Week One Best Rest Picks

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Syracuse +11.5 over Northwestern – Anyone remember when Syracuse was a force to be reckoned with? That would have been back in 2001 when they went 10-3. It’s been all down hill since with the last 3 years being downright pathetic. The GAp between them and the “good teams” has been huge. They weren’t even close in their Games against good teams last year and were hammered by the two Big 10 teams they faces, Illinois and Iowa. Northwestern was no prize either though. They were 6-6 and better than Syracuse, still losing to Illinois and Iowa, but coming closer then Syracuse did. So, yeah, Northwestern figures to be a little better than Cuse, but perhaps not 11.5 better. Their 6 wins a year ago were either against bad teams or were by narrow margins. Syracuse is in desperation mode which makes them a dangerous dog here. Northwestern simply not good enough to be laying big numbers with. We’ll look for Syracuse to be an improved team this year and keep this one close.

Memphis +7.5 over Mississippi – 5dimes.com was the first to post a line on this Game and they opened it up Ole Miss -10. Wow. Even at +7.5 there may be some value left with the dog. This Game has been decided by 2, 3, 4 and 7 the last 4 years. Both teams lost starting QB’s and both return a healthy number of starters from a year ago. So why the big number on a team that was 3-9 a year ago? Granted Ole Miss plays a much tougher Schedule and played some great teams close last year. But with new coach Houston Nutt coming in it may take some time to get things running smoothly. Which makes a nice setup for the dog here in a series that’s historically close as it is.

Western Michigan +14 over Nebraska – Historically speaking, you’d look at this one and figure, Nebraska against the MAC, no contest. They have played MAC teams 4 times and won by an average 30 points per Game. But last year Nebraska hosted Ball State and as -23 point favs came away with a narrow 41-40 win. Western Mich also hosted Ball St losing 27-23. Hmmmm….not much of a differeNCe eh? W Mich has their entire team intact from a year ago while Nebraska has plenty of new faces. This is no strong play, but give the Broncos a shot here to keep it close.

Tulsa -13.5 over UAB – There are two things we hate to do. LAy big numbers, and go with the public on a Game. Which is why this particular Game is on this sheet, and not Our key release sheet. But sometimes you’re left with little choice. UAB was simply a bad team the last couple of years. Matter of fact Tulsa had a season high day on offense a year ago when they met with Tulsa taking that one 38-30. The Tulsa offense remains intact this year with the exception of one key position…….QB. That could be a problem, particularly early in the year. Otherwise, this is one potent offense that scores buckets of points year after year. Can UAB keep up? Doubtful.

Louisiana Tech +8 over Mississippi State This one is the Game I see as a possible upset special of the day. The line opened at Miss State -9.5 and quickly dropped down to 8 as somebody is seeing what I see, but caught it much earlier. What I see here is an overrated MSU team vs. and underrated Bulldog team going toe-to-toe in a close hard-fought battle. LA Tech was 5-7 last year and hung with Hawaii and Boise State at home, obviously the league’s best team. Transfer QB, Taylor Bennett, from Georgia Tech steps in as a veteran play caller in a quick LA Tech offense that returns both RB’s and WR. O-Line is also has 3 returning starters. The LA Tech defense has improved since HC Dooley showed up improving in the last two seasons.

The Bulldogs of Missy State struggled on the road last year and were 8-5 with wins vs. GArdner Webb, Tulane, and UAB making up 3 of those 8. 15 starters return for the Bulldogs and I am sure their are high expectations. Without breaking it down any further, the basic premise is that they may be overlooking a sneaky LA Tech buNCh who may jump up and make it closer than they think.

This is one of those that a lot of players circle as a possible easy win for Missy State, and I did too ,until I dug deeper for some value. I bet that the line may jump back up before kick off but I would gladly take the 8 and be happy confident that this one won’t be decided until the Fourth quarter.
Mississippi State 21, Louisiana Tech 20.

New Mexico +7 over TCU – Last year TCU shut out New Mexico 37-0 but that Score really not indicative of the different between these two teams. A look at common opponents suggests that the talent level between these two much closer than that one Game. TCU in better shape with returning starters but REVENGE can be sweet in college football, especially when your a touchdown home dog.

Washington State +7 over Oklahoma State – I still can’t get last years epic collapse by Oklahoma State against Texas out of my mind. The Oklahoma State defense is, well, never very good. Of course Washing State nothing to write home about either. But with defense never being a priority for the Cowboys, it opens the door for covers which is why we’ll take a shot with the home dog here. Just a weak opinion though.

Minnesota -8 over Northern Illinois – 1-11 a year ago Minnesota takes on 2-10 a year ago Northern Illinois.  We mentioned defense in Our write up in the Game above this one, so how about Minny last year……..last in the nation!! We really have zero interferes in this one but will lean towards Minnesota simply based on strength of Conference alone. Hey, while they both lost almost every Game a year ago, Minny lost to better teams!!  : )

Pittsburgh -12.5 over Bowling Green – Man do we hate to be on the same side of lopsided public Games. The public is all over Pitt here and we’re going to join them. Going against the public is a good strategy but you can’t do it blindly. The public may be right 50% of the time. There’s a lot of winners in that 50%. Sometimes you just gotta join the party. This looks to be a do or die year for Wannstedt and the Panthers. Pitt looks like a team ready to make their move. They showed all the classic signs of being “on the verge” a year ago topped off with their win over West Virginia to end the year. Meanwhile Bowling Green was 8-5 but against a very weak Schedule and with losses such as a 47-14 loss to Miami Ohio sticking out like a sore thumb. The talent level looks to be huge here. If this is a break out year for Pitt, they win this one by 14+.

Florida -35 over Hawaii – No real interest here, but this one could get ugly. Sure Hawaii had a great season a year ago but their Schedule basically consisted of playing the little sisters of the poor each week. Can you say WEAK. They were exposed in their bowl Game when Georgia hammered them 41-10. Florida meanwhile, is always loaded and returns everyone from a year ago (Hawaii lost virtually everyone). Only the margin is in doubt here. A few years ago Hawaii opened up at home against USC and lost 63-17. For this Game they travel from Hawaii all the way across the country and down to Florida. Forgetaboutit. ROMP!

Michigan State +5 over Cal – Have to go with a competitive Michigan State team here. Both of these squads were 7-6 a year ago but they got to that mark in very different ways. Cal was ranked as high as #2 in the nation a year ago before they stumbled down the stretch losing 5 of 6 and capped off with a loss to Stanford. Meanwhile Mich State was competitive every time they took the field last year and against some damn good teams. With healthy buNCh of retuning starters at all the key positions, look for the Spartans to turn some of those close losses from a year ago into W’s this year. State can win this one straight up making the points well worth taking here.


Kentucky +3.5 over Louisville – Kentucky was on the losing end of this one for 4 straight years and 7 of the last 9 but finally broke through last year in a come from behind 40-34 win that really jump started the Wildcat season. Last years was a special one for Kentucky, likely not to be duplicated anytime soon. Gone are the stars that made last year special. But Louisville was simply terrible and sported a defense that couldn’t stop a pee wee team. The talent on these two teams is at best, equal. Some of that confideNCe from a year ago should spill over for Kentucky though. We see this as a toss up so we’ll bite and grab the points here.

Colorado State + 11 over Colorado – Why not. This series is always decided by a TD or less, isn’t it? Sure, Sonny LUbick is gone at State and he played an important role in those close Games and Colorado does look to be a team on the rise. But until it becomes blatantly obvious that there’s a wide GAp in talent here, we have to back the home dog in a historically close series.

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