It's time for gambling picks every Wednesday. Get ready, you degenerates.
Derick E. Hingle
By Clay Travis
Okay, you degenerates, it's time for a third straight year of Outkick the Coverage gambling picks. In 2012, I was a remarkable 68% against the spread in my college football picks. Last season wasn't as good -- an amazing 50%, yep, exactly as good as a flip of the coin. But I've rebounded since last year's poor performance picking games, I was over 65% betting every NCAA tournament game. Plus, I picked the winner of the Bachelorette, the Miss USA pageant, and I told you all to buy Twitter and it's since up over 60% this year.
So, clearly, I'm back, baby!
If you're new to Outkick -- seriously, what have you been doing with your life while you pretend to work? -- every Wednesday I try to make you rich by putting together the greatest free college football picks in the history of the Internet. I could sell these picks and become a billionaire. But instead, like Robin Hood, I steal from the rich and give to the poor.
So here we go with week one. Catch the fever!
Texas A&M at South Carolina, the under 60
I know Kevin Sumlin is an offensive genius -- what were the odds on a Purdue linebacker becoming an offensive genius, btw, a billion to one? -- but do you remember what happened the last time he started a new quarterback in the SEC? The Aggies lost to Florida at home in an ugly offensive game. Everyone on both sides is going to be overhyped for this game and there are going to be a ton of miscues on offense. I know Texas A&M couldn't stop anyone last year, but South Carolina isn't going to be flawless, I see three turnovers or more from the Gamecocks, helping the young Aggie defense to keep this one close.
South Carolina will win, but it will be an ugly. Take the under!
Ole Miss -10 against Boise State
If Ole Miss is going to be the greatest team in the history of the state of Mississippi since integration -- the unofficial team motto this year -- then this is the kind of game you don't screw around with. I know Boise State has been a giant slayer in the past, but those teams didn't feature Bo Wallace and his Hercules hair -- unless Bo Wallace cut his hair -- I've only seen him wearing a helmet this offseason -- in which case run the other direction from this pick.
More seriously, remember how I said I thought the offenses would be awful in A&M at South Carolina? Well, here Ole Miss's offense is going to be unstoppable, a well-oiled Hugh Freeze juggernaut. Plus, and here's the underrated aspect to the game, Ole Miss's defense is going to be beastly this year. Look out, land sharks!
Ole Miss, big.
Penn State +2 against Central Florida
As part of my negotiated marital separation agreement with James Franklin -- presently sealed in the Nashville courthouse alongside my best employee of the month award from Cumulus radio -- I am compelled to pick the Nittany Lions to win all games that take place off American soil. It's sort of like the rule that no one criticizes the President while in a foreign country. Except in college football and associated with the gay marriage of a couple of Tennessee residents. You can see how complicated this all is.
What isn't complicated is taking the best quarterback on the field when his team is in the underdog role. Christian Hackenberg is the man your wife wishes she had married instead of you. Take the Nittany Lions and you'll have a gambling win in the books on Saturday before you even wake up from your drunken Friday night hangover. (By the way, some of you are reading this right now with a Wednesday morning hangover. Get with it. Who are you? Getting drunk on a Tuesday night like a damn sailor on shore leave in 1946. Get yourself together.)
In a battle of two of the dumbest fan bases in the history of college athletics, eventually someone's chromosomal abnormalities will come back to bite them. This time, it's West Virginia's. Nick Saban has already spent the entire offseason stewing over two straight losses as the favorite and then West Virginia's quarterback went and talked about how Saban's daughter was his first kiss. So what, they were six years old? Do you think this matters to Nick Saban? The guy will use anything for motiviation. By the time he's finished breaking down Clint Trickett's game film this youthful kiss is going to have turned into a torrid love affair that ended with Trickett leaving his grown daughter -- and their three children -- for a stripper named Chardonne'.
At the end of the game Saban's going to find Trickett on the field and scream, "Did you really think you could sleep with my daughter in my own bed and then leave her for a stripper from Reno?! Did you, did you?!"
