TEMPLE at RUTGERS
Owls just 2-5 vs. line in 2020 and 2-5 vs. spread last seven away from home. Greg Schiano improved Scarlet Knights to 5-4 vs. line a season ago after 4-8 mark in 2019. Still rare chalk for Rutgers, 0-1 in role a year ago and just 4-3 since 2016. Tech edge: Slight to Rutgers, based on team trends.
BOISE STATE at UCF
Andy Avalos debuts at Boise, Gus Malzahn at UCF. Josh Heupel closed his UCF run with covers in only four of last 14 games, and Golden Knights went 1-6 last seven as Orlando chalk. Malzahn teams 12-18-1 vs. spread as home chalk since 2015 at Auburn, though did improve to 6-2 in role last two years. Boise 5-2 in rare road dog role since 2017. Tech edge: Boise State, based on team trends.
EAST CAROLINA vs. APPALACHIAN STATE
Pirates respectable 9-5 as dogs since early 2019 for Mike Houston, who has covered 11 of last 17 on board. App State just 2-7-1 as regular-season chalk last year before beating North Texas in bowl game. Mounties have failed to cover last four as regular-season chalk vs. FBS foes. Game in Charlotte. Tech edge: East Carolina, based on recent trends.
SOUTH FLORIDA at NC STATE
Rough go last year for USF, just 1-8 SU with win in opener vs. Citadel, though did post 4-4-1 spread mark in Jeff Scott’s debut. Bulls on 15-23-1 spread skid since late 2017. NC State recovered to 8-4 spread mark for Dave Doeren last year after poor 2-8-1 in 2019. Also 4-1 vs. spread at Raleigh last year. Tech edge: NC State, based on team trends.
BOWLING GREEN at TENNESSEE
Josh Heupel debuts at Tennessee. BGSU awful 4-13 vs. line last two seasons and 0-9 vs. line away. Heupel only 4-10 last 14 vs. line at UCF, and Vols enter on 3-8 spread skid. Tech edge: Tennessee, based on team trends.
OHIO STATE at MINNESOTA
Buckeyes 6-1 vs. line as Big Ten visitors since 2019 for Ryan Day. Perhaps worth noting that Urban Meyer didn’t cover in three chances vs. Gophers, with last meeting in 2018. P.J. Fleck covered last three and four of last five after slow start in 2020 and was 4-1 vs. spread as Big Ten host in last full season of 2019. Tech edge: Slight to Ohio State, based on team trends.
NORTH CAROLINA at VIRGINIA TECH
Mack Brown has won and covered his openers the last two seasons with Tar Heels, though only 2-3 as ACC road chalk last season. Road team has covered last three in series. Virginia Tech on 13-20 spread skid since mid-2018. Justin Fuente was 0-2 last season as dog but 4-0 in role in 2019. Tech edge: Slight to North Carolina, based on team and series trends.
OLD DOMINION at WAKE FOREST
Ricky Rahne debuts as Old Dominion coach. Monarchs play for first time since 2019. When last seen ODU was 1-11 SU and 4-8 vs. line for Bobby Wilder in 2019. Monarchs 9-17 last 26 on board since mid-2018. Wake 4-0 vs. line at home last season and has covered last seven and nine of last 10 at Winston-Salem. Tech edge: Wake Forest, based on team trends.
DUKE at CHARLOTTE
Duke got Charlotte 53-19 in one of Blue Devils’ few wins and covers last season. David Cutcliffe only 8-13-2 vs. line since 2019. But Cutcliffe has covered 11-1 in last 12 vs. non-ACC, BCS-level foes. Charlotte dropped last three vs. spread in 2020 and went 1-3 vs. line last four vs. Power 5 foes. Tech edge: Duke, based on team trends.
MICHIGAN STATE at NORTHWESTERN
Mel Tucker’s teams at Colorado and MSU are 6-11 in their last 17 on board since early 2019, though Tucker did upset NU last season. Spartans are 3-12 last 15 vs. spread in regular season dating to Mark Dantonio in 2019. Pat Fitzgerald recovered to 7-2 SU and 8-1 vs. line a year ago, and Wildcats unbeaten last seven vs. line (5-0-2) in Evanston. Tech edge: Northwestern, based on team trends.
