Four weeks from yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 4, the college football season kicks off. Yes, there is one game in Australia on Aug. 27, but in reality the season begins on Thursday, Sept. 1 around the country. Here are two games I feel comfortable in picking the side and thus parlaying on college football odds to increase your winnings.
Taking a Closer Look at the College Football Week 1 Expert Parlay Picks
— Ball State Football (@BallStateFB) August 4, 2016
Ball State at Georgia State (-3.5 on NCAA football odds)
This game is Friday, Sept. 2 from the Georgia Dome. Georgia State is a pretty new FBS program that finished 6-7 last year, losing to San Jose State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. The Panthers won at Ball State, a Mid-American Conference program, 31-19 during the regular season. Nick Arbuckle threw for 412 yards and a touchdown, and ran for two more. Arbuckle was 28-of- 38 passing, and Robert Davis had nine catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia State returns nine starters on defense and seven on offense. The players say the goal is to challenge for the Sun Belt Conference title. The coaching staff that led the team to that first-ever bowl game returns mostly intact. However, the starting QB, Arbuckle, is gone. He passed for more than 7,500 yards the past two seasons. Battling to replace him are redshirt junior Conner Manning, redshirt sophomore Emiere Scaife and redshirt freshman Aaron Winchester. None have started a college game, and Manning and Scaife have combined for just a few snaps.
Ball State has a new coach this year. A disappointing 3-9 showing was followed by the unexpected departure of former head coach Pete Lembo. Mike Neu returns to his alma mater. Neu spent the last 12 years in New Orleans and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Saints as a scout in 2009. Quarterback Riley Neal, who threw for 2,276 yards, rushed for 399 yards and accounted for 18 TDs, returns.
Go Georgia State here. It’s a program on the rise.
Colorado State vs. Colorado (-8.5 in online NCAA betting)
This game is Friday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. ET in Denver so it’s technically a neutral-site game. The Buffs could be a Pac-12 surprise this season. But is QB Sefo Liufau healthy and ready for Week 1? The Pac-12’s most experienced signal-caller is back for his final year after ending the 2015 season early following a Lisfranc injury. He has been off crutches since January and claims he’s healthy now. Liufau’s top receiver will be Shay Fields, who has 92 career receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.
The defense, under new coordinator Jim Leavitt, is led by cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. Between corner and nickel, he was on the field for 897 snaps and posted 90 tackles (78 solo) last year. The Colorado coaches are creative with the way they use him. He led the team with 13 tackles for a loss and also posted four sacks to go with a pair of interceptions.
The Mike Bobo era at Colorado State got off to a solid start last year with a 7-6 season and third consecutive bowl game. Record-breaking receiver Rashard Higgins skipped his senior season to jump to the NFL, however, and all-conference tight end Kivon Cartwright graduated. QB Nick Stevens, who threw for 2,679 yards and 21 touchdowns a year ago, does return.
Colorado beat Colorado State 27-24 in overtime last year. Tedric Thompson blocked Wyatt Bryan’s 27-yard field goal attempt in overtime and Diego Gonzalez atoned for a miss at the end of regulation by hitting a 32-yarder. Gonzalez had shanked a 48-yarder as time expired. Liufau threw for 220 yards and two TDs for Colorado, a 65-yarder to Fields and a 24-yarder to Devin Ross. For CSU, Higgins caught eight passes for 125 yards and a 25-yard TD from Stevens, who threw for 282 yards but was intercepted twice.
Take Colorado on NCAA odds here.