Spread Options is back and we're setting the bar higher than last season.
Thanks to a 4-6 final week, we finished the season at 75-65-2. Ten games over .500 is doable, but not great. However, I think it gives us license call ourselves betting experts, right? We're going with it. We are betting experts now.
Let's see what Week One looks like.
Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5), 6:15 ET (Thursday): We're so convinced about this game that it's starting to worry us. South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson has starting experience. Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill doesn't. Williams-Brice Stadium is going to be rocking. Last year, South Carolina was 3-2 at home ATS when there was a double-digit line. One of those games was North Carolina last year. It's a two-touchdown win for the Gamecocks.
Boise State (+11) vs. Ole Miss, 8 p.m. ET (Thursday): This isn't Chris Petersen's Boise State. And it isn't even Chris Petersen's great Boise State. But the Broncos are the class of the Mountain West Conference and need this game to have any chance of sniffing the College Football Playoff. Ole Miss is also this year's trendy non-Alabama/Auburn/LSU pick in the SEC West. While the Rebels could live up to that billing, a double-digit cover on a neutral site doesn't seem likely.
Rutgers at Washington State (-8), 10 p.m. ET (Thursday): Rutgers has a beat up defensive secondary. Rutgers also has Gary Nova. While the presence of Ralph Friedgen as the Scarlet Knights' offensive coordinator may make Nova a better quarterback, do you want to take Nova in a shootout against Mike Leach's offense in the first game of the season?
Ohio State vs. Navy (+16.5), Noon ET: The J.T. Barrett era is going to begin with a win for Ohio State. And it very well could be a convincing win. But the best quarterback on the field is going to be Navy's Keenan Reynolds, who had 31 rushing touchdowns last year. Navy controls the ball and controls the clock relatively well, preventing Ohio State from stretching the lead.
Cal at Northwestern (-11), 3:30 p.m. ET: Northwestern faltered significantly down the stretch last season, but Cal went 1-11 and challenged Purdue for the title of "worst Power Five team in 2013." Each team returns nine starters on offense and Northwestern won last year's game by 14 at Cal. It's setting up to be a repeat in 2014.
North Texas (+25.5) at Texas, 8 p.m. ET: There's some Texas optimism built into this line. The Mean Green were a bowl team in 2013 and played Georgia tough before ultimately losing by 24. Yes, North Texas only has nine returning starters (total), but Texas isn't as good as Georgia was and the Charlie Strong bump may not be immediate.
Florida State (-18) vs. Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET: The (Oklahoma State) Cowboys are back in AT&T Stadium for the second time in eight months, which means they've played more meaningful games there in that timeframe than the Dallas Cowboys have. Florida State and Jameis Winston is out to prove that it's once again the best team in college football and a beatdown of a Big 12 team will help prove just that.
Wisconsin vs. LSU (-5), 9 p.m. ET: Les Miles doesn't lose nonconference games to Power Five opponents. He's not going to on Saturday. If this line was at 7, Wisconsin is tempting. However, the Tigers are the better team and will wear down the Badgers as the game goes on. This is going to be close, but it's not going to go in Wisconsin's favor.
Utah State (+6) vs. Tennessee, 7 p.m. ET (Sunday): Upset special of the week. We're on the Chuckie Keeton bandwagon. Utah State wins this straight up. The Aggie offense lost a ton of talent, but we're going to go with the best player on the field, especially given Tennessee's QB problems last year.
Miami at Louisville (-3.5), 8 p.m. ET (Monday): The return of Bobby Petrino starts off wonderfully for Louisville fans. Miami is starting a true freshman at QB and has RB Duke Johnson off a severe ankle injury that he suffered against Florida State last year. Yes, there's no Teddy Bridgewater, but Will Gardner will do just fine.
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