Oskeim Sports provides a free college football pick on every Saturday throughout the football season. A college football free pick is one of the last game’s Oskeim eliminated from his premium (paid) plays.
Arizona showed off its potent offense in its season-opener against Northern Arizona, scoring 62 points in a convincing 62-24 win. That score is relevant in that college football teams that scored 60 points or more in their season-opener are a profitable 38-20 ATS.
Meanwhile, Houston arrives in town for its first game of the 2017 campaign after Hurricane Harvey forced the Cougars to cancel their season-opener against UT-San Antonio.
That fact is significant in that first-year head coaches are a money-burning 8-14-3 ATS when installed as a road favorite in their season debut.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez has led the Wildcats to four bowl games (3 wins) in his first 5 seasons in Tucson, and the veteran coach could have his best offense since leaving West Virginia.
Seven starters return for the 2017 campaign, including quarterback Brandon Dawkins, who averaged 8.6 yards per carry and a team-best 6.6 yards per pass attempt.
Dawkins is supported by one of the conference’s best backfields in Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor, who combined to average 6.2 yards per rush attempt early in the season before injuries ravaged Arizona’s ground attack.
Injuries defined the Wildcats’ 2016 campaign as no running back stayed healthy enough to attempt even 77 carries, while only two offensive linemen started all twelve games.
Injuries depleted Arizona’s backfield to the point where Rodriguez used two wide receivers as running backs for the entire second half of the season.
Arizona was also forced to use its third-string quarterback after both Anu Solomon sustained a season-ending injury and Dawkins suffered a concussion.
Last year’s misfortune becomes a positive for the Wildcats in 2017 as the offensive unit returns 89 career starts along the offensive line and both Wilson and Taylor are finally healthy.
Indeed, Arizona garnered 506 yards on the ground last week, with Dawkins and Wilson leading the charge (Arizona averaged 9.8 yards per play overall).
From a technical standpoint, Arizona applies to a very good 52-24 ATS system that invests on certain teams with elite ground attacks and experienced quarterbacks in the first month of the season.
Arizona is 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a win by 20 points or more, whereas the Cougars are 1-4 ATS in their last five tilts against Pac-12 opposition, 1-5 ATS in their last six games versus .501 or greater foes and 1-7 ATS in their last eight games overall.
Finally, my math model actually favors Arizona by 1.2 points, which is enhanced by a 41-7 ATS Game Two situation. Take the Wildcats to improve to 2-0 as Oskeim Sports’ Free College Football Pick for Saturday, September 9.
Free College Football Pick:
Arizona (+1.5) over Houston