The 2012 college football season officially kicked off with an appetizer of games on Thursday night, but now it is time for our top picks for this Saturday’s main course of matchups - including a look at the Crimson Tide taking on the Wolverines in their opener in Arlington, Texas.
Pick of the Week
The marquee matchup for Week 1 is No.8 Michigan vs. No.2 Alabama. This is a neutral site game at Cowboys Stadium and 5Dimes currently has the Crimson Tide favored by 14 points with the total set at 47. You know that both teams are going to bring their shutdown defense to this opening day showdown.
The key will be Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson’s ability to move the ball with both his arm and his feet against an Alabama defense that had to replace a number of players from last year’s squad. Michigan is 9-2-1 against the spread in its last 12 non-conference games and generates just enough offense to cover in this game as well.
The Pick: Alabama 17, Michigan 13
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Another neutral site game pits No.14 Clemson vs. No.25 Auburn at the Georgia Dome. This will be the third year in a row for this ACC/SEC clash with each team winning at home straight-up and Clemson winning both ATS.
This season the ACC’s Tigers are 3.5-point favorites with the total set at 55.5 at 5Dimes. This contest is just too close to call on the scoreboard but go big on the UNDER - the total has stayed UNDER in four of Clemson’s last five games against the SEC and in seven of Auburn’s last 10 games against the ACC.
The Pick: UNDER
The OddsShark NCAA Fotball Consensus
A couple of other games that the OddsShark Consensus is leaning heavily on are the Georgia Bulldogs over the MAC’s Buffalo Bulls as 38-point home favorites at 72.8 percent and the Troy Trojans over the UAB Blazers as 6-point road favorites at 72.3 percent.
The lone underdog on this week’s consensus picks has Iowa State covering as a 1.5-point home underdog against Tulsa. The consensus for this game is 66.2 percent.
Turning to the total line for the week, the consensus is also jumping on the OVER 54.5 for the Georgia vs. Buffalo game at 76.6 percent and the OVER 57 in the Nevada vs. California game at 75.8 percent. It also feels strongly that the Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech game that will wrap up Week 1 on Monday night in Blacksburg will stay UNDER the 48.5-point line.
Another game that is expected to stay UNDER is Saturday morning’s Notre Dame vs. Navy game in Dublin, Ireland. The total line for that matchup is set at 54.5.
The Best of the Rest
Another game to keep an eye on this Saturday is Penn State hosting the MAC’s Ohio Bobcats as a 6.5-point favorite at 5Dimes. This game opened with the Lions favored by 10.5 points.
Marshall and No.11 West Virginia renew their in-state rivalry with the Mountaineers favored by 25.5 points at home at 5Dimes in their first game as a member of the Big 12. Our final game of interest is another in-state battle that has the Mountain West’s Colorado State Rams visiting the Pac-12 Colorado Buffaloes as 6.5-point underdogs at 5Dimes.