Here is your big page to bookmark for the 2019 season where I’ll give my predictions for every game, including my ATS Best Bets that have an incredible track record, having gone 58% in 2018 and 61% in 2017.
For the time being this thread will be using the preseason CSD Prime computer rankings.
Note: Because the CSD Prime model does not rate FCS teams, no score prediction will be made for FBS vs FCS games.
UCLA @ Cincinnati
Thursday, August 29th at 7 PM ET on ESPN
Vegas Line: Cincinnati -3.5
Clemson vs Georgia Tech in the ACC Network’s debut will highlight the prime time slot on Thursday but with a 30+ point spread in that one, you might want a game to flip to if things get out of hand, and I’d say this is your best bet. Chip Kelly, after being embarrassed in his college football debut last year, looking for revenge on the team that beat him.
Michael Warren will lead the way for the Bearcats after he racked up three touchdowns in last year’s meeting. QB Desmond Ridder also returns for the Bearcats from their best team in a while, but UCLA seems to be starting to put the pieces together. Word out of camp says that they look good, and with a brutal schedule they need every win they can get.
This game will be in Cincinnati, but this time UCLA will be more settled into the Chip Kelly system, QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and RB Joshua Kelley will have a year of starting experience under their belts and they’ll have a much better line in front of them. This will be tight, and I think it could be one of the first tight finishes of the year, but I sayUCLA pulls the upset on the road and beats Cincy in a tight one.
CSD Prime Pick: UCLA 31, Cincinnati 29
Wagner @ UConn
Thursday, August 29th at 7 PM ET on ESPN3
Albany @ Central Michigan
Thursday, August 29th at 7 PM ET on ESPN3
Pick: Central Michigan
Morgan State @ Bowling Green
Thursday, August 29th at 7 PM ET on ESPN3
Pick: Bowling Green
Robert Morris @ Buffalo
Thursday, August 29th at 7 PM ET on ESPN+
Central Arkansas @ Western Kentucky
Thursday, August 29th at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN+
Pick: Western Kentucky
Florida A&M @ #22 UCF
Thursday, August 29th at 7:30 PM ET on CBSSN
Gardner-Webb @ Charlotte
Thursday, August 29th at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN+
FIU @ Tulane
Thursday, August 29th at 8 PM ET on ESPN3
Vegas Line: Tulane -2
Tulane looks for revenge in a rematch of a 2017 meeting won by FIU. These teams are pretty evenly matched in this AAC vs C-USA showdown, but Tulane has the home-field advantage and I’ll side with them.
CSD Prime Pick: Tulane 28, FIU 23
With a line of just two, I’d also jump on Tulane against the spread. The Green Wave returns a bunch from last year’s team and add in an Oklahoma State transfer at wideout in Jalen McCleskey to help share the load with Justin McMillan’s returning receivers. Tulane also boasts a pass rush the caliber of which FIU will rarely face in C-USA play, and I think the Green Wave is just too talented to not cover the two points, especially at home.
☆Crazy Sports Dude Best Bet Alert☆ – Tulane -2
Alabama State @ UAB
Thursday, August 29th at 8 PM ET on ESPN+
Georgia Tech @ #3 Clemson
Thursday, August 29th at 8 PM ET on ACC Network
Vegas Line: Clemson -35.5
The spectacle of this game will be nice, you know ESPN will pull out all the stops for the debut of the new ACC Network, but this is the defending national champions at home against a team undergoing the historically brutal transition from a triple-option scheme to a more pro-style attack. The Tech defense goes under some changes too, but the line should be good, and of course, the Yellow Jackets have some great backs, but it will be a rough transition to head coach Geoff Collins’ new scheme, one that won’t be solved in one game.
Clemson is one of the most talented teams in the country with plenty returning from a national title-winning squat highlighted by the duo of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne in the backfield along with star Isaiah Simmons in the linebacking corps. This one won’t be particularly close, although I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a back door cover from Tech once Clemson rests their starters in preparation for Texas A&M.
CSD Prime Pick: Clemson 42, Georgia Tech 13
Texas State @ #11 Texas A&M
Thursday, August 29th at 8:30 PM ET on SEC Network
Vegas Line: Texas A&M -34.5
Speaking of Texas A&M, the Aggies also play Thursday night so that both them and Clemson will have a long week to prepare for their blockbuster clash in week two. I do like the Texas State defense, especially the linebacking corps and secondary, but I don’t expect them to be able to hang with Kellen Mond and the Aggies for long, and I don’t trust the Bobcat to begin with.
CSD Prime Pick: Texas A&M 44, Texas State 13
South Dakota State @ Minnesota
Thursday, August 29th at 9 PM ET on Fox Sports 1
Kent State @ Arizona State
Thursday, August 29th at 10 PM ET on Pac-12 Network
Vegas Line: Arizona State -24.5
If you haven’t seen Kent State play, you might want to check out their “FlashFast” offense they’ve rolled out under Sean Lewis. Because of that speedy offensive attack, I think there’s a good shot the Flashes punch Arizona State in the teeth early, but with one of the worst defenses in the country, don’t expect Kent State to hold on for long, especially against one of the best backs in the country in Eno Benjamin. Give me ASU big.
