Opening weekend is an interesting one

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I’m excited to once again be providing my weekly “Inside The Lines” college football betting preview articles this season for Gaming Today.

It should be an exciting season after lots of player and coaching moves in the winter and spring. The 2019 campaign kicks off this Saturday with a pair of interesting matchups including, a massive season opener between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes.

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Florida -7.5 vs. Miami (FL), Total 47: The Florida offense certainly improved last season as did the play of QB Feleipe Franks (who had a 24-6 TD-INT ratio last season and cut way down on turnovers) and seeing gradual improvement from his starting QB’s has been a consistent staple of head coach Dan Mullen’s career.

There is some concern for the opener though as the Gators must replace four offensive line starters from last season and will have to face a very stout Miami defensive front here.

On the other side of the football, Miami has a new head coach in Manny Diaz after the abrupt retirement of Mark Richt and defense will be the unit that will carry the Hurricanes this season. The QB position is still the single biggest question mark for Miami. Redshirt freshman Jarren Williams won the starting QB job in spring and fall camp over Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry who got some playing time last season.

Williams has a solid arm and is a dual threat with good mobility but the fact remains he is a first time starter up against a very tough Florida defense that brings back eight starters and got much better late in the season a year ago and should be even better in 2019.

I think this line is in a pretty good spot right now with Florida favored by a TD. In terms of the total, the Under has taken some money and I agree with that move. The value is diminished a bit but looking at this game going Under the total would be my preferred stance in this matchup. UNDER

Arizona -11 at Hawaii, Total 74: The Wildcats will look to rebound from a disappointing 5-7 season and will hope that a healthy and a much more effective Khalil Tate at QB will be the catalyst for a turnaround season in Tucson.

Tate was banged up for most of last season limiting his mobility. He’s now healthy and can use his dangerous ability to make plays with his feet once again. Tate still must improve as a pocket passer which has been the focal point for him in fall camp.

The Wildcats’ defense was terrible last season allowing 32.7 ppg and 429.2 ypg and their defensive line is still thin and lacking quality depth and their pass defense in particular suffered big time. That’s a problem against a team like Hawaii which brings back a very strong offense led by QB Cole McDonald and a deep WR corps.

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The defense struggled last season for Hawaii but they bring back nine starters and should be improved in all areas although they could still have their hands full here if Tate plays more like he did in 2017 and not the way he did last season.

Hawaii started fast last season going 6-1 SU in their first seven games before the schedule got tougher and injuries started to mount. They also went 3-0 to the Over in their first three games. I like the idea of getting double digits with Hawaii as an underdog in this game.

Their offense should be able to flat out score and produce points and their defense should be able to do just enough to keep them within striking distance of Arizona from start to finish. I also like the Over even though this number has climbed up to 74 from an opener of 71 as this should be a back-and-forth shootout for the duration. HAWAII AND OVER

 

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