WESTERN MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN
Jim Harbaugh enters 2021 on 1-7 spread skid, also 2-9 vs. points last 11 vs. non-Big Ten foes. Harbaugh 1-6 last seven laying 20 or more, though just before that stretch he beat WMU 49-3 in 2019. Broncos no covers last six vs. Power 5 foes. Tech edge: Slight to Western Michigan, based on team trends.
ARMY at GEORGIA STATE
GSU closed last season fast with wins and covers in last four en route to 7-3 spread mark. Panthers 6-3 vs. line last nine as hosts, including 28-21 win vs. Army in 2019 at Atlanta. Army just 1-4 vs. spread last 5 as visitor. Tech edge: Slight to Georgia State, based on team trends.
STANFORD vs. KANSAS STATE
David Shaw was on 3-13 spread skid before winning and covering last three a year ago. Cardinal 3-8 vs. line last 11 away from home. K-State didn’t win outright in last five games a season ago, but Chris Klieman is 15-8 vs. spread the last two seasons. Wildcats 5-2 vs. spread last seven away from Manhattan in regular season. Game in Arlington, Texas. Tech edge: Kansas State, based on team trends.
LOUISIANA-MONROE at KENTUCKY
Terry Bowden’s debut at ULM. Warhawks finished Matt Viator era on 7-17 spread skid and were 0-10 SU in 2020. ULM 1-5 vs. line last six vs. non-Sun Belt FBS foes. Bowden only 10-12 as double-digit dog his last four years at Akron (2015-18). After 0-9 home chalk mark in 2018-19, Wildcats are 6-4 vs. line in role since. UK had also covered five straight vs. non-SEC foes before 23-21 Gator Bowl win vs. NC State on Jan. 2. Tech edge: Kentucky, based on ULM woes.
OKLAHOMA at TULANE
Willie Fritz enters 2021 on 17-9 spread uptick with Green Wave, also 10-1 vs. spread last 11 as host. Sooners did cover last five away from Norman last year, though OU had dropped last seven vs. line away from home in 2019. Due to effects of Hurricane Ida, game is moving to Norman. Tech edge: Slight to Tulane, based on team trends.
PENN STATE at WISCONSIN
Tale of two seasons for Nittany Lions last year. James Franklin 0-5 SU and vs. line first five before winning and covering final four. Franklin has covered eight of last 11 away from Happy Valley and was 7-2 last nine as dog entering 2020, when 0-2 in role. Badgers enter 2021 just 1-4 vs. spread last five at Madison, and Paul Chryst just 12-15 vs. points last 27 on board. Tech edge: Penn State, based on team trends.
RICE at ARKANSAS
Old Southwest Conference rivalry. Mike Bloomgren has covered six of last eight with Rice since late 2019 and has covered four of last five as dog. After covering first six a year ago, Arkansas was 0-4 SU and 1-3 vs. line down stretch. Hogs were never favored last season, 1-3 in role in 2019. Tech edge: Rice, based on team trends.
FRESNO STATE at OREGON
FSU faded late last season, including inexplicable loss to New Mexico in Kalen DeBoer’s debut season, ending 3-3 SU and vs. line. Opened this season with romp past UConn. Jeff Tedford was 2-8 vs. line down stretch in 2019 with Bulldogs, though did cover all four chances vs. Pac-12. DeBoer 1-1 as dog a year ago. Ducks only 1-4 vs. line down stretch a year ago, coming as win over USC in Pac-12 title game, and just 4-6 vs. spread last 10 at Autzen Stadium. Tech edge: Fresno State, based on extended trends.
WEST VIRGINIA at MARYLAND
These regional neighbors played annually through 2015 but not since. Mike Locksley just 3-12 SU and 5-10 vs. line with Terps since early 2019, 2-4 vs. line last six at College Park. Mounties 7-4 vs. spread last 11 regular-season games. Tech edge: West Virginia, based on Maryland negatives.
