It seems like every opening week of the college football season, bettors get a handful of notable upsets. Those shockers can be gold sports bet picks if you have the proper insight.
With Week 1 inching closer and closer, we look at three potential upsets in the making and why the underdog might be worth a wager against the spread – or maybe even the moneyline.
James Madison at West Virginia
In the opening few weeks of the college football schedule, FCS teams – the subdivision – take a swing at the FBS schools. West Virginia will play its “tune-up” game against James Madison, which just so happens to be one of the top FCS programs in the country.
The Dukes come in to the FCS ranked No. 2 behind powerhouse North Dakota State. James Madison has a stingy defense that allowed only 14.6 points per game in 2018 and brings plenty of experience and talent to the table, with 12 of its 14 all-conference selections back for 2019.
The Mountaineers could be ripe for the picking. West Virginia lost head coach Dana Holgorsen to Houston and watched star quarterback Will Grier head to the pros, along with the departure of plenty of offensive standouts. Right now, WVU is s 5.5-point home favorite for Week 1.
Toledo Rockets at Kentucky
Toledo isn’t afraid of power conference programs. The Rockets have routinely run into name-brand schools and put up a good fight. This season is no different with Kentucky, Colorado State and BYU on the early schedule.
Toledo is projected to finish first in the MAC West and has a solid returner at QB in Eli Peters. He’s complemented by two sensational running backs in Byant Koback and Shakif Seymour, who will work behind a great run-blocking offensive line.
Kentucky lost it’s two top players from 2018 in defensive monster Josh Allen and running back Benny Snell, not to mention a slew of starters from last season’s squad. Without those key playmakers, the Wildcats could come up empty on both sides of the ball in key moments. Books have UK giving 12 points to Toledo after opening at -13.5.
Fresno State at USC
Southern Cal has been one of the more popular picks for Week 1, with the Trojans jumping from -9.5 to -13.5 for this opener versus Fresno State. While Southern Cal is a football factory it’s fallen off the pace in the Pac-12 in recent years and enters 2019 with a huge question mark at quarterback.
As for the Bulldogs, their coming off a 12-win season in which they knocked off UCLA and Arizona State – two Pac-12 teams. However, Fresno State did have some changes on the sideline staff and lost 13 starters from last season.
Fresno State does have a respectable defense and one of the better secondaries in the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs recorded 26 takeaways in 2018 and 19 of those were on interceptions. If USC’s four-man quarterback competition turns out some lame-duck throws, FSU will quickly turn those into points.