Plus, let's be honest, do you know when the last time Nick Saban's team failed to cover three straight games was? That's a trick question, it's never happened.
(And please send Outkick your best photos of the fans at Alabama-West Virginia).
This is one of those times where you think to yourself -- "You know, Arkansas has been so bad Vegas must be undervaluing this team. Plus, Auburn is way overvalued given how dominant they were against the spread last season." And you start to bet on Arkansas, but then you think about how dumb you'll feel when Gus Malzahn, wearing his sweater vest and turtle neck combo despite the fact that it will be four billion degrees in Jordan-Hare Stadium on an August afternoon, does his swinging fist pump on Auburn's fourth touchdown of the first quarter.
Betting on Bret Bielema in the SEC right now is like betting on a married man with children to have sex on any given night. Sure, it's bound to happen eventually, but it's not likely.
Clemson at Georgia -7.5
There are only two lines more perfect than this one all week -- LSU vs. Wisconsin and Utah State at Tennessee. All three of these lines are just awful betting death traps. Because I know that as soon as I give you guys this pick Clemson is going to score a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining to cut the line to a seven point loss.
I just know it.
But then I also think, damn it, Todd Gurley is healthy. Assuming he doesn't tweak a toe in warm-ups -- seriously, his injury history is his kryptonite -- no one on earth is stopping a healthy Todd Gurley this season. He's like Neo from the Matrix once he learns he can dodge bullets. And while it's early in the season for Clemson to lose, this way it will sting less for Tiger fans.
Go Dawgs. (Insert grown men barking, which is the most ridiculous thing any grown man does anywhere in the country to cheer for his favorite team).
Oklahoma State +18 against Florida State
You ever bet on a game entirely based on the coach? That's what I'm doing here. Sure, Mike Gundy looks kind of like the grown up guy from your fraternity who used to sleep with ten girls every weekend and now sells used cars and has been divorced three times by the age of 40, but he's a pretty damn good coach. He'll have Oklahoma State ready for this one. By the way, is Mike Gundy the only coach in college football who spray tans? I think so. Working outdoors all day is not good enough for Mike Gundy, he demands more tan. As a result, he's perpetually orange.
Teams coming off national championships notoriously underperform against the spread the year after their titles. Here we've got a neutral site game that will feature a ton of orange-clad Pokes fans, you've got a fired up Oklahoma State team playing against a bunch of FSU players who have spent the entire offseason hearing how awesome they are. And you've got Jameis Winston a decent amount of miles from the coast. How will he do without access to plentiful seafood?
We just don't know.
I don't think Oklahoma State is going to win, but I do think that the one constant in college football is anarchy. As soon as we all believe anything -- and find me a single person who doesn't have FSU in their playoff this year -- something crazy happens. And that crazy is going to be Oklahoma State covering.
(If FSU covers this game, check my Twitter feed to see how many times FSU fans can call me gay for picking the other team to cover. It will astound you.)
Wisconsin +5 against LSU
Les Miles is 41-2 in non-conference games so I think the Tigers are going to win here. But all the value is on Wisconsin. Both teams have questions at quarterback and stellar running games. So expect a fast and brutal game that features more power running plays than you'll see anywhere else on Saturday.
Admittedly, this is a hedge of sorts for me because I bet on Wisconsin to win the title at 50-1. If the Badgers can get past this game, look out. They'll be favored in every game until they go on the road at Iowa.
My prediction: It's a tie game late in the fourth quarter and then LSU kicks a field goal with under two minutes to play to seal the victory.
I know, I know, LSU will probably win big and all of you will be staring angrily at your Twitter feeds looking at my picture and thinking, "Why the hell did I listen to Clay Travis when he told me to bet on a Big Ten team against an SEC team coached by Les Miles?"
And that thought won't be wrong.
But Wisconsin's the play here.
Okay, these are my eight picks. Like my grandmomma always told me, get rich or die trying.