Maybe like the rest of the college football world, you are afraid to go against Nick Saban and Alabama.
But the Crimson Tide are being oversold as the 2022 national championship betting favorites and this week, we find them “untouchable” in that they’re giving six touchdowns (-41.5 points at BetMGM as of 4 p.m. ET Thursday) to a competent Utah State team playing above its weight class.
Here’s a look at the reasons to take what they give you in Tuscaloosa and a few more college football picks we’re intrigued by in Week 1:
Utah State at Alabama (-41.5, -110)
Trends and statistics can be shaped, contextualized into a perceived no-brainer. We’ve all been at the window — at the book or via mobile — trying to convince ourselves the hunch in our noggin is the only way to go.
For starters, if you like Utah State to cover the massive number, shop around. DraftKings and others have Alabama -42, and every half-point can help in this wagering game.
There are a number of possible plays that make sense, including focusing on the first half.
Considering pairing the spread of first half with a prop? Take a look at DraftKings, where Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young is -115 to go over 304.5 passing yards and -180 to go over 2.5 passing TDs. He hit three TDs and went over 304.5 passing yards in 10 games last season.
Note Alabama beat Mercer 48-14 last year in Week 2.
Utah State is 1-0 but fell behind UConn by 14 in the first quarter before racking up 542 total yards offense.
The Aggies are +27 (DraftKings) in the first half at -105.
But why buy Utah State over the perennial power?
They’re in the right place at the right time.
In case you aren’t within Alabama or Texas state lines, you might not be aware the Crimson Tide are in Austin next week. Not to say Saban will go light as the curtain is raised, but you can see the possibility of a 45-17 type of final here.
Utah State has a seven-game road winning streak. Coach Blake Anderson has won three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents, including Utah State’s 26-23 win at Washington State last season and a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.
Utah (-3, -105) at Florida
The Gators are an underdog in a season opener in The Swamp, which last happened in 1969 when Florida hosted No. 7-ranked Houston.
If you were tied up during the holidays and missed Utah undressing Oregon (twice by a combined count of 76-17) and almost sinking the Buckeyes’ battleship in the Rose Bowl (48-45 final in Pasadena), here’s a reminder: the Utes are the Pac-12 exception, and this team is no joke.
Florida was too often a punchline last season and went 2-6 in the SEC. The Gators are restocking the talent pool, but it’s too much to ask head coach Billy Napier to restore UF’s chomp in 2022.
Utah rarely goes on the road for a cross-country date in an extremely hostile setting. But we say again, this is the Pac-12 anomaly and Utah is legit on both sides of the ball.
We’re liking the looks of Utah over 26.5 points scored — the total is 51.5 — paired with the Utes -3.
Bowling Green at UCLA (-23.5, -110)
Pinky promise, we aren’t knocking the Pac-12 intentionally.
Brass tacks: Bowling Green is not easy prey, and the Bruins have some convincing to do before they receive a vote of confidence, much less investments.
We aren’t the first ones to fly with the Falcons. The opening line in the spring was UCLA -31.5.
It’s worth noting that Bowling Green went 5-1 ATS on the road last season.
DraftKings will allow alternate spread bets on Bowling Green that shouldn’t make one entirely uncomfortable, such as +120 odds on the Falcons +20.5.
And betting Bowling Green to get nine points — yes, over 8.5 — in either half at -110 is generous at worst.
But if you also believe in Bowling Green’s offense, the icing on this cake here is the over-under total of 56.5 points.
UCLA has two defensive starters back and the Bruins and Chip Kelly are always far more concerned with glitter than grit.
–Field Level Media