South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Football Betting Pick: North Carolina +3 (September 3rd 2015)
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The College Football Season opens up Thursday Night with an ACC / SEC Tilt in Charlotte, NC on a neutral field as North Carolina takes on the Gamecocks in what lines out to be a pretty even matchup. Now many will think an SEC team pitted up against an ACC team is a mismatch in 80% of the cases that might be true, but UNC returns 10 players on offense including dual threat QB Marquis Williams who threw for over 3000 yards last year and ran for 788, and he has a full complement of weapons returning as well. It was the North Carolina defense that was their demise last year, ranked near the bottom of the NCAA. They brought in Gene Chizik to overhaul one of the worst stop units in 2014 in the NCAA, and I think it will pay some dividends.
Steve Spurrier’s team in 2014 just flat out found ways to lose ballgames and they start an unproven QB whose offense returns just 4 starters overall from last year’s disappointing team, and the Gamecocks will be lucky to get to 7 wins again this year based on speculation of a weak offense, turnover issues with a new QB, and their schedule, and this opener is no cakewalk.
At days end playing in the state of North Carolina is a small advantage, and the offense should be in favor of the Tarheels here with a veteran unit. North Carolina is a 2.5 to 3 point underdog and I feel they have the better chance in this game to put up points versus a South Carolina team trying to get a new offense up to speed. This line is based on public perception in my opinion and Larry Feldora, North Carolina’s head coach is no slouch in big games, as evidenced by his success at Southern Miss previously.
FREE Pro Pick on North Carolina +2.5 to 3 points
Duke vs. Tulane
Football Betting Pick: Tulane +7.5 points (September 3rd 2015)
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Duke is an interesting story. From 1995 to 2012 they went 18-126 in the ACC, but the last 2 years they went 11-6 despite a -40, and -70 yards per game defecit. They lose a ton of talent in 2015, but most notably are their QB Anthony Boone, WR Crowder, but the 95 career starts between their two key hogs up on the offensive line in Laken Tomlinson and Takoby Cofield. That could be a huge issue on Thursday night on the road against Tulane, whose strength is a defensive line that has been a top 40 group in adjusted line yards the last two years.
What I really like about this play is Tulane has 16 returning starters and can only get better. Their 34 point loss to Duke last year on the road was not as bad as the scoreboard indicated and Curtis Johnson has done a fine job of recruiting and building depth. The offense will still struggle, but their defense should keep them in games especially against a rebuilding team like Duke who themselves have a ton of question marks on offense. I expect a low scoring one possession score game.
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Western Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
Football Betting Prediction: Western Kentucky -2 (September 3rd 2015)
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This selection isn’t so much due to liking Western Kentucky, but “playing against” Vanderbilt. Western Kentucky’s been a solid team for 2 straight years, going 8-4 SU in 2014 & 8-5 SU last season while beating Central Michigan in their Bowl game. On the other hand, Vandy ended the 2014 season at 3-9 SU, with their only 3 wins coming against outgunned football programs like U. Mass, Charlestown South & Old Dominion- All are more known for their Basketball teams than their Football programs. Vandy averaged just 17 points per game last year and was held to 17 points or less in 8 of their 12 games. They ended at 0-8 SU in the Dog role and that’s exactly where they find themselves to open this season- As home Dogs hosting Western Kentucky. On Thursday Western Kentucky starts their 2nd season behind HC Jeff Brohm, who finally got everything together near the end of last season while finishing on a 5-0 SU & 3-2 ATS winning run. Combine last season’s late improvement with that confidence building Bowl victory and you MUST back Western Kentucky to beat up on a rebuilding Vandy team.
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