Kansas State and Stanford will square off in an intriguing Week 1 college football showdown that, not only, could go a long way toward determining the postseason fates of both gridiron programs, but one that has the clear-cut look of a virtual lock.
With the start of the 2016 college football season just about four weeks away, let’s get started with my expert online betting prediction and pick on this huge Week 1 pairing!
2016 Week 1 Kansas State Wildcats vs Stanford Cardinal Free Picks
When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, September 2, 2016
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California
NCAAF Odds: Stanford -16
Bet The Kansas State Wildcats at +16 Because…
The Kansas State Wildcats look like a good bet because they have a genius head coach and plenty of talent. Kansas State (6-7 SU, 6-7ATS), was decimated with injuries in 2015, but their downer of a season could turn around immediately in 2016 if all goes according to plan under legendary head coach Bill Snyder.
The Wildcats ranked a respectable 58th in scoring a year ago (29.9 ppg), but struggled in the passing game behind third-string backup-turned-starter Joe Hubener. Now, Snyder will turn to either Jesse Ertz or Alex Denton as both signal-callers return from injuries. Whoever starts under center will have a solid complimentary group of skill position players at the running back and wide receiver positions, though the Cats don’t have a single superstar right now.
The Wildcats need to retool an offensive line that lost four starters from last season’s team, but any sort of improved play at quarterback will be a huge boost after they struggled wildly to pass the ball a year ago. Defensively, the Wildcats ranked a dismal 93rd in points allowed in 2015, giving up 31.1 points per contest. The Cats have a solid front seven led by linebacker and leading tackler Elijah Lee (80 tackles) and an equally impressive secondary led by cornerback Duke Shelly and Cal transfer Cedric Dozier.
Bet The Stanford Cardinal at -16 Because…
The Cardinals (12-2 SU, 10-4 ATS) have the best all-around player in the nation, are playing at home and have what should be another powerful defense in 2016. If you didn’t know before, you should know that, in four out of head Coach David Shaw’s five seasons, Stanford has managed to win at least a share of the Pac-12 North title.
Unfortunately, 2016 is going to be a season of change as the Cardinal look to replace four-year starting quarterback Kevin Hogan and a handful of other key contributors from last season’s playoff-contending squad. The good news is that Stanford has a player that I believe is the best al-around football player in all of collegiate football in hybrid running back/wide receiver/returner Christian McCaffrey.
The son of former NFL star Ed McCaffery, the younger McCaffrey set the NCAA single-season all-purpose record last season with 3,864 total yards, including a school-record 2,109 rushing yards. If Stanford can find an answer to replacing Hogan, they could very well challenge for a berth in the four-team playoff. The quarterback job is currently up for grabs between two inexperienced signal-callers in Keller Chryst and Ryan Burns.
In addition to replacing Hogan, the Cardinal also have to find three new starters on the offensive line including Outland Trophy winner Josh Garnett. Defensively the Cardinal have just six returning starters but they do have plenty of talent starting with defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (10.5 tackles for a loss). The Cardinal also have a nice blend of youth and experience in the secondary, so expect them to be solid at the very least.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
The K-State Wildcats may be 1-4 ATS in their last five games against Pc-12 teams and an identical 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, but the last time Stanford was a 16-point favorite, they failed to cover the college football betting line and I believe they will do so again in their 2016 regular season opener.
I know the Cardinals are a robust 38-18 ATS in their last 56 home games and bankroll-boosting 49-24-1 ATS in their last 74 games overall, but I believe that K-State’s Bill Snyder will lead his team to the ATS cover against a Stanford team that will have a new starting quarterback this coming season.