College Football Best Bets: Top three picks for Thursday night (9/1), Parlay of the Day (+596)
The 2022 college football season officially begins in full this week after a fun Week 0 schedule. The games last weekend were a good appetizer, but Week 1 is when the real College Football Playoff race starts.
We have a full regular season to enjoy before we can begin to consider the National Championship. There are still some solid value bets available, despite the fact that this week’s lines have been fluctuating all summer.
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West Virginia vs. Pitt under 51.5
Pitt, the defending ACC champion, will debut a brand-new offense against West Virginia.
Kenny Pickett, a Heisman finalist, was lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in April’s draft. Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award, moved to the west and joined USC. And maybe most significantly, Mark Whipple brought his quick-paced attack to Nebraska.
Three running backs who combined for over 100 rushing attempts last season are back for the program. They will be supported by an offensive line that features all five of its starters from the previous year.
Contrary to the previous season, Pat Narduzzi has emphasized that this offensive will be a ground-and-pound attack that plays at a sluggish tempo.
One of the best defensive fronts in the nation can be found on the Panthers’ defense. When it came to stopping the run last year, the team was outstanding, allowing just 2.6 yards per attempt while being fifth nationally in terms of points per attempt.
Last season, West Virginia’s offense averaged 25 points per game, which was basically subpar. The Mountaineers’ success rate (58th), explosiveness (90th), and havoc rankings were in the center of the nation (89th).
All five starters from West Virginia’s offensive line, which finished worst in the Big 12 for sacks and running yards, are back this season. They won’t be able to run the ball against this Pittsburgh defense, and JT Daniels, the quarterback, won’t have time to look downfield while in the pocket. I predict a low-scoring contest with Pitt dominating time of possession as both offenses work off their rust.
Penn State spread (-3.5) vs. Purdue
Both Purdue and Penn State will be hoping that their veteran quarterbacks have saved their greatest seasons for last. Without an All-Big Ten wideout for 2021, Aidan O’Connell and Sean Clifford will each attempt to fill the void in production, but the Nittany Lions have more resources at their disposal.
With 64 receptions for 820 yards last season, Parker Washington rather subtly finished sixth in the Big Ten. Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Tinsley will be an equally effective weapon with 87 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Last season, both Penn State (108.0 yards per game) and Purdue (156.5 yards per game, last in the Big Ten) had trouble with the run game. Nick Singleton, a five-star prospect and the Gatorade National Player of the Year, will be joining the team. James Franklin and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich have underlined a desire to run the ball more this year.
The Nittany Lions’ defense, which was the foundation of the squad, cost them four draft picks. The defensive line’s pass rush isn’t anticipated to suffer with the return of P.J. Mustipher and Adisa Isaac.
The linebackers are a concern for new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, but without a ground attack, Purdue’s one-dimensional offense won’t put too much pressure on this bunch.
Defenses won’t be able to target Clifford since the Penn State run game now has a home run threat.
New Mexico vs. Minnesota under 53
New Mexico will take on Minnesota Thursday night, a team that is replacing almost the entire defense and returns with a Defensive TARP ranking of 123rd in the country. While it might not lead to points, the Aggies’ conservative approach should lead to more sustained drives as they go after Minnesota’s developmental issues.
On the other hand, Minnesota’s attack is among the least dynamic in football. The Gophers will target the Aggies with a platoon of rushing backs the entire game at a slow and deliberate pace.
Parlay of the Day (+596) via DraftKings Sportsbook: $15 to win $105
THIS ONE-HANDED CATCH BY PARKER WASHINGTON 🤯 pic.twitter.com/7qPlwwyDcX— ESPN (@espn) January 1, 2022
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