INDIANA at IOWA
Hoosiers covered all seven regular-season games in 2020 before losing bowl game to Ole Miss. Tom Allen on 17-7 spread run, also 8-2 last 10 as dog. Kirk Ferentz 17-9-1 vs. spread at Iowa City since mid-2016. Hawkeyes also 4-1 vs. line last five openers. Tech edge: Slight to Indiana, based on team trends.
MIAMI (OHIO) at CINCINNATI
The oldest nonconference rivalry resumes. Bearcats have won last 14 SU and covered in 10 of those. Luke Fickell 15-9 vs. line last two seasons, though just 10-8 as chalk. RedHawks 1-11 vs. line last 12 regular season vs. non-MAC. Tech edge: Cincinnati, based on team and series trends.
MARSHALL at NAVY
Charles Huff debuts as Herd’s coach. Marshall faded after fast start for Doc Holliday last season, dropping last three SU after winning first seven outright, also 1-5 last six vs. line in 2020. Mids tailed off a season ago but were 10-3 vs. line as recently as 2019 and still 8-4 last 12 vs. spread at Annapolis. Tech edge: Slight to Navy, based on extended trends.
ALABAMA vs. MIAMI (FLA.)
Before 2020, Alabama had covered 12 of 13 openers, winning all outright, many at neutral sites like this in Atlanta. Tide 9-4 vs. line last 13 vs. non-SEC foes. Manny Diaz only 5-9 last 14 vs. spread with Hurricanes. Tech edge: Alabama, based on team trends.
UMASS at PITTSBURGH
UMass managed pair of covers for Walt Bell in four-game slate last year, though still not closer than 22 in any game, with average losing margin of 38 ppg. Minutemen 2-9-1 vs. spread in 2019, 0-5-1 away. Pitt just 1-4 laying double digits since 2019 but 4-1 last five vs. line in regular season vs. non-ACC foes. Tech edge: Pittsburgh, based on UMass negatives.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN at MISSOURI
Jim McElwain has covered seven of last nine on road in regular season, also 7-4 last 11 as dog with Chippewas. McElwain 16-6 overall vs. spread with CMU since 2019. Mizzou failed to cover last three in very disjointed 2020 (seven postponements). But went 4-1 vs. spread at Columbia in Eli Drinkwitz’s debut season. Tech edge: Slight to Central Michigan, based on team trends.
LOUISIANA TECH at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Note Mike Leach’s second year at Washington State in 2013, when Cougars posted 9-4 spread mark. Now Leach in second year at MSU after covering four of last five down stretch a year ago. But Bulldogs only 1-2 as chalk in 2020 after Leach was 3-6 laying points in 2019 with WSU. Leach now 9-17 last 26 vs. spread. Skip Holtz just 2-4 as dog last year but was 19-8 in role previous six seasons. Tech edge: Louisiana Tech, based on team trends.
LOUISIANA at TEXAS
Steve Sarkisian debuts as coach for Longhorns. Ragin’ Cajuns have covered seven straight in regular season vs. non-Sun Belt foes. Billy Napier 9-4-1 as dog since 2018. Under Tom Herman, Texas was 3-7-1 in last 11 as Austin chalk and 2-8-1 last 11 overall as host. Tech edge: Louisiana, based on team trends.
SAN JOSE STATE at USC
Spartans were 5-0-1 vs. line before bowl loss last season, and after Week 0 win over Southern Utah now 15-5-1 vs. spread for Brent Brennan since late 2018. SJSU has also covered last eight as dog and covered last three vs. Power 5 foes. Trojans just 8-14 last 22 as chalk. Tech edge: San Jose State, based on team trends.
OREGON STATE at PURDUE
First trip to Purdue for Beavers since 1967, when they shocked No. 2 Boilermakers 22-14. OSU 12-4 last 16 as dog for Jonathan Smith, 13-6 overall vs. spread since 2019. Purdue dropped last five vs. spread last season, and Jeff Brohm 1-8 last nine as Ross-Ade chalk. Tech edge: Oregon State, based on team trends.
