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Pac-12 Picks: August 31, 2013


College football fans were thrilled to see teams return to the field for the 2013 regular season on Thursday and Friday, but today is when the season really begins as most schools take on their week one opponents.

There are plenty of good games to wager on, but one of the nation’s most competitive conferences – the Pac-12 – has four that should provide bettors with excitement and money-making opportunities. Which teams will start the season with a win? Check out who we like in each contest below!

Washington State Cougars +13.5 at Auburn Tigers -13.5

Both the Washington State Cougars and the Auburn Tigers suffered miserable 2012 seasons, but with home field advantage and sharpened claws from SEC play a year ago, the Tigers will have the distinct edge today.

Even still, the Cougars present the Tigers with a completely contrasting offensive style that may be able to keep them on their heels, especially in the warm-up that is the season opener. Washington State’s air raid attack could prove to be effective against an Auburn defense that didn’t have to deal with many passing teams last season.

Auburn should still win the game, but Washington State will keep it closer than many fans think. Take the Cougars to cover +13.5 in defeat.

Nevada Wolf Pack +21 at #21 UCLA Bruins -21

The Nevada Wolf Pack have dropped their last two season openers to Pac-12 teams and today’s match-up will likely mark their third such defeat in a row as they take on the 21st-ranked UCLA Bruins on the road.

The Wolf Pack may be competitive in the Mountain West this season, but they won’t be any match for a UCLA team with a roster chalked full of top recruits and returning stars, including quarterback Brett Hundley, who led the Pac-12 in passing in just his freshman season.

Look for the Bruins to cover -21 as they cruise to victory.

#19 Boise State Broncos +3 at Washington Huskies -3

While the Wolf Pack will almost certainly fall, it’s somewhat surprising that even the Mountain West’s top team, the Boise State Broncos, are an underdog in their opener against a middle-of-the-road Pac-12 foe.

The Broncos may not be as strong this year as they have been in years past, but this is the same team that beat the Washington Huskies in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl at a neutral site. Being at home should help the Huskies, but with a bevy of talented offensive stars and one of the best coaches in the country, the Broncos should still prevail. Take Boise State to cover +3 and win this one outright.

#22 Northwestern Wildcats -5.5 at California Golden Bears +5.5

For the first time in a long time, the Northwestern Wildcats are entering a season with high expectations, while the California Golden Bears are simply hoping to get their school back on the college football map.

These two teams may be in completely different places, but with the home crowd on their side, the Bears are only 5.5-point underdogs here today. However, along with that home crowd, the Bears will have their hands full with last year’s Big Ten rushing champ, Venric Mark.

Mark and the Cats should give the Bears more than they can handle today. Look for Northwestern to cover -5.5 in the win here.

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