Dr. Jason Senkbeil is back! This time with NCAA Football 🏈
Who Is Dr. Senkbeil?
Dr. Senkbeil is a climatologist and meteorologist in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama. Having always loved sports, he is a College Football and College Basketball Superfan. In his spare time, he reads about sports analytics and statistical trends, sometimes finding common ground with weather forecasting. Dr. Senkbeil will be sharing the Parlay 15 games each week for the NCAA Football season. See his picks below!
15 NCAA Games To Look Out For This Week
Heres a little note from Dr. Senkbeil himself!
Hello Goodbookey users,
It is finally college football season so let’s try and find some lines that provide a chance for you to help your favorite charity. I will make a list of 15 college football lines that I like each week and a brief explanation for why I think those lines have better odds than your typical 50/50 guess. Even then, if we assume that the average confidence in a given line that I list is 65%, then 0.65^15 equals such incredibly low odds of getting every game correct that it never happens. For a given week, going 10-5 or better against the spread is good. Anybody that goes 70% or greater for an entire season is doing very well.
There is no science to this, but I am a data-driven, statistical guy. I love the stats at Football Outsiders and I will most often use Bill Connelly’s S&P data which is explained here.
Unfortunately there is no data in week one, and the only information I have to use is tendencies and data from previous years. Certain coaches play a distinct style that does not change much from year to year, while other programs have new coaches and new personnel. The new coaches and new personnel provide considerable uncertainty.
Picks against the spread are in bold.
- Buffalo at Minnesota -25
Prediction: Minnesota 41 – 7
New gophers coach P.J. Fleck is a high energy guy that wants to impress his new fanbase. Buffalo was awful last year statistically (127) out of 128 FBS teams. Their offense was especially putrid. How do they score on Minnesota?
- Wyoming +11.5 at Iowa
Prediction: Iowa 27 – 20
Craig Bohl has been slowly building a winner at Wyoming in the mold of his old NDSU FCS national champion teams. Iowa is always a decent fundamental team that can hang with anybody except elite talent. It will be Iowa’s Defense (15) against Wyoming QB Josh Allen’s offense (33). The flip side is Iowa’s offense (78) against Wyoming’s defense (96). Sounds close to me and the line is moving down.
- Akron at Penn State -30.5
Prediction: Penn State 51 – 14
Akron (96) OE and (108) DE travels to Happy Valley to take on a Penn State team (18) OE and (14) DE that was red hot last year. Sounds like a blowout unless Penn State rests in the second half because Pitt is next week.
- Missouri State +27.5 at Missouri
Prediction: Missouri 34 -14
Missouri’s normally stingy defense stunk last year (89), but their offense was decent (42). Missouri State plays in the best FCS conference, Missouri Valley, and played Kansas State and several ranked FCS teams last year. They won’t be shocked by the difference in athleticism and they can keep it under 27.5, especially against an in-state program where motivation is key.
- Youngstown State +15.5 at Pitt
Prediction: Pitt 38 Youngstown 28
Continuing with the FCS theme, Youngstown was the FCS runner-up last year. Pitt had an incredible offense last year but Matt Canada is now at LSU and several key players graduated. I think the penguins can frustrate Pitt and keep this close.
- South Carolina vs NC State -4.5
Prediction: NC State 20 – 10
The wolfpack have some hype and had a great defense last year (11) and should have beaten Clemson. They also have a tendency to lose a game they absolutely should not lose. South Carolina exceeded expectations with Muschamp, but their stats (107) OE and (50) DE suggest that scoring on the NC State D will be a problem. I like NC State to cover and this line is moving down. I like the under of 52.5 even more.
- UTEP at Oklahoma -43
Prediction: Oklahoma 63 – 17
OU already had the number 1 OE and now Lincoln Riley is the head coach. UTEP stunk last year and had a DE of (123). Sounds like 70 – 10 BUT OU has Ohio State next week. This game is ripe for a backdoor UTEP cover in the 4th quarter. Still picking OU.
