College football Top 25 cheat sheet: Week 1

Sep 2, 2010 |
Pittsburgh Panthers at Utah Utes (-3, 48.5)

Why Pitt will cover: The Panthers ended their 2009 season covering five of their final final games.

Why Utah will cover: Playing on the road at night, Pittsburgh has a first-time starter at quarterback and returns just two starters on its offensive line.

Total: Both teams have strong running games, exhibiting 1,000-yard rushers, while both defenses are vulnerable.

San Jose State Spartans at Alabama Crimson Tide (-37, 51)

Why San Jose State will cover: Alabama might be looking ahead to next week when it hosts Penn State.

Why Alabama will cover: The Crimson Tide has covered six of its last nine games as a home favorite.

Total: San Jose State has had one of the worst offenses in the FBS, averaging 284 yards of total offense per game or less in each of the last two seasons.

Marshall Thunder Herd at Ohio State Buckeyes (-28.5, 46.5)

Why Marshall will cover: The run-oriented Buckeyes may put it in cruise control with Miami looming as their next opponent.

Why Ohio State will cover: Marshall has not covered five consecutive games against ranked opponents.

Total: The under is 8-2 in Marshall’s last 10 road games and 9-2-1 in Ohio State’s last 12 games overall.

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at Florida Gators (-35, 52)

Why Miami (Ohio) will cover: The Redhawks were just 1-11 SU last year but return 19 starters. They might not be as bad as the experts think.

Why Florida will cover: The Gators are 17-3 ATS under Urban Meyer when facing a FBS non-conference opponent.

Total: Miami (Ohio) averaged 45 pass attempts per game a year ago and Florida will likely also take to the air often, as it aims to be more pass-oriented.

Rice Owls vs. Texas Longhorns (-30.5, 58.5)

Why Rice will cover: The Owls were 2-10 last year, so there may be line value for a team returning 18 starters.

Why Texas will cover: The Longhorns are 10-5 ATS against non-BCS teams since 2005.

Total: These teams have averaged a combined 59 points in their last six meetings.

Oregon State Beavers vs. TCU Horned Frogs (-13.5, 50.5)

Why Oregon State will cover: The Beavers are 10-3 SU in their last 13 season openers.

Why TCU will cover: Playing in Dallas, this game will be nearly a home game for the Horned Frogs, where they are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 as a favorite.
Total: Both teams have averaged more than 30 points and 400 yards per game in each of their last two seasons.

Utah State Aggies at Oklahoma Sooners (-33.5, 57.5)

Why Utah State will cover: The Aggies are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall.

Why Oklahoma will cover: The confident Sooners are healthy and wanting to make a statement following last year’s injured-plagued, five-loss season.

Total: The offenses each return eight starters on units that both averaged more than 29 points and 425 yards per game in 2009.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-37.5, 51.5)

Why Western Kentucky will cover: The Hilltoppers return 18 starters from a team that went 6-5 ATS a year ago.

Why Nebraska will cover: In 2009, the Cornhuskers were 3-0 ATS versus Sun Belt teams, winning by an average of 43 points.

Total: Primarily, Nebraska’s defense has caused the team’s games to go under in 12 of its last 15 games.

New Mexico Lobos at Oregon Ducks (-34, 55)

Why New Mexico will cover: The Lobos are 25-17-1 ATS as home dogs since 2000.

Why Oregon will cover: New Mexico has a first-time starter at quarterback, playing in a hostile environment, where the Ducks are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 games as a home favorite.

Total: In New Mexico’s last four season openers, the average combined points have been less than 29.

Wisconsin Badgers at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (+20.5, 57.5)

Why Wisconsin will cover: The Badgers return all five starting offensive linemen and the team’s top six rushers from a year ago while UNLV allowed nearly six yards per rush in 2009.

Why UNLV will cover: The Rebels are 5-1 ATS against Wisconsin in the series’ last six games.

Total: The last four times these two teams played, a combined average of just 29 points was scored.

LSU Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (-6, 42.5)

Why LSU will cover: Besides North Carolina’s suspensions, coach Les Miles seems to usually have his Tigers ready for high-profile games.

Why North Carolina will cover: LSU returns only 10 starters and is 8-16-1 ATS the last two seasons.

Total: The over is 5-2 in North Carolina’s last seven non-conference games while LSU probably won’t be as good defensively as years past.

UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns at Georgia Bulldogs (-28.5, 52)

Why UL Lafayette will cover:
Kind-hearted coach Mark Richt has a reputation of not running up the score on any team, especially on a lesser opponent.

Why Georgia will cover: The Bulldogs have one of the best offensive lines and running games in the nation while the Ragin’ Cajuns have allowed 4.6 yards or more per rush the last three seasons.

The under is a combined 7-2-1 in each of these teams’ last five games.

Arkansas State Red Wolves at Auburn Tigers (-31, 58)

Why Arkansas State will cover: Against three top-notch opponents on the road since 2007 (Texas, Texas A&M, and Iowa), the Red Wolves easily covered all by an average of more than 24 points. 

Why Auburn will cover:
In the Tigers’ last 16 games when favored by 20-plus points, they are 11-5 ATS.

Total: In Arkansas State’s last 28 games, the under is 20-7-1.

Boise State Broncos vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (-2, 50)

Why Boise State will cover:
The Broncos return all but two starters from an undefeated team that has a bye next week.

Why Virginia Tech will cover:
Boise State has been susceptible to the run and the Hokies return two 1,200-yard rushers.

Total: Virginia Tech’s slow-it-down offensive pace caused the under to hit in five of its final seven games of 2009.

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