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Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators†Odds - Prediction

No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 17 Florida Gators (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday September 2nd, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: AT&T Stadium Arlington, T.X.
TV: ABC
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: MICH -3.5/FLA +3.5
Over/Under Total: TBA

One of the most intriguing parings for the opening week of college football will take place at AT&T Stadium when the no. 11 Michigan Wolverines meet the no. 17 Florida Gators in Arlington. Both the Gators and the Wolverines have legendary programs that are trying to regain their prominence. Florida has made back to back SEC Championship appearances despite two losses to Alabama and they appear to be closing the gap in terms of talent in comparison to the SEC West. Meanwhile Coach Jim Harbaugh has raised the bar in Ann Arbor with back to back 10 win seasons in his first 2 years after taking over a program that went 5-7 in 2014. Therefore, expectations are on the rise for both schools and this Saturdayís meeting will be extremely important for each team on the path back to national prominence.

The Wolverines have perhaps more question marks than any other team in the FBS entering the 2017 season. There is no doubt that Harbaugh has done a tremendous job in Ann Arbor in a short time but this year could be his biggest challenge to date. Michigan has just 5 starters returning from last yearís team that went 10-3 and just 1 starter returns for the entire defensive unit. The Wolverines and Harbaugh will fill the holes with a host of highly recruited talent. However, these players are far from experienced and proven despite their heralded recruiting rankings. As a result, this early matchup with the 17th ranked Gators does not come at an opportunistic point in the season. The Wolverines should be vulnerable out of the gate but the question is can the Gators take advantage?

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If we are looking at talent alone, I would still give Michigan the advantage over the Gators despite the inexperienced. We know that Michigan should get better as the year progresses but will they be good enough in week 1 against a quality opponent? There are reasons to be skeptical and reasons to be optimistic. For an optimistic point of view, Harbaugh coaches up defenses as well as any coach in America meaning that despite just 1 starter; he will get the best of his young talent. Additionally, Florida has not been very good offensively in the last few years. In fact, they finished 116th in the FBS last year. Despite winning the SEC East, the Gators closed out their final 5 games by averaging just 15 points per game. The highest point total scored during that stretch was 20 points against South Carolina as the Gators ended the year going 2-3 before bouncing back with a victory over Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

The Gators defense was excellent but the offense was pretty horrible echoing some of the traits left by Coach Will Muschamp before he was shown the door. This year the same balance is expected again with a defense that will be promising and an offense that will be searching. In fact, Coach Jim McElwain has still not named a starter for the quarterback position. The battle is between Feleipe Franks, Luke Del Rio, and Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire. In reality, the decision has already been made but McElwain is keeping the decision quiet similar to the way Harbaugh has refused to name Michiganís starter until game day. So you could chalk it up to game day tactics from McElwain but the quarterback play was nothing to be proud of last year as Del Rio completed just 56% passing with 8 scores and 8 picks.

For those reasons alone, Michigan can still easily win this game. I believe the Wolverines will be fine from the defensive side of the football but I am really eager to see what they bring to the table offensively. Florida will be strong defensively meaning Michigan must find a way to make 1st downs. Despite the quarterback drama, most would expect Wilton Speight to get the nod after leading the team to decent numbers last year completing 61% passing for 2,538 yards with 18 scores and 7 picks. Additionally, the offense also returns a familiar face in tailback Chris Evans who showed some explosive moments in 2016. If they can get the best from those guys and perhaps a big play or two, Michigan should prevail in this low scoring game.

Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Michigan -3.5

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NCAA Football Week 5 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Intertops - The safest place to bet on the web as they've been around over 20 years! Enjoy LIVE college football betting where you can jump into the action at any time during the game and place a bet! This gives you a huge advantage!

Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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