Week 1 of the college football season is here, and there's no way we can bypass the betting board, especially off a 2-0 start. Here are my Week 1 picks. (Note: Check your favorite sportsbooks for updated lines, odds, etc.)
Florida @ Utah: under 45.5/46 points
As of this writing, it wasn't clear if Utah QB Cam Rising, coming off surgery for a torn ACL, was going to suit up against the Gators.
If Rising is ruled out, redshirt junior Bryson Barnes will get the start. The Utes will also be without TE Brant Kuithe. Therefore, I expect Utah to lean on their running game.
The Gators, inserting Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz at QB, will look to RBs Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne to get their offense going.
That said, expect Utah to put an emphasis on stopping the run, while forcing Mertz to make some poor decisions.
Betting on College Football Games
The total and line here have dropped in recent days -- all because of the uncertainty surrounding Rising. Either way, I expect a low-scoring game. And UF to stick around.
Miami (Ohio) @ UM: under 46 points & Miami of Ohio +17
This, to me, is one of the most interesting games on the Week 1 betting board. Unlike a lot of people, I'm not buying what Miami head coach Mario Cristobal is selling.
The 'Canes, who tend to struggle against 'lesser' opponents, were awful at home last year, and welcome in Texas A&M next week.
QB Tyler Van Dyke's health and poor defensive play, if not issues at the WR position, are additional concerns I have about Miami.
Miami vs Miami
The RedHawks, on the flip side, are no pushover. QB Brett Gabbert is back from injury, and has plenty of options on offense.
Miami of Ohio also returns seven defensive starters, including the entire front line, from a unit that led the MAC in points allowed last season. On offense, the Redhawks love to employ their power-run game. Something UM has struggled to stop in recent years.
Cristobal, not good in these spots, is 7-21-2 in his last 30 games against the spread. There's also the possibility of heavy rain falling over Hard Rock Stadium on Friday night. Beware!
Bienvenido a 'Miami': Can Redhawks QB Brett Gabbert, who had some strong words earlier this week for the Hurricanes, help Miami (of Ohio) pull off the road upset?
Toledo @ Illinois: Rockets +9.5
In prepping for this game, I noted Toledo actually had one more vote than Illinois, in the initial AP Top 25 poll released a few weeks ago. And that's telling, especially with the Rockets hitting the road with QB Dequan Finn, an explosive talent who ran for 631 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Toledo also returns RB Jacquez Stuart.
I look for the Rockets to control the game with their running game, while opening up opportunities for Finn against an average Illinois defense. This number is too good to pass up. Long live the MAC !!
Fernie Ruano, a South Florida-based multimedia specialist and copywriter with a concentration in sports betting analysis and Miami culture, has just about covered it all over the years. Follow him on Twitter at @bet_on305fernie.