I am not going to lie, this is one of my favorite days of every off season. That is, the day that the Golden Nugget releases point spreads for some of the biggest games of the upcoming season. That lovely day came at the end of last week, and after
spending days studying the lines of every game a long weekend in Boston and a couple long days of work, I am ready to break it all down. All the free advice you could ever want is right below all of this gambling goodness
First things first, Penn State appears three times, first as a 2.5 point favorite against UCF in the season opener, and than as a 7 and 9 point underdog in the Michigan and Ohio State games respectively. Sadly, we are left to wait for the opening spread for the game at Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers.
The UCF game is interesting to me for so many reasons. The Knights have to replace bortles, and Storm Johnson, but PSU enters the game with a new coach, their top offensive threat from 2013 gone, and a host of questions to answer on the offensive line. I generally stay away from most opening week games like this.
The Michigan game sounds about right when you consider the typical 3-3.5 point edge a home team gets. This game, as well as the Ohio State game, are two I could see making a big move once we get into the season, and we get a better feel for all three teams. But given how much we've read about 63-14 (the sanction aided OSU version, not the awesome 1994 PSU version) this winter and spring, 9 points does seem awfully small.
This is no joke, but the next game that jumped out to me was Alabama at a whopping -21 on September 20th versus Florida. I don't know what intrigues me more. The part where Alabama is a 21 point favorite, or the part where that seems awfully small against a Florida program that seems all set to begin playing out the string by mid-September.
Big rematches from the previous year always catch my eye. Sparty opens at -1 in their rematch of last year's B1G Championship game against Ohio State. I'm a little surprised it's so low with the game taking place in East Lansing. MSU is getting a lot of attention for what they lose on defense, but I'm very curious to see how Urbz deals with 4 new starters on his offensive line, and no Carlos Hyde. Then again, he may have thought Carlos graduated after the 2013 Michigan game, given his disappearing act against MSU in the title game.
Rather than break down every game on the list I'm intrigued by, here are a few more with my early picks:
Auburn at Alabama -6
LSU -5 at Texas A&M
Florida State -17 vs. Oklahoma State
Michigan State +13 at Oregon
Michigan at Michigan State -7.5
Georgia -9 vs. Florida
Michigan -3 at Northwestern