Drew White | Staff Writer
Sept. 5, 2019
Welcome to your weekly picks center. This segment will go through each weekends’ slate of games, with a focus mainly on NCAA football and the NFL, and pick some projected winners along with some potential upsets to keep an eye on. Now, let’s pick some winners and watch some games.
College Football Picks:
Vanderbilt @ Purdue (-7), Saturday, 12 p.m.
Rondale Moore. That is all you need to know about this game. Moore is an electric player who will have the ball in his hands a lot for the Boilermakers; he will catch the ball out of the slot, run the ball a few times a game, and return punts and kicks. Expect him to have a big day against Vanderbilt, who played Georgia tougher than most thought it would last week, but still struggled to put points on the board. Purdue needs a win here, coming off a crushing late lost to Nevada on the road last week.
The pick: Purdue -7
Northern Illinois @ Utah (-21.5), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Big spreads like this are always dangerous, but this is one to keep an eye on. Utah has become a popular pick to win the Pac-12 and, for some, even to make the College Football Playoffs. They have a good defense and a bruising run game lead by Zack Moss, who racked up 187 rushing yards in the Utes’ win over BYU in last week’s rivalry game on the road. Northern Illinois comes into the contest at 1-0 with a 14-point win over FCS Illinois State. This isn’t the Huskies of five years ago, who were a Group of Five stalwart, anymore — expect Utah to bring it in their home opener and walk away with an easy win.
The pick: Utah -21.5
Eastern Michigan @ Kentucky (-14.5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Kentucky got off to a slow start against Toledo in Week One, but the ‘Cats were able to turn it on late in the game to pull away. I don’t expect that in this game. Kentucky will get out of the gate quickly at home, and won’t look back.
The pick: Kentucky -14.5
Cal @ Washington (-14), Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
If there were ever a thing called a sure thing, this would be it. Cal has been terrible the last few seasons and Washington has been one of the top teams in the Pac-12. The Huskies have a new quarterback in Jacob Eason, the former Georgia Bulldog starter, and he looked dynamic last week in their opener. He won’t slow down or regress this week and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him elevate his game to a new level.
The Pick: Washington -14
CFB Upset to Watch:
#21 Syracuse @ Maryland (-2.5), Saturday, 12 p.m.
This pick is an interesting one. Syracuse comes off a win against Liberty in which they shut out the Flames en route to a 24-0 victory away from home, and now they travel to College Park to take on Maryland, who blew out FCS Howard 79-0 last week. Syracuse, coming off one of its best seasons in program history, looks to keep up with its high expectations under sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito, who looked spotty at best last week. If the Orange are going to win this game, they need a big game out of him, and I expect him to have one as Syracuse tops an untested Maryland defense.
The pick: Syracuse +2.5
While the NFL season kicks off this week, there is only one game that really jumps off the page to me in regards to spreads this week:
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (-5), Sunday, 1 p.m.
The Browns were the most talked-about team of the offseason. Odell Beckham Jr. gives them a star at wide receiver, Baker Mayfield is already a star and I would expect him to have a season just a step below of what Patrick Mahomes did in his second season with the Chiefs last year. They have a good running game with Nick Chubb in the backfield and the defense should be even better this season. The Titans have a decent defense, but I don’t think Marcus Mariota and the rest of the offense will be able to keep up with the Browns in this one. Cleveland has a lot of hype surrounding them and they need to show what they can do. I don’t expect them to let their home fans down in this one.
The pick: Cleveland -5