CSD Prime Pick: Arizona State 40, Kent State 17
Northern Colorado @ San Jose State
Thursday, August 29th at 10 PM ET
Pick: San Jose State
Utah @ BYU
Thursday, August 29th at 10:15 PM ET on ESPN
Vegas Line: Utah -4.5
The Holy War is probably my most anticipated matchup of the Thursday/Friday week one opener. Neither team is ranked in my computer model (although Utah is awfully close) but this is always a hotly contested rivalry that seems to produce great games, and I see this as a potential next in line.
BYU hasn’t beaten Utah since 2009, but with the home field edge and the added motivation of a tough schedule upcoming, I feel decent about their chances to pull off a win against a Utah team that has built up a ton of hype this offseason. The Cougars’ defense is solid, and QB Zach Wilson looked great towards the back end of last season. However, Wilson will be going up against a Utah defense that has a good shot of contending for best in the nation status on the backs of a terrific defensive line. QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss (both of whom were injured last year for this game) are difference makers on offense, and in a game that will be low scoring, I think they make one more play and pick up the win in what will be the game of the day.
CSD Prime Pick: Utah 25, BYU 21
Rice @ Army
Friday, August 30th at 6 PM ET on CBSSN
Vegas Line: Army -24.5
Army has a good shot to be one of the winningest teams in the country this year due to their cupcake schedule, and they start the year off with Rice, a team projected to be one of the worst in the country. Against a defense that really struggled last year, I think Army runs at will and picks up the win.
CSD Prime Pick: Army 36, Rice 18
However, Army plays at a very grindingly slow pace, and Rice also likes to slow the tempo down, so 24.5 points feels like a lot to ask Army to cover. Another factor is that generally teams have a week to prepare for Army’s unique play style, while Rice has had a whole offseason. With a passing game that is inconsistent but has potential, I think the Owls put up a few points against a rebuilding Army secondary, and safely cover the 24.5.
☆Crazy Sports Dude Best Bet Alert☆ – Rice +24.5
Wisconsin @ USF
Friday, August 30th at 7 PM ET on ESPN
Vegas Line: Wisconsin -12.5
I feel very low on Wisconsin this year, so a road game against a hungry G5 team was enticing to me at first, but looking into the numbers it was a lot less so. USF really struggled against the run last year, and with the names returning, I don’t expect it to get much better. That’s about the last problem you’d want to have against Wisconsin. The Badgers do have to rebuild the offensive line a little (although it still might be one of the best in the country) but they bring back the most prolific back in the country in Jonathan Taylor.
The USF offense is good, I like Blake Barnett, but the Wisconsin defense is great, and they’ll hold the Bulls’ offense in check while Taylor runs all over a defense that will struggle to make inexperienced Badger QB Jack Coan test himself. I’ll take Wisconsin.
CSD Prime Pick: Wisconsin 30, USF 21
Tulsa @ Michigan State
Friday, August 30th at 7 PM ET on Fox Sports 1
Vegas Line: Michigan State -22.5
There is a good chance that Michigan State will have the best defense in the country this year, and against a Tulsa offense that struggled to make big plays last season, I think this is a great candidate for the first FBS vs FBS shutout of the 2019 season. The big question will be how will the Michigan State offense look after an underwhelming 2018?
CSD Prime Pick: Michigan State 28, Tulsa 8
UMass @ Rutgers
Friday, August 30th at 7:15 PM ET on BTN
Vegas Line: Rutgers -14
Walt Bell takes over for UMass this year, and while I’m sure a win in his head coaching debut would do wonders, the talent gap between UMass and a Big Ten opponent, even Rutgers, is just too large. The Rutgers defense is pretty solid, and I don’t see anything on the UMass offense that could compete. I’ll take Rutgers big.
CSD Prime Pick: Rutgers 34, UMass 17
Utah State @ Wake Forest
Friday, August 30th at 8 PM ET on ACC Network
Vegas Line: Wake Forest -3.5
Utah State was great last year, but with a ton gone from the 2018 squad, including the head coach, knocking off an ACC foe on the road may be a tough task in week one. I don’t think it’s out of the question, but I love the Wake receiving corps and secondary, and while Utah State QB Jordan Love turns some heads, Wake will prevail.
CSD Prime Pick: Wake Forest 38, Utah State 33
Purdue @ Nevada
Friday, August 30th at 9:30 PM ET on CBSSN
Vegas Line: Purdue -9.5
Nevada went a sneaky 8-5 last season and they get a shot at hosting a Big Ten foe here to really break through onto the national radar. The primetime week one atmosphere will help, but Nevada’s QB situation is a mess and I think Purdue throws all over a secondary that is still in development. I’ll take Purdue
CSD Prime Pick: Purdue 39, Nevada 29
Colorado State vs. Colorado (Denver, CO)
Friday, August 30th at 10 PM ET on ESPN
Vegas Line: Colorado -12.5
The first neutral-site game of week one comes in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the annual game between Colorado and Colorado State. Since officially switching the host site to Denver in 2010, Colorado has gone 7-2 in the series, so while the Buffs have dominated for the most part, little brother has gotten a few shots in. As for this year, I just can’t see CSU hanging with Pac-12 talent, especially up front, and I think Laviska Shenault shows out in his return from injury en route to a UC win.
