By: Jack Fredericks (He/Him/His) and Nate Perry (#NoPickNate)
Join our team of analysts every week as we lock down wagers for college football. This week we have Jack Fredericks stationed at the 1st Jackpot Casino in Tunica, Mississippi and Nate Perry at the Cal Neva in Reno, Nevada. Nate will join us on a few games this week and come back like a madman for Week 1. John Fredericks was feeling left out so he sent in his picks under the wire!
Week Zero is finally here and the GODZILLAWINS team of degenerate analysts is back to help you pad your bank account before we bet forty-five games before noon during Week 1. We’ve picked out five games guaranteed to make you a little coin, or at least give you something to do today other than refresh your email. We’ve also thrown in two games for Thursday, Sept. 1st (technically Week 1, but we’re anxious to get started) and a Friday game. Our lives suck, too! Let’s make these next few hours a little more interesting, shall we?
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27
NEBRASKA at NORTHWESTERN (NORTHWESTERN +11)
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET
Jack: Nebraska travels to…where does Northwestern play, again? Springfield? Rockford? Nebraska travels to the Chicago Metropolitan Area to play a rival you didn’t know existed. This game doesn’t rely so much on how good you think Northwestern will be (not very), but on how bad you think Nebraska will be (very, very). Nebraska’s quarterback transferred to Kansas State. KANSAS STATE! That’s all I need to know. Another down year for the Huskers starts with a too-close-for-comfort win over a bad Northwestern team. I’ll take the points. Northwestern +11.
Nate: Going to start this thing off hot and do the thing Godzilla hates and pick some totals, but don’t worry this is the fun kind. Take the over 50 in this game. Total feels too low. Nebraska should play at a pretty solid pace this year and should have no problem scoring against a horrible N’Western defense. Northwestern may put up a few. Anyways, everytime someone scores, we’re happy and on our way to cashing our first of many tickets this season. Over 50.
John: Huskers too big, too much muscle up front. Nebraska -11
WYOMING AT ILLINOIS (ILLINOIS -14)
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ET
Jack: Newly unemployed lawyer, Liz Cheney, is the only person who can get excited for this game. The Illini are looking like heavy favorites for probably the only time this year. You could spend all day reading predictions, but it boils down to the run game. Neither team seems to know or care who plays quarterback this season. Tommy DeVito has been named the starter for Illinois and I’m sure the DeVito family is very proud, but I’m guessing the Illini will rely on an effective run game to take control early. Wyoming should fall apart by the second half. Take Illinois and hope for the best. Illinois -14.
Nate: Two games, two overs. Sorry, Godzilla (but these are the only two for this particular article, so keep reading for some spread picks, purists). Normally when I see a total this low, my gut is to go with the under, as a contrarian. But this just feels way too low. This is the type of total that you see when service academies play each other while running the ball on 98% of their plays. These teams have more juice than that (not a ton, but a little) so take the over and root for some TDs. Over 44.
John: Is Wyoming really going to compete in the Big 10? No – lay the wood Illinois -14
DUQUESNE AT FLORIDA STATE (FSU -43)
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. ET
Jack: When was the last time Florida State beat anyone by forty-three points? Give me Duquesne. The ‘Noles aren’t hanging fifty on anyone. Duquesne +43.
John: Duquesne got $500,000 to lose by 60. Florida State -43
NORTH TEXAS AT UTEP (UTEP +1.5)
Kickoff: 9:00 p.m. ET
Jack: This is basically pick’em. Both teams won a bowl game. Both teams added some key pieces through the transfer portal to address needs. Both teams are in the midst of an impressive program reboot. I’ll go with UTEP since they’re at home and I’m guessing it’s four thousand degrees in El Paso, which is the only reason this game is starting at 9:00 p.m. UTEP +1.5.
NEVADA AT NEW MEXICO STATE (NEW MEXICO +8.5)
Kickoff 10:00 p.m. ET
Jack: Nevada is coming off an impressive 8-5 record last year and new head coach Ken Wilson added a boatload of interesting talent through the transfer portal. Mountain West teams like to throw the ball, but the Wolfpack will also rely on returning tailback Toa Toa in order to pace the game. New Mexico State feels good about their program, but the 2-10 record last season makes me nervous to take the points. I’m also impressed with Nevada’s secondary, which should be much improved. I’m taking Nevada -8.5 and the over at 48. Hot tip: choose one Mountain West game per week and bet $15 on the over. There’s a 70% chance you’ll hit. Nevada -8.5. Over 48.
John: NM State wins 2 games again. Not tonight. Nevada -8.5
THURSDAY, SEPT 1
PENN STATE AT PURDUE (PURDUE +3)
Kickoff: 7:00 PM
Jack: This is your markee game for Thursday night, folks. It’s almost certain that one of these teams is overrated and that the line is benefitting from the start of the season or last year’s success. We know Penn State should be a functional team with a strong defense, so the wager starts with Purdue. Either you believe the Boilermakers can continue to pass the ball well without their number one receiver last year and can outscore boring Big Ten opponents with an air attack, or you think the defense blows and they’ll win six games. I like Purdue here. I wish I was getting 6.5, but my feeling is that Vegas thinks they may pull away with this one, too. I’m taking Purdue. Purdue +3.
WEST VIRGINIA AT PITT (PITT -7)
Kickoff: 6:00 PM
Jack: Both teams are starting the season with the Backyard Brawl, a storied Big East rivalry everyone would always forget was on ESPN on a random Thursday in the fall. Then you’d turn on ESPN and think, “Oh wow – is that Pitt? Does Dave Wannstedt still coach there?” Did you forget Pitt won the ACC last season? I sure did. Did you have to look up which conference Pitt plays in? Me too. The Panthers lost basically all their weapons, including Kenny Pickett, who was…really good. Anyhow, this spread would be -21 if the Panthers still had any of the proven firepower. The Mountaineers are going to be bad. I’m talking stink-a-roo. Even Joe Manchin can’t be bothered to watch these games while he lounges on his houseboat instead of legislating. Give me Pitt in a rout. Pitt -7.
Nate: Pitt actually returns a very solid team despite losing Kenny Pickett to the cross-town rivals Steelers who may field a similar level of talent this year playing in the big leagues. Pitt rolls through the Mountaineers. Pitt -7.
John: Upset! Love me some T.J! Mountaineers +7
FRIDAY, SEPT. 2
VIRGINIA TECH AT OLD DOMINION (ODU +8.5)
Kickoff: 7:00 PM E
John: ODU in rebuild. They could go 1-10. VT -8.5
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