- Temple +17.5 at Notre Dame
Prediction: Notre Dame 27 – 17
Notre Dame was 4-8 last year but it appeared to be a statistical anomaly since advanced metrics suggested they could have easily been 8-4. Matt Rhule left Temple but this has been a winning team for 3 years now. Temple was 10-4 last year with a DE of (16). Notre Dame wins but the Owls stay within 17.5.
- Eastern Washington +14 at Texas Tech
Prediction: Texas Tech 56- 49
Texas Tech has amazing offense (6) but until they get a defense (125) they will be involved in weekly shootouts that come down to who has fewer turnovers. EWU is an FCS powerhouse and offensive juggernaut that beat Washington State last year. The over is 87.5 and with that many points expected how does Tech pull away by 2 touchdowns?
- Northern Iowa +13 at Iowa State
Prediction: Iowa State 24 – 21
UNI is a strong Missouri Valley Conference FCS team. They have beaten Iowa State twice in the last 10 years. These guys get up for this game playing an FBS team that may have snubbed them in recruiting. Iowa State was decent on offense last year (48) but not on defense (95). I think UNI keeps this close.
- Central Arkansas +28.5 at Kansas State
Prediction: Kansas State 38 – 17
Central Arkansas lost to EWU last year in the FCS playoffs and beat FBS Arkansas State. Kansas State has a tendency to ease into the season, but Bill Snyder’s team is good this year. I say they get ahead and don’t do anything fancy in this one to save energy for later in the season. I also do not think they run up the score.
- Washington -27.5 at Rutgers
Prediction: Washington 48 – 10
Washington (15) OE and (8) DE lost some key personnel but is still a very good team. Rutgers (125 and 56) is not. Normally, I do not like teams that travel three time zones but this is a night kickoff. This line is creeping down and was in the 30s.
- BYU +16.5 vs LSU
Prediction: LSU 33 – 20
LSU should have a new and improved offense instead of just running over people every play. Their defense will always be good. BYU beat Portland State last week 20 – 6 but you have to think they were saving some strength for this game. LSU is somewhat of an unknown with new personnel but BYU will stack the box and force them to throw. LSU by 10 – 13 points sounds right but the line is creeping farther up.
- Montana State +33 at Washington State
Prediction: Washington State 52 – 28
Montana State is an average FCS team, but Washington State has been awful in season openers under Mike Leach losing to Portland State and EWU the last 2 seasons. I think this is a lopsided game but 33 points is a lot.
- FSU +7.5 vs Bama
Prediction: Bama 31 – 28
Bama and Saban have been dominant in season openers but that is usually due to superior talent with months of preparation. Jimbo knows Saban and FSU is one of only a few teams that will not operate with a serious talent deficiency against Bama. If Bama comes out strong and FSU starts slowly like they did last year in several games, then Bama covers this. For the sake of college football being interesting, I hope this is a good game and I think FSU challenges but loses.
- Also watching James Madison (defending FCS champ) at East Carolina. No line posted yet.
Big games with lines where my confidence is lower:
- Florida vs Michigan -4
Prediction: Michigan 23 – 16
Two teams with great defenses and mediocre offenses and almost all new starters. I will go with Harbaugh here. The under is 44.5 so don’t expect many points. I don’t think they will break 40.
- WVU +4 vs Virginia Tech
Prediction: Virginia Tech 30 – 27
Tech made huge strides under Justin Fuente in year 1 but has potential qb issues. WVU has a really good qb in Will Grier but has to replace many starters on D. These teams seem even so I will pick Tech to win but WVU to stay within. The over is 51.5.
Be sure to keep your eye out for our weekly blog with Dr. Senkbeil’s picks every Thursday. Challenge your college buddies and coworkers on your Alma Mater’s game and raise money for charity in the process! Don’t have the GoodBookey app? Download it below. Talk some smack and give back!