NCAA Football

Week One Gambling In College Football Lines: Picks And Passes

As New Jersey governor Chris Christie draws headlines for blustery rhetoric, I’m more intrigued by his defiance of a federal ban on sports gambling. New Jersey intended to institute sports betting in 2012 and was subsequently sued earlier this month by the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA.

As part of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, only four states allow wagers legally on professional and college athletics: Oregon, Montana, Delaware and Nevada. The lawsuit filed by the delegation of leagues cites a harm on the “reputations and goodwill” of cities, fans and teams. Basically, if sports betting is allowed in your state, you might suspect your team of shenanigans because well, Pete Rose. They also allude to “integrity” and “character,” somehow forgetting the other hypothetical triumvirate word, “purity,” in sports.

More than likely, courts will uphold the federal ban and if awkward phone conversations with a bookie aren’t your bag, then Vegas remains the occasional dalliance in sports betting. Should you find yourself enthralled by these activities, though, and a life on the run while hoping the muscle never catches up to you and your $1,600 debt excites, then stick around for a weekly glance at games where I dabble.

Week one in college football is always enjoyable from a betting perspective because of the sheer unknowns. You might love a quarterback returning and he starts slow. A defense with an influx of talent gets complacent at halftime and blows the cover late in the fourth. Then, you take it out on your dog and Sunday, you feel miserable. That said, here are a few matchups I’m following for college football lines:

Boise State at Michigan State (-7)

I’ve seen this line down to -6.5 in some places and if it gets there for me, I’m on it. Kellen Moore isn’t under center for the Broncos and I’m bullish on the Spartans’ chances at stealing the Big Ten in 2012. Chris Petersen-coached squads don’t normally get blown out but a team with six returning starters is in jeopardy of being worn out.

Southern Miss (+21) at Nebraska

New head coach, new quarterback for the Golden Eagles and I’m still taking them to cover in Lincoln. Ellis Johnson, formerly the defensive coordinator at South Carolina, makes Southern Miss a bit more stingy on defense and Rex Burkhead carries don’t immediately translate to 75-yard touchdowns. I like a grinding win for the ‘Huskers considering I never have any idea which Taylor Martinez shows up.

Staying away from:

Alabama (-14) v. Michigan (Arlington)

The Crimson Tide lost plenty on defense but it helps to replace with blue-chip recruits. Still, 14 points in a neutral site game where Denard Robinson is liable to stop throwing jump balls for the first time in college has me hesitant to get involved here.

Tennessee (-3.5) v. North Carolina State (Atlanta)

Does the transfer of Da’Rick Rogers impact Tyler Bray‘s performance? Is Mike Glennon ready to cash in on his NFL potential? Do you trust Tom O’Brien or Derek Dooley with your money? Yeah, me either.

Chris Hengst is a College Football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShootyHoops.