Down for the Knights
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We took another baseball game on the chin Wednesday on a walk-off run.
Only the umpteenth time that's happened this season!
To avoid that, there are only two options: quit betting on road teams, or start working on football. Fortunately, as of today, we can choose football.
With that in mind, it will be a late one on the Thursday menu that really has me fired up.
Rutgers travels to the West Coast to do battle with Fresno State. This one has steadily climbed all week with Bovada now favoring the Bulldogs by 10. Some sportsbooks in Vegas already have moved it up the critical kicker to 10½, meaning it might not be a bad idea to open a Bovada account now (if you don't already have one) and jump on this one before it gets even higher.
The Bulldogs have Mountain West Conference pre-season offensive player of the year in QB Derek Carr, who tossed for over 4,000 yards last season. A repeat 4,000-plus season puts him atop the school's recordbooks as Fresno State's all-time passing yardage leader. Expect his season to start off with a bang, as he will face a Rutgers defense that only returns four starters and have some real question marks in their young secondary.
And if a trend from last season continues -- we expect it will -- look for Carr & Company to go for the jugular early.
Take a look at the Bovada data tool on our Home page and you will see that Fresno State averaged 19 first-quarter points last season, which was tops in the nation. In second quarters, they put up 17 a game on average, good for second in the country. I think in a season opener -- at home on national TV -- expect the Bulldogs to go right after the young Rutgers secondary and expose them right away.
Rutgers does have some experience at the offensive skill positions, but both starting tackles are first-time starters. On the other side of the ball, Fresno State will be bringing, among others, first team all-Mountain West Conference nosegurad Tyeler Davison; advantage, Fresno State, and probably a big one.
Lastly, the East Coast team playing a West Coast night game probably does come into play here. This one kicks off at 10:30pm edt, which is normally when Rutgers players are turning out the lights for bed (or at least, they are supposed to be).
This is a very tough spot for an inexperienced team to start their season, and Fresno State can make an immediate statement against a BCS school with a convincing win here.
That's exactly what I see happening.
To start the regular season of football off with a bang, I am backing the Bulldogs tonight and expecting them to roll.
My pick: Fresno State -10
Result ... Fresno State 52 Rutgers 51 Overtime Rutgers covers
Steve Soprano is the founder and handicapper for www.premierticketsports.com