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October 18, 2018

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College football by the odds: Vegas picks and preview of Saturday’s games

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Colorado State running back Izzy Matthews (24) avoids the tackle by New Mexico linebacker Austin Ocasio during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.

Picks. Picks. Picks.

Sports gamblers make it pretty clear that's what they're looking for, and this college football season, Talking Points hopes to deliver. The blog's weekly look at college football betting will now be modeled after the long-running NFL column.

That means against-the-spread picks for every game. Yes, every widely lined game — therefore, every contest between Football Bowl Subdivision opponents — will be handicapped along with brief analysis from a uniquely Las Vegas perspective, posted every Friday. Lines will be the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side.

The games will arranged by conference — with the home team taking precedence in non-conference play — listed in rough order of confidence and labeled in three separate categories — plays, leans and guesses. Records will be kept for each category.

It's not a profitable strategy to bet every game on the board, hence the importance of separating the contests with value from those where a pick is made out of obligation. The project begins with the first this weekend's soft opening of a pair of games involving Mountain West Conference teams.

Check below for picks on every game this weekend. Talking Points went 131-114-7 against the spread last year picking the 10 biggest games of the week plus every bowl game. That included a 25-14-1 overall record on bowls and successfully ending the season on a seven-game win streak.

Mountain West

Hawaii plus-14 at Colorado State, over/under: 56.5. Cautious midsummer optimism on the Warriors has faded as reports indicate they look as rough as last year's team, which lost nine of its last 10 games and failed to cover in any of them. Colorado State, on the other hand, appears more likely to overachieve with a trove of graduate transfers arriving to provide immediate help. Guess: Colorado State minus-14.

Wyoming minus-4 at New Mexico State, over/under: 45. The biggest reason New Mexico State broke its 57-year bowl-less streak last year was a stingy defense that gave up only 5.1 yards per play. Nearly every contributor returns this season, which could spell trouble for a Wyoming offense looking to break in freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal. Guess: New Mexico State plus-4.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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