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NCAA Football: Betting locks for week 1 of college football

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We are here for you with rock solid locks for week 1 of college football

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll lead with the warning that gambling can wreck finances, ruins families and in most states is illegal.

Now with that out of the way, I’m here to make sure that you don’t ruin your families and finances (UStreet note: GopherNation does not care about illegality).

UStreet and I are going to offer up a sometimes-weekly post with our betting locks of the week.

My 2021 record: 1-0

It wasn’t published, but took Illinois to win straight up. For one, I really liked the +230 odds. Secondly, they won at Nebraska by 18 last year, putting up 41 points. I was unconvinced that Nebraska magically became good just because Coach Frost said they were better. Unsure how this win for the Illini was a surprise.

GopherNation’s Lock of the week

It should be noted that I am very particular about who I am placing bets on. At least until I win a few bets and then decide to make dumb bets and then lose my winnings. But here are the 3 locks for this week.

Illinois -5.5 over UT-San Antonio

So Illinois just beat Nebraska by 8 at home and they are only 5.5 favorites to beat the Road Runners at home? This one sticks out to me as very odd. But Vegas always knows something I do not. So let’s dive into the Road Runners a bit.

Last year they went 5-2 in Conference USA, 7-5 overall. They lost to a ranked BYU team on the road by only 7 points. And they lost their bowl game by 7 as well to the 19th ranked Louisiana Ragin Cajuns. They return their starting quarterback, starting RB (who was the CUSA’s leading rusher) and 3 offensive linemen who were 2nd team All-CUSA.

Projected to finish 2nd in CUSA West division.

Now, I’m not riding the Illini train after they beat Nebraska. I bet on Illinois to win outright last Saturday more because I have zero faith in Nebraska.

But I’m convinced that they’ll beat UTSA by a touchdown, maybe more. Their season will come crashing down eventually, but not this week.

Ohio +1.5 over Syracuse

Syracuse is quite possibly the worst team in the ACC and they picked the wrong year to graciously go on the road to face a MAC school. The Ohio Bobcats are at home and are the favorites to win the MAC East division.

The Orange finished 1-9 last year and it might be a situation where bringing most guys back maybe isn’t a good thing.

Ohio is going to be the only team in the state of Ohio to win this week*. :)

*that was clearly written before the Thursday Gophers game. Either I was spot on or it was obviously a joke.

Iowa -3.5 over Indiana

I really hate putting my money on Iowa, but this just screams let-down for Indiana. All of the hype after what was a really great 2020 season for the Hoosiers. Now they go to Kinnick, where dreams go to die.

The beauty of this bet is that it’s a bit of an emotional hedge. Should Indiana win, don’t care how much money I lost to see Iowa lose at home.

Bonus Season Futures

  • Minnesota over 7 wins - As long as really bad things don’t happen, I think 7 wins is the floor for the Gophers. Which gives you push and a very good chance at hitting this on. I see the Gophers as an 8-win team, maybe 9 if things go really well.
  • Iowa under 8.5 wins - 8 wins seems about right for the Hawkeyes. I see 2 very likely losses on their schedule. At Iowa State and at Wisconsin. Can we find 2 more losses in there? Home games against Indiana, Penn State and Minnesota are your most likely spots. In fact the Gopher game down there really might be the key game for both of these futures bets. Mostly I’m just unconvinced that Iowa is all that good this year and they easily could drop a game at Northwestern or even if Purdue puts together a game at Kinnick to steal one.

UStreet’s Lock of the week

So you’ve mortgaged your home on GopherNation’s pick and you want to hedge the best. Let me tell you that the best way to do that is to bet the opposite of the pick that I am sure to be wrong about.

Northwestern -7.5 over Michigan State.

Michigan State has 40 new players on the roster between this and last year, so they’re taking a page out of Gopher Basketball’s “Whatever let’s do an entirely new roster and see what happens” playbook. Conversely, the Wildcats have decided to play their greatest hit “Play a transfer quarterback who couldn’t hack it at original school.” That strategy worked out fabulously in in the past. Oh and it’s Week 1 with lots of brand new coordinators.

Truly I have no idea who wins this game, and by what score. Ideally we get another M00N shot where the winning team wins on a safety in the third overtime. Northwestern should be the better team, but the Cats lost a lot of production from last season. Sparty will have a lot of Sparty No! throughout the season, but how much will start this game? Having talked myself over the week into all possibilities from Northwestern wins by three scores to the game is cancelled because Darren Rovell shows up and both teams protest, I end up betting that Michigan State covers and separately that we all hate ourselves watching this game.

Trust in my wrongness and go the other way.