UTSA Roadrunners (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Arizona Wildcats (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Thursday, September 4th, 10:00 PM EST
Where: Arizona Stadium
TV: Pac-12 Network
by Mike M., NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UTSA +31/AZ -31
Over/Under Total: 60
UTSA travels to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats in the final matchup of a three game series between the teams. In week two of last season Arizona was able to squeak by with a 26-23 against the Roadrunners in Texas in a game that saw UTSA have the ball three different times in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead.
Last season UTSA returned a whopping twenty senior starters and expectations were running high in San Antonio for the veteran heavy team. They upset Houston on the road 27-7 as a ten point underdog to begin the year and than took Arizona down to the wire in game two, but from that point on the team played with little to no consistency and struggled through the remainder of the year, which they ended with a 4-8 record that included two double-digit home losses in games that they were double-digit favorites.
In 2015 head coach Larry Coker has his work cut out for him in Texas as this years team returns only six starters, four of defense and a meager two on offense. Two expected starters, cornerback Trevor Baker and center Juan Perez-Isidoro, are not expected to play Thursday due to injury, which leaves an already drastically shorthanded squad in even worse shape than originally expected for this weeks game. The offensive line injury especially hurts as running back Jarveon Williams is their lone playmaker and he will now have to count on a o-line already lacking in experience to open up space for him against a swarming Arizona defense
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The Arizona offense is in the opposite shape of UTSA, especially at the major skill positions where they have three different stars they can rely on, quarterback Anu Solomon, running back Nick Wilson and wide receiver Cayleb Jones. The sophomore Solomon returns as the on the field general for the offense after throwing for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2014 and returns his top threat in Jones, who last season caught 79 passes for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns. Anu will be joined in the backfield by fellow second year player Nick Wilson, who hopes to build upon a highly successful freshman campaign that saw him run for 1,376 yards and score seventeen touchdowns. The offense ranked 25th in the country last season and should be even more prolific in 2015.
On the other side of the field the Wildcat D returns six starters including dominant linebacker Scooby Wright, who last year won all three awards given to the college footballs top defensive player (Nagurski, Lombardi and Bedarnik) after recording 163 tackles, fourteen sacks and fifteen tackles for loss, all of which ranked in the top five statistically in the country. With the expected issues on the UTSA offensive line, Wright should be able to wreck havoc and start the season off with the type of high-volume stats Wildcat fans grew accustomed to seeing game in and game out in 2014.
31 points is a lot to give when betting on a game, but all signs appear to point toward a strong showing for Arizona this week against UTSA. They have the offensive fire power to put up the necessary amount of points with the trio of Solomon, Wilson and Jones, they return the best defensive player in the country in Scooby Wright and strategically their opponent lacks the ability to exploit the main Wildcat weakness, inexperience in their defensive backfield, as UTSAs passing offense looks significantly worse then last years squad that ranked 118th in the country in scoring offense with no returning skill position players and a redshirt freshman expected to get the start at quarterback. Arizona is 5-2 against the spread as a double-digit favorite in September under head coach Rich Rodriguez and I see no reason why they wont continue that success this week in their home opener against the Road Runners in a game they might be covering at halftime and the only real fear is a backdoor cover.
Mikes Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Arizona -31. Where are you betting on football this season? Does your bookie offer -105 odds? If not, you should dump him and his overpriced odds and start saving big bucks today at 5Dimes!