We are back! What an off-season it was for old Mr. Spread Awareness. I successfully watched zero games of the NBA playoffs, lost half of my net worth betting on the NHL playoffs, quadrupled my net worth by betting on swimming, wrestling, badminton, and horse dancing in the Olympics, and then lost all the money I made during the Olympics by betting on the Little League World Series. Thank the lord college football is here.
For those of you that forgot, Spread Awareness finished the 2020 football season on one of the hottest streaks in the history of hot streaks (don’t look this up, just believe me). I am glad to be back, but I am also a little nervous about this week. You always want to start out strong, and I hate letting you all down. Luckily, my expert team of statisticians, bookmakers, meteorologists, astrologists, and doctors have been doing nonstop research for the last 45 minutes and we are super-confident with this week's picks. My team has informed me that last season was not real and I should not use anything I saw in those games as a reason to pick games this weekend. As you will see below, I followed that strategy for exactly two seconds. LET'S GET TO THE WINNERS.
Michigan State +3 @ Northwestern (Friday, 8:00 PM CST, ESPN)
Nothing like a little Michigan State vs Northwestern action to kick off the three-day weekend! The Wildcats are coming off of a 7-2 season where they held all but two of their opponents to 20 points or fewer. Those two teams that went over? Michigan State (29) and Ohio State (22).
Want to hear a wild theory? I think the reason Northwestern was so great last year is that the season started late and it was cold as hell. Kind of the same thing with Iowa, no one wants to play that style of game when it is >30 degrees out. Did I look up the weather for all of these games last year to see if this theory held any weight? Absolutely not. Welcome back to Spread Awareness!
MSU and Mel Tucker are coming off of a ROUGH first year, going 2-5. They also went OVER in 5 of their 7 games which is not ideal when one of the staples of Spread Awareness is #MSUnders. As sad as it is to say, I think Mel Tucker is trying to kill #MSUnders. Luckily, we may have a new UNDERS bet for this season in #NUnders. Northwestern went under in all but two games last year, and I think I am all in with them this season. So, I am officially declaring #MSUnders DEAD and announcing that #NUnders is the new official sponsor pick of SPREAD AWARENESS.
PICK: #NUnders 45, NW -3
#17 Indiana +3.5 @ #18 Iowa (Saturday, 2:30 PM CST, BTN)
Iowa football is back and I have so many questions about this year.
- WILL OUR DEFENSE BE GOOD?
- SPENCER PETRAS, GOOD OR NOT GOOD?
- HOW MANY HEISMAN TROPHIES CAN TYLER GOODSON WIN IN 1 YEAR?
Actually, those are the only questions I have. I am optimistic about this season, which is scary because usually that means we stink or something goes terribly wrong and we only win six games.
I am just going to go ahead and share some info right now before things get going. I placed a large wager on the Hawks to win the Big Ten. I also placed an even bigger wager on them to win OVER 8.5 games. Why would I do this when every person in the gambling world seems to think they won’t get to 9 wins? Because I am a very rational person that bets based on facts, not gut instincts. The last time I bet this heavy on Iowa was 2017 and that ended very poorly but this year is different. THIS IS THE YEAR.
Opening weekend is usually such a joyous occasion, but I have to be honest, this one is tearing my heart into pieces. Indiana basically funded our entire gambling season last year. We bet on them every week. Indiana 1H was the surest bet in all of college football. They became our second team, filling our pockets with cash and giving us hope. But now what do we do?
I like Iowa in this game. As I said above, I think they are going to be very good this year, and I think they could very well win by 20. I am also not ready to give up on Indiana covering in the first half, so this is a weird pick but here we go:
PICK: INDIANA +2.5 1H, IOWA -3.5 GAME
IOWA +1200 TO WIN THE BIG TEN
IOWA OVER 8.5 WINS
TYLER GOODSON TO WIN THE HEISMAN +15,000
Michigan -17 vs Western Michigan (Saturday, 11:OO AM CST, ESPN)
Khaki Pants got another shot from U of M leadership after going 2-4 last year and now the big question is, what will he do with it? My guess is they will win 8-9 games, lose to Ohio State, make a decent bowl game, and then do the same thing next year, and the year after. Winning 8-9 or occasionally 10 games in a year is not bad, and as Nebraska has shown, you should probably just take it and embrace it because things can, and most likely will, get worse. So keep doing you, Michigan, just keep on keeping on.