CSD Prime Pick: Colorado 37, Colorado State 27
Oklahoma State @ Oregon State
Friday, August 30th at 10:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1
Vegas Line: Oklahoma State -14.5
The nightcap on Friday sees the two “other OSUs” square off in what should be a high powered offensive affair. This will just be the third P5 vs P5 game of the season, and I think it will be a lot more competitive than some may think. Oregon State’s offense, led by a nice receiving corps and stud RB Jermar Jefferson will put up points on the Oklahoma State defense, and while I’m not confident enough to pick the upset, I think this one is close going into the fourth quarter before Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown pull away for an Oklahoma State W in what will be one of the highest-scoring games of week one.
CSD Prime Pick: Oklahoma State 46, Oregon State 33
#18 Miami vs. #8 Florida (Orlando, FL)
Saturday, August 24th at 7 PM ET on ESPN
Vegas Line: Florida -7
The college football season got an early start in 2016, with Hawai’i facing Cal in Australia. Then, in 2017 we got a small slate of games headlined by Stanford vs Rice and Colorado State vs Oregon State. In 2018, it was a similar tune, a small group with no real blockbusters, main evented by Hawai’i taking on Colorado State and Wyoming facing New Mexico State. This year will be different though. The TV execs have picked up on the bubbling trend, and this year they’ve decided to place a big neutral site game in primetime on ESPN, as Florida will take on Miami in a Sunshine State showdown between two teams that haven’t faced off in six years. Week zero is a real thing now. Pay attention.
The Manny Diaz era in Coral Gables could start off with a bang. Knock off a preseason top ten team fresh off of a dominant New Year’s Six bowl win, and you have Miami fans back on board after Mark Richt’s tenure ended with a disappointing flop of a 7-6 season. On the other hand, Dan Mullen has to prove that him leading Florida to ten wins and their best year since 2009 wasn’t a fluke and to do that he has to take care of business against a team that the Gators have only beaten once since 1985.
If Miami wins this game and becomes the sure thing favorite in the ACC Coastal, it will be because of their front seven, which returns pretty much everyone from an incredibly talented group including star linebacker Shaq Quarterman. The Miami pass rush also has the added benefit of going up against a rebuilding Florida offensive line that loses four starters from last year’s group. The way Florida has recruited the drop off shouldn’t be too stark, but playing your first college start in primetime against an excellent pass rush isn’t ideal, to say the least.
Florida’s defense was one of the best in the country as well last season, and I’m expecting a similar result in 2019, so don’t expect this to be a high scoring season opener that lights up the scoreboards, the Gators allowed just 22 points per game last season, and Miami allowed just 21.
When it comes down to it, both defenses will be great, but I have a lot more faith in Felipe Franks and Florida’s ground and pound run game than I do anything on the Miami offense, which is frankly still a massive question mark with the Hurricanes still deciding between three guys to start at the time of writing. While the holes on the UF offensive line are worrying, I think Florida wins a tight defensive battle and starts their march to a potential SEC East title run.
CSD Prime Pick: Florida 26, Miami 20
Arizona @ Hawai’i
Saturday, August 24th at 10:30 PM ET on CBSSN
Vegas Line: Arizona -11.5
If you want points, oh boy is this the game for you. Arizona’s Khalil Tate and Hawai’i’s Cole McDonald are two of the most exciting QBs in the country, and both teams will be desperate for a hot start, Arizona with a coach that hasn’t yet lived up to expectations (5-7 in year one), and Hawai’i looking to get out in front of what is a brutal schedule for a Mountain West team.
Hawai’i’s gameplan is going to be simple, let Cole McDonald (3,875 yards, 36 touchdowns in 2018) throw the ball and hope their defense breaks less than the other guy’s. John Ursua is gone, but the Rainbow Warriors bring back a pair of prolific receivers in Cedric Byrd and JoJo Ward along with their entire running back corps and offensive line. Hawai’i is going to put up points, but…
Arizona will too. Khalil Tate didn’t run the ball nearly as much last year, but he became a much better passer, and while I don’t have a ton of faith in Arizona’s corners in coverage (although the safety duo is great), I think that the Wildcats are able to get pressure on McDonald and force him to make a couple of mistakes.
JJ Taylor will be great in the run game behind an offensive line returning five starters, and I just think Arizona is an all-around more balanced team than Hawai’i. I trust their defense to make a couple of plays that I don’t think Hawai’i’s can, and I think the Wildcats win a close one.
CSD Prime Pick: Arizona 42, Hawai’i 35
In these types of shootouts where points will be flying, I always recommend taking the points when you get a big line like this, especially early in the season when a lot is unknown about these teams. I think there is a very good chance that Arizona not only fails to cover the 11.5 but loses the game outright after their poor start last year, so I’ll ride with Cole McDonald to cover as my first ATS Best Bet of 2019.
☆Crazy Sports Dude Best Bet Alert☆ – Hawai’i +11.5