due to suspension. But that is expected to be reduced from six games to four. The junior’s suspension stems from something that happened leading up to the Tide’s Cotton Bowl matchup against Michigan State in late December. A former five-star recruit, Brown was a valuable contributor on special teams as a sophomore last season while also contributing as a reserve on defense. Brown was named one of Alabama’s special teams players of the week four times.
It’s not quite clear if Tide offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor will play. Taylor was suspended following his DWI arrest earlier in July. But new reports are that while Taylor tested negative for alcohol, he did not do well on his field sobriety tests. Police were called to the scene of his arrest after Taylor hit a car in a parking lot on July 17. He started every game for Alabama last year. Taylor told officers he had gotten six hours of sleep and was going home after playing cards. The arresting officer said Taylor’s eyes were drooping and, “needed support exiting his vehicle.” The offensive lineman was charged with the DWI on the basis of “any substance” that is impairing as well as the accident in the parking lot. His court date is Aug. 16. I think I’d take the points here — although I’m still waiting on whom USC picks as it’s starting QB.
LSU vs. Wisconsin (+10 on NCAA Football Lines)
Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette of LSU begins his season at storied Lambeau Field against Wisconsin, which probably has the toughest schedule in the nation this year. If the Heisman Trophy were awarded mid-year in 2015, Fournette would have won it by a landslide last season. Overall, he rushed for 1,953 yards (6.5 yards per carry).
No team in the country brings back more starters than the Tigers, who have 18 returnees. On defense, Coach Miles hired Dave Aranda away from Wisconsin. The new coordinator has 10 starters back, led by ends Lewis Neal and Arden Key. All four starters are back in the secondary, including safety Jamal Adams, who led the team with four interceptions.
Aranda, a native of Redlands, California, had led the Badgers defense for the last three seasons. Wisconsin last year finished the regular season No. 1 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense, allowing 13.7 points per game. His defenses are known to be multiple and variable, having no real true base defensive formation, and they’ve had success against the popular spread offense — a scheme that’s even crept into the SEC.
While coaching the Badgers against LSU in the 2014 season opener in Houston, Aranda’s defense limited the Tigers to 126 rushing yards as LSU used a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Badgers at NRG Stadium.
LSU is my pick to play for the national title, but this is basically a home game for the Badgers so I’d take the points on NCAA football lines.