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Pac-12 Football odds and picks: The Gamble-Tron, Week 1

The Gamble-Tron is already in the hole, and the season hasn’t really begun.

Gymnastics: U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Parade of Olympians Celebration Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

WE. ARE. BACK. (we are also 0-1, by half-a-*#&@%$(@&$ point) Backdoor covers are the dang worst. Well, unless you win. Then they’re awesome. Either way, it’s fun to be carving out a space in this little corner of the internet once again. Hopefully we’ll get lots of audience participation.

We’re also hoping the Cal-Hawaii game wasn’t a harbinger of bad beats in 2016, but since we spit out above-average results last season, the luck is due to change. Even though it’s all pretend money, the disappointment was palpable when I saw the score on Saturday morning. Imagine how it would have felt if there had been some real scratch on the line.

So we’re on the the official opening weekend of the season. And what an outstanding weekend it appears to be, on paper anyway. Just look at these matchups: Wisconsin-LSU, Clemson-Auburn, Oklahoma-Houston, Notre Dame-Texas, Ole Miss-FSU, Gardner Webb-Elon. Heck, if you’re a west-coaster who is so excited that you can’t sleep, we’ve got Georgia Tech-BC at 0430!

I didn’t even include the Pac-12, which has tasty intersectional games such as Stanford-Kansas State, USC-Alabama, UCLA-Texas A&M and Arizona-BYU. The latter features Taysom Hill, who I believe was part of Hal Kopp’s final recruiting class. Even more, none of those games matter nearly as much to us as the one taking place in Pullman on Saturday evening. While that game isn’t on the board, there are several guesses to make winners to give you. Away we go

Last week: 0-1

Cash Balance: $1145

Oregon State (+13/-110) at Minnesota (-13/-110): Could there be a less-compelling Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup? I doubt it. Still, it’s the first Thursday of college football season, so you can bet we’ll be watching. Oregon State will be better than last season, but that will probably amount to only three wins.

Minnesota will probably be your run-of-the-mill Big Ten team this year. That is to say, they’ll beat who they’re supposed to beat. They’ll lose the games they’re supposed to lose, and the entire season will bore spectators to tears.

The Pick: $110 on OSU

Colorado State (+8.5/-110) vs. Colorado (-8.5/-110): I’m looking forward to seeing how Sefo Liufau plays. If he’s back to 100 percent, Colorado will win. This is a pretty underrated rivalry, as nine of the last 14 games have been decided by seven points or less. The line here, in case you missed it, is eight-and-a-hook. I feel a theme for Week One emerging.

Also, I will never not laugh at this photo. Never.

The Pick: $110 on Colorado State

Kansas State (+15/-110) at Stanford (-15/-110): Hang on. Kansas State is going on the road to face a Power Five opponent? One that isn’t in the Big 12? Does Bill Snyder think Buddy Teevens is still coaching on The Farm?

We all know how good Stanford was in 2015. We also know what a turd they laid on the opening weekend. That was with a an experienced quarterback and seasoned offensive line. Stanford has neither of those now. Yes, they still have McCaffrey. Yes, they’ll win. And yes, they’ll have to sweat.

The Pick: $110 on the Fightin Snyders.

Rutgers (+27/-110) at Washington (-27/-110): Not sure what to think here. Rutgers is going to be pretty bad. Washington is going to be pretty good. I don’t expect Rutgers to do much of anything on offense, but I do expect them to hold their own defensively. This line seems inflated by a touchdown. UW won’t sweat, but it shouldn’t be a laugher either.

The Pick: $110 on Rutgers

UCLA (+3/-110) at Texas A&M (-3/-110): Oof. This is a toughie. It should also be a heck of a game. Texas A&M has a ferocious defensive line, led by 2017 Top-5 pick Myles Garrett. As long as Kevin Sumlin is around, the Aggies will be just fine on offense. They are starting Trevor Knight who, despite not doing much at Oklahoma, keeps getting credit for beating Alabama that one time.

So Texas A&M should win this one, right? Ahh, but here’s the rub. Since joining the SEC, A&M is 1-6 at home against ranked teams. Granted, many of those teams were the likes of Alabama and LSU, but shouldn’t we expect more? I sure would. Then again, Texas A&M has never won anything of consequence. This is a long way of saying I have no idea what to do here. When in doubt, take the points. When in double doubt, take the SEC.

The Pick: Gig ‘em $110

USC (+11.5/-110) vs. Alabama (-11.5/-110): This line was around 10 for a while and slowly crept up. This is another internal struggle. Alabama almost always murders people in this game. But now they’re breaking in a new quarterback. They also don’t have the All-American Center to lean on.

On the other hand, USC is also breaking in a new QB. The difference? Alabama always, and I mean ALWAYS, has a gang of murderers in the front seven. USC, meanwhile, is paper thin on the defensive line, and has a linebacker who may be an interstate criminal. Did I mention that Nick Saban is going against Clay Helton? Did I also mention that once-fired-on-a-tarmac Lane Tiffin is calling plays for Alabama? No?

The Pick: $110 on Alabama

BYU (+1/-110) at Arizona (-1/110): Ninth-year senior Taysom Hill faces off against crappy Junior Anu Solomon. In all seriousness, Taysom Hill committed to Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford team. Did we mention that Jim Harbaugh last coached at Stanford in 2010?

I don’t expect much out of Arizona this season. Quite honestly, this game could serve as a pivot for their entire season. That sounds stupid, but I don’t think it’s that far off. Lose this one, and it could be a long year in Tucson. The X-Factor is BYU running back Jamaal Williams, who was suspended for all of 2015, presumably for forgetting to use Private Mode when checking out YouPorn. Anyway, take the Cougars.

The Pick: $110 on BYU

LSU (-9.5/-110) vs. Wisconsin (+9.5/-110): Les Miles won his power struggle with the LSU brass. Leonard Fournette is still taking handoffs. LSU still has a ferocious front seven. Wisconsin has...bratwurst?

The Pick: $110 on LSU

UMass (+36.5/-110) at Florida (-36.5/-110): It’s a dumpster dive special. UMass has turned into one of the worst programs in FBS, non-Petrino division. Florida isn’t that great, but this is too good to pass up.

The Pick: $110 on Florida

What say you?