As a MACtion expert, I am very confident in saying that Western Michigan is a very average MAC team. They will most likely finish third in their division this year and no one on their team really excites me. Also, over the last four seasons, the closest they have come to beating a Power 5 team is a 55-42 loss to Syracuse in 2018. This game may be close for a quarter, but Michigan will roll.
PICK: Michigan -17
#19 Penn State +5.5 @ #12 Wisconsin (11:00 AM CST, FOX)
Everyone seems to like Wisconsin in this one, why? Because Penn State was bad at football for half the season last year? Sure, but they looked a lot better the last four games of last season (after losing to Iowa, BADLY). They didn’t cover once in their first five games but ended by covering four times in a row. They ended the year RED HOT and I am fairly confident that will continue this year. Their backfield should be great, their receivers should be good, and yep, I am all in on Penn State making a run at Ohio State this year.
Maybe. But for as good as I think Penn State is, Wisconsin will be good too, because they always are. Even when they stink they are still good. Does that make sense? No? Okay, great.
They were pretty bad last year and this #12 ranking confused the hell out of me. They failed to cover in four of their last five games, and I don’t think they are covering here. Wisconsin is #DONE. I am taking Penn State +5.5 but there is a good chance I get crazy before game time and take the Nittany Lions ML.
PICK: PENN STATE +5.5 (but probably Penn State ML)
West Virginia -3 @ Maryland (2:30 CST, ESPN)
Remember last season when Maryland lost to Rutgers? I am still scarred by this. West Virginia by a touchdown!
PICK: WV -3
Nebraska -42.5 vs Fordham (I am not even going to tell you when this game is or how to watch it. Don't do it.)
Every time Nebraska loses Scott Frost says something so stupid I audibly gasp. This week?
Frost on the offense at Illinois:— Steve Marik (@Steve_Marik) August 30, 2021
"About half of our game plan was out the window when they lined up how they did."
Luckily, they get to play Fordham this week and Nebraska has never struggled in games like this under Frost. Please don’t look at how they almost lost to a 2-win South Alabama team in 2019, or how they lost to Troy in 2018. Nope, they will be fine! Plus, the sellout streak is still alive thanks to some generous donors so how could these players not be motivated to beat down a bad team?
PICK: Another game to watch/bet on.
Purdue -7 vs Oregon State (6:00 PM CST, FS1)
HERE IT IS FOLKS, YOUR FIRST LOOK AT THE ALLIANCE! What a match-up we have here! Purdue ended last season by losing to Rutgers AND Nebraska. That should get you relegated to the MAC. Oregon State went 2-5 last year and I think they brought Mike Riley back as a coach in some capacity? FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!
This game is going to be gross and exactly the type of thing I am looking forward to seeing more of as THE ALLIANCE grows stronger. It is like a Funbelt game but in a bigger, emptier stadium!
PICK: Oregon State +7
Illinois -5.5 vs UTSA (6:30 PM CST, BTN)
BERT!!! Illinois defeated the mighty Cornhuskers in Week 0 and will look to remain undefeated and at the top of the Big Ten standings by beating football powerhouse UTSA. UTSA will probably put up a better fight than Nebraska did, or at least they won’t do as much stupid stuff. If UTSA only loses by seven I vote that we let them into the Big Ten and kick Nebraska out. Thoughts?
Pick: Illinois -5.5, OVER 49.5
TOP 25 GAMES OF THE WEEK OF THE CENTURY
#1 Alabama -18 vs #14 Miami - Bama -18, OVER 61
18 is a lot of points, even for Alabama. Don't care. You don't win money betting against Bama.
#21 Texas vs #23 University of Louisiana Lafayette – OVER 53.5, Lafayette +9.5
New coach, same Texas. The Ragin Cajuns have had a long week, time for them to beat up on a Longhorns.
#3 Clemson -3 vs #5 Georgia - CLEMSON -3
Will Georgia let its fans down early, or save that for the end of the season?? Or will they let them down early, then win a bunch of games in a row to rebuild hope, and then suffer another crushing loss. That sounds about right. Clemson wins.
UCLA +3 vs #16 LSU - UCLA +3
Two programs going in different directions. Chip Kelly and the crew stay hot after last week and knock off a very meh LSU team.
#9 Notre Dame -7.5 @Florida State - ND -7.5
People keep saying Florida State is going to be good. They will probably not be. Notre Dame wins BIG.
That is it for Week 1. As always, be sure to tell me why these picks are bad in the comment section or why I am the smartest man in all of the college football gambling world.