2016 College Football Week 1 Best BetsJosh Bailey
It’s never too early start picking your best bets for Week 1 in College Football. The first week of college football betting action is stacked. Don’t lollygag, get your picks in today.
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) August 9, 2016
In choosing my best bets, I took a look at games starting on Thursday, Sept. 1. Will it be Vanderbilt or South Carolina on that day? Clemson battles Auburn on Sept. 3. Which Tiger team will roar in that pitched battle? Is UCLA good enough to take down Texas A&M on the road in Week 1?
Analyzing My 2016 College Football Week 1 Best Bets
South Carolina at Vanderbilt
When: Thursday, Sept. 1 at 8:00 pm ET
Odds: Vanderbilt -3
Analysis: South Carolina picked up a great defensive coach in Will Muschamp. Muschamp hasn’t proven that he can be a great head coach, though. Muschamp doesn’t have a lot to work with at South Carolina, either, after Steve Spurrier pretty much blew the Gamecocks last 2 recruiting classes.
Vanderbilt returns 12 starters from a much improved team last season. The Commodores have a viable SEC running back star in Ralph Webb. The defense has a star in linebacker Zach Cunningham. The defense should be one of the top units in the SEC this season. This is not the usual run of the mill Vanderbilt team. I think they smack South Carolina in the mouth.
Pick: Vanderbilt -3
No. 2 Clemson at Auburn
When: Saturday, Sept. 3 at 9:00 pm ET
Odds: Clemson -7
Analysis: Auburn hired Muschamp last season to lead their defense. It didn’t work it out that way. Auburn’s defense allowed 405.2 total yards per game. This includes allowing a stunning 182.7 rushing yards per game on the ground. Do the Tigers have any shot of stopping Clemson’s offense? They don’t.
Clemson returns Heisman Trophy candidate QB Deshaun Watson and that alone should strike fear in opposing defenses. Overall, the Tigers return 8 starters on offense including RB Wayne Gallman, WR Mike Williams and tackle Mitch Hyatt. The Tigers’ defense returns DT Carlos Watkins and brilliant LB Ben Boulware. Clemson should beat Auburn by at least 10 points on Sept. 3.
Pick: Clemson -7
No. 24 UCLA at Texas A&M
When: Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 pm ET
Odds: Texas A&M -1.5
Analysis: Everybody’s ga-ga over UCLA sophomore QB Josh Rosen. Rosen has the tools to play at the next level. I’ll grant him that. But the Bruins face one of the better defenses in the SEC on Sept. 3.
Former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis used smoke and mirrors to get the Aggies to hold opponents to only 166 passing yards per game last season. He won’t need those smoke and mirrors this season. Chavis lost only 3 players from a defense that took a huge leap in 2015. With the experience, Chavis’ defense should be a top unit.
I think that A&M gets to Rosen in this matchup. I’m not worried about Texas A&M’s offense. Former Oklahoma starter Trevor Knight takes over at QB for Kyle Allen.
Pick: Texas A&M -1.5