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Handicapping college football? With all the college teams jumping from conference to conference this will be a tough year to get an early handle on some teams.

Some conferences seem to have some status quo, and what is suggested from this writer is to find two or three you like and spend most of your time with those. I usually look at two bigger conferences and one smaller one.

I always handicap the Big Ten and use the MAC as my smaller conference, plus the strong SEC is a must with all their great teams.

Speaking of the SEC, the Crimson Tide are looking for their fourth national championship in the last five years despite losing the SEC West division two out of the last three years. That is how tough the Southeastern Conference is and will be this year.

Look for Alabama to exact big revenge on Texas A&M at College Station on Sept. 14. This will be a must game to bet and watch as “Mr. Football” goes down!

Another special note on the SEC:  they have won nine straight BCS title games, seven straight titles and eight of the last 10. The SEC has seven of the top eight highest paid assistant coaches – you think it is big business in this conference?!

Did you know the Florida Gators ranked dead last in passing last year? The thing about the SEC is defense, and that is what wins games and championships. Nine of the last 11 national champions have had a top 10 ranked defense, so when eyeing that national title winner look for defense.

Did you know the MAC has gone 6-6 SU in their last 12 bowl games? Don’t discount the MAC. When one of its league teams goes on the road to play a nonconference game and is the favorite, MAC schools are 16-2 SU, an amazing 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS when coming off a conference win.

In the Big Ten the Ohio State who went undefeated last year will try and duplicate that feat again this year. It will not be easy and that win total of 11 is a must UNDER bet. The Buckeyes will be hard pressed to come up with a win against Wisconsin on Sept. 28 even though they are home. They may get the win, but a cover will be another story.

The Buckeye big man Urban Meyer is a magician but 47 of his 82 scholarship players are either freshman or sophomores. Urban will have a strong offense but his defense looks suspect, at best, with just one starter returning from last year’s front seven. Bet OVER on totals for individual games.

Ohio State also has only four seniors on defense. Urban is building a dynasty starting next year.

The college season kicks off next week starting Thursday with eight games and three on Friday. I will have plenty of plays to pass on. One game I have already bet is Oklahoma State with a big time offense, -12 points against Mississippi State. This game is being played in Houston and the Cowboys will have plenty of support. Lay the 12 points and tune in next week for all the plays as we move into dress rehearsal week in the NFL preseason.

If the Redskins won on Monday I will go 5-1-1 with my picks last week and, hopefully, I am cashing a ticket. Saw no early lines I trusted so just follow my lead.

Thursday, Aug. 22

Patriots at Lions: I will take just a little shot with Detroit off a road loss in Cleveland last week. Don’t see the Pats risking Brady even though their head coach doesn’t like to lose any games. LIONS.

Friday, Aug. 23

Seahawks at Packers: The Packers may still remember when the replacement refs stole the game from them last year in Seattle. Packers look to make the fans happy as they will be dressed up in fake zebra garb. PACKERS.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Bills at Redskins: Even though the Bills have extra time between games, I still prefer the Skins in this game as they have gone 6-0 the last six years in Game 3 of preseason. REDSKINS.

Jets at Giants: Jets have owned this series going 13-4 and 5-0 away when coming off a double digit dog win. Giants are 3-14-1 in Game 3 of preseason. JETS.

Browns at Colts: Really like the “dawgs” in this game, the Colts have gone 1-5 off a SU dog win and the Browns have gotten an extra three days off for this. Look for the starters to play a long time for the Browns in this game. BROWNS $$.

Bucs at Dolphins: Tampa has gone 8-1 away vs. the AFC and 6-1 SU/ATS in their second on the road. Miami 0-6 as the chalk the last six times. BUCS.

Chiefs at Steelers: Got to lay the points in this game. KC is 0-7 SU and ATS vs. AFC and 0-11 SU in their last 11 preseason games. STEELERS.

Next week it all begins. Have a good one and get ready for those games and parlay cards! Make a bet everyday as you just may be walking around lucky and not even know it.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper.  Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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