Our Very Non-Expert Picks for Pitt, Penn State, and Others - Week 1

We are absolutely not experts in the sports betting world.  We will admit to being novices who do it for fun.  We also always want to warn people to gamble responsibly.

However, if you want a little more to root for this weekend, and you're looking for two college football fans to tail who did some research for you, this is the article for you.

Brian Torchia

Pitt vs UMass: Pitt -37.5

I've sat through my fair share of Pitt Week 1 games against inferior opponents to know the type of letdown this program is capable of.  But once again my hopes are high and I suspect this season could start off on a different note than years' past.  

Pitt returns Kenny Pickett for what feels like his 7th season and this offense should be ready to roll with him at the helm.  I've discussed the turnover the defense is looking at this season, but they are well-equipped to fill in effectively for all of the players  lost to the NFL.  

Not to mention, Mark Whipple is the former UMass head coach... not once but twice.  You have to think he will have a little extra to prove as the offensive play caller in this one.  I wouldn't be surprised to watch him run up the score on a UMass program that is 1-15 in their last two seasons.  I'm sure it will be more of a sweat than it should be but the homer in me is looking at Pitt -37.5.

Northwestern vs Michigan State: Under 45.5

Lucky for us, Week 1 offers games almost every day this week.  So if you're looking for something to follow on your Friday night, there's a nice spot out there on the Worldwide Leader of Sports at 9 o'clock - Michigan State at Northwestern.  

Since Pat Fitzgerald took over at Northwestern, he has made defense the priority. That was very evident last season when their defense led the nation in nearly every defensive metric.  On the other side of the ball, Northwestern is returning the fewest percentage of players of any team in the country so this offense should struggle out of the gate.  

Meanwhile, Michigan State had an influx of transfers for this season, including two new quarterbacks and a new running back.  They have yet to pick a starting quarterback for the game tonight and I could see there being some major cohesion issues in their first live game action together against such a stout defense.  Look to the under at 45.5.  

Florida State vs Notre Dame: FSU +7

Lastly, it would be only be right to finish off this action-packed weekend with a play in the rare Sunday college football game.  #9 Notre Dame heads to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles in what should be an emotional game.  This will be the Seminoles first game since infamous, former head coach Bobby Bowden passed away earlier this year.  The team has planned many tributes to honor their beloved coach over the course of this season, especially in this season opener.  

Florida State has stumbled the past few seasons but this year they welcome in two new quarterbacks via the transfer portal, Wisconsin's Jack Coan and UCF's Mackenzie Milton.  Second year head coach Mike Norvell looks to have them right the ship of this once storied program.  What's a better way to do so than hosting a Top 10 team under the lights on ABC.  

Notre Dame has always been a college football juggernaut and even while losing several key players to the NFL draft, they will be well equipped to replace them with their continuous top recruiting classes.  It feels very uncomfortable to say but I like Florida State to keep this close.  The fans will be buzzing and emotions will be running high in what will be a huge game for the Seminoles.  Even typing this feels gross, but Florida State +7.  

Antonio Wolfe

Pitt vs UMass - Under 56

I will never lay 38 points, especially in the first game of the season.  I think when Pitt is leading by big in the 2nd half they will pull most of their starters, especially Kenny Pickett.  However, I still want to bet this game.  

Therefore, my pick is under 56.  UMass is terrible.  Last year they scored a total of 16 points in their four games played.  I don't trust their offense to make it passed the 50-yard line.  

So for any Over bettors, the points will need to come from when Pitt has the ball.  While I do think Pitt will come out of the gates firing on all cylinders against a weak UMass defense, I do think they'll pump the brakes to an extent in the second half.  Also, UMass does have the most talent in their secondary.  

Furthermore, Pitt blew out Austin Peay in their opener last season and only scored 55.  Albeit, they did shorten each quarter of the 2nd half, but the point remains.  I like the Under here.

Wisconsin vs Penn State - Over 50

Wisconsin and Penn State have both typically been known as defensive teams.  However, that changed last season for both of these Big Ten squads.

Penn State gave up 30+ points in each of their first five games last season.  They also gave up 24 and 21 in wins against Michigan State and Illinois to finish the season.  Their defense struggled mightily and they don't look to improve significantly on that side of the ball.  

Combine this with Wisconsin's quarterback Graham Mertz having one more year of experience and I think the Badgers put points on the board.  Plus Wisconsin is returning running back Jalen Berger who had the most yards per carry of any freshmen last season at 5.0.  Berger will be splitting carries with former 4-star recruit, Chez Mellusi, who transferred in from Clemson this season.

I also always see Penn State quarterbacks progressing under James Franklin.  While I don't think Sean Clifford will take a huge step forward, I don't see him taking a step back.  For all of these reasons, I like the Over here.

UCLA vs LSU - UCLA Moneyline

Maybe I am too hyped up over UCLA.  However, a lot of people were on Hawaii last week getting 18 points.  And UCLA wiped the floor with the Rainbow Warriors.  It was a blow out.  I had UCLA giving the points and I never even turned it on as it was a lock from the beginning.

I also love UCLA here at home coming off a big win against LSU who hasn't played a down yet.  Additionally, LSU is already coming off of a letdown 2020 season where they finished 5-5.  To make matters worse, head coach Ed Orgeron and the Tigers had to flee their campus to get away from Hurricane Ida.  

Despite Orgeron saying that Monday's practice was, "the best one they had all offseason", I like UCLA here in the Rose Bowl.  

Remember to enter our current Giveaway on Twitter in partnership to with Pittsburgh Clothing Company!  Details can be found here: https://www.goldlotpgh.com/p/giveaway-details.html?m=1