Hi all, my name is Levi, and I’m excited for the opportunity to give some sports gambling picks for The City: Off Campus this Fall.
I’m a pre-law senior here at the University of Iowa and spend a lot of free time either watching sports or researching potential action on sports that I’ll later watch. Nothing I say will persuade any of you to take these picks, but I’ll focus primarily on NFL spreads, totals, and props while mixing in some baseball and college football as well.
I’d like to think that after a few weeks, my record will speak for itself. In the very likely event that it doesn’t, fade me. We’re all just trying to make a little money, right? What better opportunity than Week 0 of the 2021 college football season. Let’s ride!
Hawaii v UCLA (-18). Aug. 28th, 2:30 PM CT, ESPN
Pick: Under 68 (-105 Draftkings)
In most cases, life is too short to bet the under. When the total is just shy of ten touchdowns, you have to think about it. In this case, you should take it.
The Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii return most of a defense that conceded just 14 points to Houston in the New Mexico Bowl last season. They held the Cougars’ offense to 307 total yards (100 fewer than season average) and snagged three interceptions in that game. On the flip side, QB Chevan Cordeiro struggled to complete pass attempts last season but made up for it with his feet.
The Bruins are led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson who appears ready to make a statement in the PAC-12 this year. UCLA will definitely put up points, but it’s hard to expect 43.5 against an experienced defense in its first real game action of the year. Look for Hawaii to slow tempo if they can get a couple of early stops and UCLA to rest starters in the fourth quarter of a blowout prior to a matchup with LSU next week.
UConn v Fresno State (-27.5). Aug. 28th, 1:00 PM CT, CBSSN
Pick: Fresno State -27.5 (-110 Draftkings)
This one is pretty simple. UConn was one of three FBS teams to not play a single game last season, and Fresno State returns 20 starters from a team that led the Mountain West in total offense.
Senior QB Jake Haener completed 65% of his passes for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in only six games last season, and the Bulldogs also return RB Ronnie Rivers who accounted for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns. UConn, on the other hand, has yet to establish who will take the majority of snaps. If only they had a year to figure it out. Fresno State shouldn’t have any trouble on Saturday.
NFL Future Picks
Corey Davis, WR New York Jets, OVER 4.5 TD’s (-115 Draftkings)
Before selecting QB Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in late April, the New York Jets GM Joe Douglas signed a big-body receiver that is fast enough to stretch the field and has the catch radius to haul in contested redzone passes. As a Titan last season, Davis finished with 984 yards and five scores as the second option behind A.J. Brown undoubtedly appears to be Wilson’s favorite target through two preseason games. With Wilson under center, Davis has seen a 55% target share, which should translate to more than enough TD opportunities. Rookie WR Elijah Moore is getting buzz for his big-play ability, but he and Wilson have yet to share the preseason field. If anything, Moore’s vertical prowess will require attention from safeties that could often leave Davis in single coverage.
Chris Jones, DE KC Chiefs, OVER 8 Sacks (-110 Draftkings)
Chris Jones has been the best defensive player in the NFL, not named Aaron Donald over the past two years. The thing is, his explicit role hasn’t been to rush the quarterback… until this year. Jones has primarily played as an inside D-tackle in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, but offseason acquisitions and young developmental projects have kicked Jones out to the edge. As a DT, Jones got to the quarterback 7.5 times last year, his lowest output since 2017 (15.5 in 2018, 9 in 2019). Given that teams will likely need to throw the ball to keep up with Patrick Mahomes, Jones should thrive as the weak side rusher on obvious passing downs. I can’t imagine lower pressure rates from Jones when his primary goal will be getting to the quarterback. This one could hit before the Chiefs bye in Week 12.