Are you itching for college football to begin? Want to make a huge splash right away in Week 1? The season kicks off in late August and there are a couple of strong early plays that deserve your attention. I will break them down for you with a bit of analytical info. Saturdays are about to get a whole lot more fun.
Oregon St @ Ohio St – September 1, 12:00 PM ET
Urban Meyer leads the Buckeyes into battle fresh off a twelve-win season that boasted a Big Ten Championship and a Cotton Bowl victory. Meyer has not lost the opening game of a season in his time in Columbus, and Ohio State has not lost their opening game since 1999. Ohio State is 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in opening games since Meyer began coaching in 2012. The Buckeyes have won these games by an average of 32.7 points, blowing away an average spread of -23.2.
Oregon State was horrendous in 2017, posting a 1-11 record with an average score margin of -22.3. They are not projected to improve as they recruited the worst 2018 class in the Pac-12. This game with Ohio State is projected to be very lopsided. The line is currently at 38 points. History is definitely on the Buckeyes’ side, indicating a very high chance for both SU and ATS wins.
Verdict: Your writer’s money will be on Ohio State to cover the 38-point spread. Even though the spread is large, this game feels similar to the Buckeyes’ 2016 opener in which they beat Bowling Green by 67 points.
UPDATE: With the current Urban Meyer scandal, it may be best to take a “wait and see” approach with this one.
Old Dominion @ Liberty – September 1, 6:00 PM ET
What if I told you there was a small school in Lynchburg, VA that has played its previous ten FBS openers on the road … and won all ten ATS. That school is Liberty, and this season they will host Old Dominion for their first home FBS game in school history. This program has enjoyed remarkable success and consistency over the past decade. The team’s last losing season was in 2005 and they have had just two head coaches since that time.
Coming off of a 5-7 2017 season, Old Dominion figures to be mediocre once again. The past ten teams to play Liberty in their FBS opener have been favorites by an average of 26.5 points. Old Dominion finds themselves just six-point favorites in this upcoming Week 1 matchup. Liberty is 10-0 ATS in their past ten FBS openers, but have still gone 2-8 SU and lost these games by an average of 11.5 points. How will they fare on their home field with a smaller six-point spread?
Verdict: Your writer’s money will be on Liberty to win straight up. This team knocked off Baylor as 30-point underdogs in Week 1 of 2017. They now have a home game against a much weaker OD opponent. Head Coach Turner Gill excels in these types of games.