TEXAS TECH vs. HOUSTON
Dana Holgorsen just 7-13 SU, 9-11 vs. line with Houston since 2019, also dropped last five as dog. Red Raiders, however, just 3-7 last 10 vs. line away from Lubbock. Tech edge: Slight to Texas Tech, based on team trends.
BAYLOR at TEXAS STATE
Baylor only 2-7 SU and 3-5-1 vs. line for Dave Aranda in his difficult debut season, when Bears went 1-2 as chalk. Under Matt Rhule, they were 3-0-1 vs. line in last four road games in 2019, never favored in that span. TSU has displayed a bit of spark lately vs. line, going 9-5 last 14 since late in 2019 for Jake Spavital. Tech edge: Slight to Texas State, based on recent trends.
SYRACUSE at OHIO
Dino Babers actually covered six of 11 last season, though Orange just 1-10 SU and 0-5 SU away, all losses by double digits. Ohio played only three games in 2020, though Bobcats have covered only one of last eight in Athens. But Ohio is 17-5 SU at Peden Stadium since 2018 and 7-3 vs. line last 10 against non-MAC BCS opposition. Tech edge: Ohio, based on team trends.
AKRON at AUBURN
Bryan Harsin debuts as Auburn coach. Zips 3-16 vs. spread since 2019 for Tom Arth. Under Gus Malzahn, Auburn was 12-18-1 as home chalk from 2015-20 but 6-2 in role last two seasons. Harsin did cover last seven as chalk with Boise State after struggling previously in role. Tech edge: Auburn, based on team trends.
UTSA at ILLINOIS
Bret Bielema’s Illini beat Nebraska in Week 0 opener. Roadrunners were improved for Jeff Traylor last year and were 4-2 vs. line away as well as 5-2 as dogs. UTSA 10-3 last 13 as dog since mid-2019, also 12-6 last 18 on board since mid-2019. Rare game vs. Power 5 foe lately (1-0 in role last year, counting BYU). Illini never favored last season, were 4-4 last eight as chalk in Lovie Smith era. Tech edge: UTSA, based on team trends.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC at FLORIDA
Before last season, Gators were 7-1 vs. line in regular-season play against non-SEC foes during 2018-19 with Dan Mullen. Mullen was 8-2 laying double digits those years, though 3-4-1 in role last season. Jerry Taggart’s FAU team failed to cover last four games a year ago in his maiden run with Owls, and Taggart teams at FSU and FAU are 11-19 vs. line since 2018. Tech edge: Florida, based on team trends.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS at GEORGIA TECH
NIU was 0-6 SU a year ago and now 5-13 SU for Thomas Hammock, though Huskies did cover two of three away in truncated 2020 MAC slate. NIU is 4-2 as a double-digit dog since Hammock took over in 2019. Geoff Collins only 7-13-1 vs. line with Tech the last two seasons and 0-3 in rare chalk role. Also 4-9 vs. points in Atlanta and 0-5 vs. line against non-ACC. Tech edge: Northern Illinois, based on team trends.
GEORGIA vs. CLEMSON
Dabo Swinney not especially great in openers (3-4 vs. line last seven), though is 15-4 vs. line in ACC title, playoff and bowl games since 2012, and this seems near that level. Swinney 32-19-1 as chalk since 2017. After 6-1 spread mark away from Athens in 2019, Georgia 2-4 in role a year ago. In rare dog roles, Bulldogs 0-2 last two seasons but had been 3-0 getting points in 2017-18. Game in Charlotte, N.C. Tech edge: Clemson, based on team trends.
SOUTHERN MISS at SOUTH ALABAMA
Will Hall’s debut at Southern Miss, Kane Wommack’s at South Alabama. This is the game that preceded Jay Hopson’s abrupt resignation at USM last September. Golden Eagles closed with three spread covers in row at end of 2020 after dropping six of first seven vs. line (and 1-9 spread skid since late 2019). USA covered only one of last six in 2020 preceding Steve Campbell’s ouster. Tech edge: Slight to Southern Miss, based on recent trends.
