By: Hunter Schmidt
The week we have all been waiting for has arrived.
That’s right, college football is back! Kind of. This weekend is simply a tease for next weekend, when there are games Thursday through Monday night.
You have found the first edition of a weekly gambling column that I’ll be posting here at Edge Sports Network. I’ll have this out by Wednesday night every week so we can get those Thursday night games included in the column. Follow along on Twitter @hunterrschmidtt for other random bets later in the year for those Tuesday night MAC games.
The way I am going to structure my bets in this column is the amount risked, listed along with the win back amount in units. A unit could be $100, $250, $500, or whatever your bankroll allows. Most of the bets are going to be one unit, with the occasional two unit bet, and the rare three unit play. This is a great strategy to help you manage your bankroll over the entirety of the season, instead of losing it before Labor Day. The goal is to hit 55-60% of these picks and have at least a 10+ unit profit at the end of the bowl season. Let’s get started.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Gators (in Orlando); 6PM CT on ESPN
There is a reason that the total in this game has dropped all the way down to 47 from 51.5 at most books.
We are looking at two defenses that gave up 20 points per game or less last year. Miami held opponents to less than 280-yards per game last season. Florida was slightly higher, but they still managed to hold teams under 330-yards per game.
Florida lost 152 career starts on the offensive line, so we could see Feleipe Franks in for a rough day in Orlando as Miami totaled 40 sacks last year.
The Hurricanes thrived on 3rd down last year, allowing opponents to convert on just around 25% of their attempts. On the flip side, Miami loses 75 career starts on the offensive line and will start redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. Miami also has two good wide receivers in Jeff Thomas and Buffalo transfer K.J. Osborn.
Florida did lose Chris Steele after his transfer to USC this season and C.J. McWilliams to injury, but they still have potential first-rounder C.J. Henderson at corner, along with some highly recruited freshmen such as Kaiir Elam.
Miami and Florida have gone under the total the last three times they’ve matched up. This rivalry has lost luster in the national spotlight over the last few years, but these players know each other from high school ball and will be looking for bragging rights.
We have two nasty defenses that will feast on inexperienced offensive lines in this game. The under hit in the last seven Miami games a year ago, mainly because their defense was rock solid. The offense sputtered down the stretch and Manny Diaz hired Dan Enos from Alabama to fix that. The issue for Enos is that he has a redshirt freshman playing an SEC defense in Week 1, so don’t expect results immediately.
Without watching Jarren Williams, I am going to avoid a side in this game. I just don’t know what to expect out of him against a good Florida defense. Miami is also just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. The value has been sucked out of this total, but I think we see a low scoring first half where the halftime score is right around 13-7 or 10-7.
The Play: First Half Under 23.5 … Risk: 1.05 Units / Win: 1 Unit
A year ago, Florida played four defenses in the regular season that ranked in the top 30 in points per game, and they averaged just 18.5 points in those match-ups. If you include Michigan who ranked in the top 20, the team which Florida ran over in the bowl game, the average creeps up to 22.8.
I don’t take much from that Michigan game because they were coming off the Ohio State game where they entered as the #4 team in the country before getting trounced 62-39 by the Buckeyes. If Michigan wins that game, they have a chance to compete for the National Title.
The Peach Bowl didn’t mean anything to that team, just like the Sugar Bowl didn’t mean anything to Georgia, who had missed out on their National Title hopes after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Miami ranked 18th in points per game a year ago, giving up just 19.5. They only gave up more than 27 points in two games last year. One of which was the season opener against LSU, and the other being the bowl game against Wisconsin. I think the only way Florida puts up more than 27 is if the Miami offense coughs up the ball and gives Florida great field position. I’ll be playing the under on Florida’s team total.
The Play: Florida TT Under 27.5 … Risk: 1.2 Units / Win: 1 Unit
Arizona Wildcats at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors; 9:30PM CT on CBS Sports Network
Khalil Tate came onto the scene in 2017 as a potential Heisman contender after putting up unbelievable numbers where he rushed for 135+ yards in six straight games, including a 327-yard performance at Colorado. Following that season, Kevin Sumlin replaced Rich Rodriquez as the head coach at Arizona and brought Noel Mazzone from Texas A&M with him. Tate suffered an ankle injury last year and was never the same quarterback, as he was forced to become more of a pocket passer.
The offense averaged 38.5 points per game in their final four regular season games, so they went into the off-season with a positive trajectory. There were some transfer rumors surrounding Tate in the off-season, but he’s back as the starter along with J.J. Taylor.
Taylor rushed for nearly 1,500 yards a year ago and should be one of the best running backs in the country once again.
Hawaii gave up over 35 points a game a year ago, while allowing teams to gash them for 440+ yards per game and 6.3 yards per play. These numbers got even worse when they played good teams like BYU, Nevada, Fresno, and Utah. In these match-ups, Hawaii allowed an average of nearly 49 points per game.
The total in this game opened around 70 and has jumped all the way to 74. Hawaii is going to be explosive on offense with five starters returning on the offensive line along with quarterback Cole McDonald, who threw for over 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns last season.
This game has shootout written all over it and I’m going to take a stab at a few bets here that avoid what will be an over-inflated full game total.
The Play: Arizona TT Over 40.5 … Risk: 1.45 Units / Win: 1 Unit
The Play: First Half Over 36 … Risk: 1.1 Units / Win: 1 Unit
I’ll be back next week with more picks for the true opening weekend of college football and a potential two unit play on Thursday night to get us started.
Do your bankroll a favor this year and treat betting like an investment. Do your own research and try to see both sides of every bet before ultimately making a decision. Best of luck this weekend!
Cover photo via: Mark Rebilas / USA Today
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