The Points Junkie: Always Bet the Over (College Football Week 1)

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Hi! My name is Pierce, and I’m a reformed degenerate gambler. Hi, Pierce

I say reformed because an average weekend used to involve me betting on every football game on the board. College, NFL, didn’t matter. Back then, it was all about the rush of every touchdown in every game mattering for me one way or another. I was a full-blown junkie. My goal wasn’t to make money but to win just enough to be able to bet the next week. I quickly learned, well, after a couple of years, that money plus time plus money equals heartache, not happiness. 

There’s a reason all those buildings out in Vegas are so big. THEY ARE NOT GAMBLERS, THEY ARE BUSINESS PEOPLE. I still feel like there is money to be made if you pick and choose your spots wisely. Don’t mistake me for a handicapper, but I have developed my own system for betting on any sport. POINTS, BABY!! No more spreads, just OVERS, which dilutes the game to only its very best parts. Every touchdown matters for me again, each one building toward the ultimate dream of a winning bet. Whether offensive, defensive, or special teams, I love touchdowns of all kinds. Who’s winning? Who cares? Just tell me the score is high and I’m good.

Picking against the spread eliminates half of the excitement from the jump. You’re limited to one team, GROSS. Instead of loving and respecting each touchdown, you sulk after some because you bet on the defense. BORING. Whereas, if you bet the over, you will not only be covered against ALL defensive brain farts (busted coverages, missed tackles, blown assignments), but you will also enjoy the moment when that same defense scoops and scores on a fumble. Whether it’s skill, ineptness, or luck, you win in every way!!

You know how in a sports bar when one team scores half the crowd goes nuts, then the other team scores and the other half goes nuts? I go nuts each time. That’s how genius my system is.

Each week, The Points Junkie will give out my favorite college football overs for FREE!! That last bit is the most important part. I don’t want y’all complaining about how bad my picks are or how terrible I am. Trust me, I’ve done this long enough to understand that I don’t know anything. For me, it’s a lot more fun to have a rooting interest in a game where you have no actual rooting interest. That is why I bet, to have fun, not to make money (kind of like going to a casino, I’m all about the thrill and feeling of it and somebody potentially mistaking me for the less handsome guy from Saved By the Bell). That is an important distinction everyone should understand as we enter this new “friendship.” My goal is to make a mundane game more interesting and to win at least 65% of the time.

Opening week is tough because we don’t have a baseline for how this year’s team is going to perform. This is even more difficult considering most of these teams only played conference schedules in 2020, were disrupted by COVID, and/or had their quarterback mauled by a grizzly bear. My first-week selections are based on a combination of last year and proven commodities. As the season progresses though, stats like red-zone efficiency, time of possession, total offense/defense, etc… and if you’re patient, you will see my system evolve from embryo to Tom Brady. Without further ado, here are my favorite OVERS for week 1 of the College Football season.

9/2: Bowling Green @ Tennessee (O/U 61)

A new head coach takes over on Rocky Top after the Vols went out and hired a proven offensive commodity in Josh Heupel. The last couple years at UCF, his offense was among the best in the nation in every statistical category, so there is no doubt that Tennessee will run lots of plays and score lots of points (most weeks at least). Bowling Green enters the season as the youngest team in the country, and even though this isn’t late 90’s Tennessee, opening the season in front of 100,000 screaming fans in Neyland won’t be an easy task. Due to their inexperience, I expect quite a few turnovers from the Falcons and multiple plays of over 40 yards from the Vols before the night is done. Plus, the total opened at 56.5, and I love line movement of three or more points on my totals. Tells me THEY CAN’T SET IT HIGH ENOUGH!! Tennessee wins big 51-17.

Pick: OVER 

9/4: Tulane @ Oklahoma (O/U 68.5) 

The game was relocated to Lincoln due to Hurricane Ida; however, they could play this game anywhere and the result would be the same. Spencer Rattler doesn’t just have the best name in college football, he is considered by most (not me though as I am a staunch supporter of Matt Corral) to be the best quarterback in the nation. You’d have to be living under a rock the last couple years to not know OU puts up points in bunches (43 per game in 2020 while racking up nearly 500 yards per contest), and I don’t expect anything less out of this year’s squad. Tulane comes to Norman after a crazy week for program, but they boast an offense that averaged 35 points per game in 2020. No one expects the Green Wave to win, but they should be able to muster a couple scores. OU wins going away 63-14.

Pick: OVER

9/4: Alabama vs. Miami (neutral site, ATL, O/U 61.5) 

Nick Saban doesn’t rebuild, he reloads. The defending National Champs are breaking in a new QB, but history tells me that Bryce Young will light up the scoreboard in Hotlanta. The Hurricanes return 91% (a number that leads the nation and includes senior QB D’Eriq King) of their total production from an offense that averaged 34 points a game. The defense also returns a boat load of starters, but that unit gave up over 400 yards a game (almost 6 yards a play). The Canes might be able to keep it close for a half, but can’t hold off the Tide, who scores at least one defensive touchdown, and rolls 52-24.

Pick: OVER

9/4: Fresno State @ Oregon (O/U 64)

Oregon enters the season as a favorite of many to win the Pac 12. QB Anthony Brown is a true dual threat, and he should make a giant leap in his second year in Joe Moorhead’s offense. Fresno State has one game under their belt after beating UCONN 45-0 last week, while rolling up over 500 yards of total offense in the process. While they won’t have that kind of success against a Duck defense that returns a lot of talent, a shootout appears to be brewing in this one. I think the Ducks will be caught looking ahead to their massive week two showdown with Ohio State, which should allow the Bulldogs to keep it closer than the experts think. Oregon wins 42-31.  

Pick: OVER

9/6: Ole Miss vs. Louisville (neutral site, ATL – O/U 75.5)

Lane Kiffin is in his second year at Ole Miss, and he has an offense that can put up points on anyone (#3 in total offense last year). Gunslinging QB Matt Corral led the nation in total offense last year, and he returns as a preseason Heisman dark horse. In 2020, 6 out of 10 Ole Miss games totaled 75 points or more, 5 went over 80 and 3 over 100 as the Rebel defense was among the worst in the nation in almost every statistical category. Louisville, like their opponent, averaged 200 yards a game on the ground and through the air last year. Couple that with an experienced QB and offensive line, and the Cardinals will have no problem moving the ball Monday night. This will be a back-and-forth game early with the Rebels pulling away in the fourth quarter to win 47-31.

Pick: OVER

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