We are back, we are back, we are back. After a 45-41-1 record against the spread (ATS) last season, Luckett’s Locks makes its highly anticipated return for the 2021 college football season.
Towards the end of every week, this weekly column will be the place to find our best ATS plays during the college football board. The research will be done, the tape will be watched, and some money will be made.
The best sport in the world is finally back, and we’re here to help guide you through this three-month sprint at KSR. Now let’s get to the best plays on the card on this jam-packed weekend of college football.
Boise State @ UCF Under 68.5
On Thursday, Boise State will travel to Orlando to take on UCF for the Group of Five showcase game. ESPN will be at the Bounce House while two new head coaches will be making their debuts at these strong programs.
Former Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos returns to Boise State where he was on staff from 2012-18 working for both Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin. Avalos knows what it takes to win at Boise and inherits Hank Bachmeier at quarterback. The junior has thrown for over 3,000 yards in 13 career games.
At UCF, Gus Malzahn begins his next job after eight years at Auburn. The former can’t miss head coach is returning to calling plays at Orlando after a revolving door with Rhett Lashlee, Chip Lindsey, and Chad Morris on the Plains. Dillon Gabriel is an excellent player to inherit — 7,223 passing yards, 7.52% TD rate in two years as a starter.
The Gus Bus, two big-name quarterbacks, primetime television slot — everything is screaming high scoring but Luckett’s Locks is fading that notion. With a defensive head coach and a seasoned visor-wearing veteran who has won with defense recently, the under is the play as both teams adjust to new offensive schemes.
North Carolina (-5.5) @ Virginia Tech
Who doesn’t love a good ACC Coastal contest on a Friday night?
Mack Brown 2.0 enters year three in Chapel Hill and things are pointing up for the Tar Heels. Sam Howell is a legit Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback and the defense looks like it might be for real under defensive coordinator Jay Bateman. After signing a top-10 recruiting class, Brown has the Heels rolling.
Despite some job security questions regarding Justin Fuente, there is still some buzz for this Virginia Tech football team following a sellout at Lane Stadium to open the year against UNC. The Hokies have seen the recruiting take a nosedive in recent years, but this coaching staff has faith in former Oregon quarterback Braxton Burmeister. Wideouts Tavion Robinson, Tre Turner, and tight end James Mitchell create quite the receiving trio. However, the defense has a ton to prove.
This is a very good price for a top-10 ballclub to open the season. North Carolina is the better team in most areas and should be locked in for this big divisional game. Howell has a big night as UNC easily covers the handful of points.
Stanford (+3) @ Kansas State
For some unknown reason, Stanford and Kansas State will be starting the season in Arlington, Texas, for an 11 a.m. local time kickoff on Saturday.
What a sport this is.
Both squads have solid quarterback options and two proven head coaches. However, the rosters leave a lot to be desired on both sides. Stanford probably has a bit more talent while Tanner McKee could be a potential NFL player under center.
Stanford and the over was one of our season win total picks to begin the season, and because of that, we’re backing David Shaw early. Take the points with the trees.
Oregon State (+7) @ Purdue
Wants some points? We’re probably going to get some points at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Jonathan Smith is in year four out in Corvallis and has the Oregon State Beavers trending in the right direction despite a 9-22 record overall. The 42-year-old is a solid play-caller and Colorado transfer Sam Noyer will be starting at quarterback. The defense needs improvement.
Speaking of offensive head coaches, Jeff Brohm is now in year five in West Lafayette with a 19-25 overall record. The Boilermakers are just 7-15 in their last 22 games. Despite the struggles, there are reasons to get excited about junior quarterback Jack Plummer.
This is very much a trend play for us here at Luckett’s Locks. Purdue hasn’t been great as a favorite under Brohm while the Beavers have been very strong as a dog under Smith. Oregon State is 11-3 as a road dog in their last 14 games.
Take the touchdown and hope we see the turnover chainsaw a few times on Saturday night.
Southern Miss @ South Alabama (-1)
No gambling column is complete until you make one true deep dive into the college football ether.
Down in Mobile, a pair of new head coaches will face off in a fun regional matchup. In this one, we’re siding with the small home favorite.
South Alabama has the best quarterback in this contest as Jack Abraham left USM for Mississippi State in the offseason and former South Carolina and Utah quarterback Jake Bentley landed at South Alabama.
The Jaguars’ Jalen Tolbert is one of the best wideouts in college football, and 34-year-old Kane Wommack is a budding star in the coaching ranks.
Lay the point and let’s ride with the Sun Belt.
Best Bet: Ohio State (-14) @ Minnesota
Ohio State should be the favorite to win the national championship in 2021. The Buckeyes are only laying two touchdowns on the road to an unranked opponent. It’s time to jump all over this value.
C.J. Stroud has huge shoes to fill at quarterback, but the Metro Los Angeles blue-chipper has all the tools necessary to be an elite college player. At wide receiver, the Buckeyes have best the duo in college football with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. TreVeyon Henderson could very well turn into a true freshman that is a Heisman Trophy contender at tailback. Meanwhile, the defense is littered with former top-100 recruits.
P.J. Fleck is in year five at Minnesota, and the Golden Gophers have Tanner Morgan back at quarterback. However, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. has left much to be desired calling plays while Minnesota seems to have a ways to go on defense.
This is just too small of a spread in this matchup. Under Ryan Day, the Buckeyes are 6-1 ATS as a road favorite. Jump all over this Thursday night game.
Please bet responsibly.
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