KENT STATE at TEXAS A&M
Jimbo Fisher was just 1-4 laying double digits in regular season a year ago after 4-2 mark in role before 2019. But he is 12-4 as Kyle Field chalk since 2018. Golden Flashes are 11-6 vs. spread their last 17 for Sean Lewis and 8-3 last 11 as dogs. Kent State 3-2 vs. spread vs. Power 5 for Lewis. Tech edge: Slight to A&M, based on team trends.
LSU at UCLA
Before romp past Hawaii in Week 0, Chip Kelly entered 2021 just 18-44 SU and 25-37 vs. the line since 2015 in NFL (Eagles and 49ers) and college (UCLA). Before beating Hawaii, Bruins were 0-6 SU vs. non-Pac 12 foes under Kelly. Bruins were 3-1 as dogs in abbreviated 2017 slate but 3-7 previous 10 getting points. LSU closed 2020 covering four of last five after bumpy start. Tigers covered seven of eight away from Baton Rouge in dreamy 2019, but careful not to factor that too much into present. Tech edge: Slight to LSU, based on team trends.
BYU at ARIZONA
Jedd Fisch debuts for Arizona. BYU covered eight of 11 last season with Zach Wilson at controls, though remember Kalani Sitake was in a bit of hot water entering last season and was just 4-9 vs. points in 2019. Wildcats really faded last year under Kevin Sumlin, 0-5 SU in abbreviated Pac-12 slate and no covers last four. UA enters 2021 on 2-10 spread skid. Game in Las Vegas. Tech edge: BYU, based on team trends.
NEVADA at CALIFORNIA
Wolf Pack 5-1 last six as dogs since late in 2019 season for Jay Norvell, also 9-5 overall last 14 on board. Nevada 4-2 vs. spread last six vs. non-Mountain West foes. Cal had disrupted 2020 but managed covers in two of four games. Bears were just 1-5 vs. spread in Berkeley in 2019 and just 2-4 as chalk, now 2-6 last eight laying points. Tech edge: Nevada, based on team trends.
NEW MEXICO STATE at SAN DIEGO STATE
Counting Week 0 loss to UTEP, New Mexico State now 8-17 vs. spread since rousing win in 2017 Arizona Bowl and 2-11 last 13 as double-digit dog. Aztecs were 3-1 SU and vs. line last season in temporary home in Carson, Calif., 4-2 as chalk for Brady Hoke in his second stint at SDSU. Tech edge: San Diego State, based on team trends.
UTAH STATE at WASHINGTON STATE
Blake Anderson debuts for Utah State. Things really unraveled for Utags last year after Gary Andersen’s dismissal, just 1-5 SU and vs. line. They enter 2021 on 5-11 spread skid, also 2-8 last 10 as dogs. Anderson’s Arkansas State teams 6-6 vs. line away the last two seasons, though 5-3 as dogs. Awkward debut for Nick Rolovich last year at Wazzu — 1-3 SU and vs. line in truncated slate, Cougars lost and failed to cover last three. Since late 2018 and end of Mike Leach era, WSU is 5-14 vs. spread. Tech edge: Slight to Utah State, based on team trends.
NOTRE DAME at FLORIDA STATE
Irish are 8-3 vs. spread away from South Bend the last two seasons, 2-0 SU vs. FSU and 1-1 vs. line against Seminoles last two seasons. FSU enters 2021 on 3-9 spread skid and has failed to cover last four openers. Tech edge: Notre Dame, based on team trends.
LOUISVILLE vs. OLE MISS
Cardinals backslid last season (4-7 SU and 5-5 vs. line) after encouraging debut for Scott Satterfield in 2019. Louisville 2-4 as dog in 2020. Lane Kiffin was 2-3 as chalk last season in 5-5 SU and spread overall performance in debut with Rebels, and his FAU and Ole Miss teams are 9-6 as chalk since 2019. Game in Atlanta. Tech edge: Slight to Ole Miss, based on recent trends.