Finally, the wait is over.

It’s been almost nine months since the Alabama Crimson Tide knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs in thrilling fashion to win the College Football Playoff National Championship, and the new season begins in earnest Thursday.

Nick Saban and the Tide once again find themselves as the preseason No. 1, and will open their season Saturday against the Louisville Cardinals. No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia,  No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 5 Ohio State all open against teams that shouldn’t pose any threat to their respective national title dreams.

With the season about to kick off, it’s time to make your wallet a little heavier this fall, because who doesn’t like seeing their bank account fill up while they’re sitting on the couch watching Georgia destroy Austin Peay? (OK, you probably won’t be watching that game.)

So without further ado, here are our picks against the spread. All lines are courtesy of Oddsshark.

Thursday, Aug. 30
No. 21 Central Florida (-23.5) at UConn
The Golden Knights lost head coach Scott Frost to Nebraska after going undefeated last season. While there is the potential for UCF’s electric offense to hit an early rut in Week 1 under a new coach, Mackenzie Milton and Co. should be able to pull away late and cover the spread. Pick: UCF -23.5

Friday, Aug. 31
Utah State at No. 11 Michigan State (-23.5)
Mark Dantonio’s team is one of the most experienced units in college football. The Spartans’ veteran offensive line will pave the way for quarterback Brian Lewerke and running back L.J. Scott to tear apart the Aggies. Pick: MSU -23.5

Western Kentucky at No. 4 Wisconsin (-35.5)
The Badgers are becoming a trendy pick to make the College Football Playoff with junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook and star running back Jonathan Taylor powering a potent offense. The Hilltoppers likely will improve in Year 2 under coach Mike Sanford Jr. but it won’t be enough to stop the Wisconsin hype train from getting rolling. Pick: WISC -35.5

San Diego State at No. 13 Stanford (-14)
The Aztecs upset the Cardinal last season, but things should be different this time around. Expect Stanford to take much better care of the football in this contest — quarterback Keller Chryst committed three turnovers last year, but he now plays at Tennessee — and San Diego State’s star running back Rashaad Penny took his talents to the NFL. Pick: STAN -14

Saturday, Sept.1
No. 23 Texas (-13.5) at Maryland
Maryland stunned Texas and first-year head coach Tom Herman to open last season, but the Terrapins open this season with head coach D.J. Durkin on administrative leave due to an investigation into his treatment of players. The Longhorns return two experienced quarterbacks, three veteran offensive linemen and six of their top seven tacklers from last season. Horns big. Pick: Texas -13.5

Florida Atlantic at No. 7 Oklahoma (-21)
Baker Mayfield is gone, but the Sooners still have plenty of firepower with quarterback Kyler Murray leading the way. FAU coach Lane Kiffin likely will have a lot of tricks up his sleeve for this one as the Owls angle for a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Expect the Owls to keep it close before OU pulls away to win by two scores. Pick: FAU +21

Oregon State at No. 5 Ohio State (-38)
It’s a big number and Ohio State will be without head coach Urban Meyer, but it’s not going to matter in the Horseshoe. Pick: OSU -38

Southern at No. 16 TCU (No Spread)
Why bother?

Furman at No. 2 Clemson (No Spread)
If Furman keeps it within 50, that’s a win.

Applachian State at No. 10 Penn State (-24)
The Heisman hype already is building around Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley, and Penn State figures to be in the title race all season. Appalachian State has been known to spring the upset before (sorry, Michigan) but this isn’t 2007. Pick: PSU -24

Austin Peay at No. 3 Georgia (No Spread)
Georgia should drop in the polls for scheduling this game.

No. 17 West Virginia (-10) vs. Tennessee
Jeremy Pruitt is the right guy to rebuild Tennessee, but there’s a lot of work to be done and starting off against Will Grier and the Mountaineers won’t be fun for the Vols. Pick: WVU -10

No. 6 Washington vs. No. 10 Auburn 9 (-2.5)
Auburn has a ton of talent but this game serves as a de facto playoff game for Washington. A loss to Auburn means the Huskies will have to run the table to have any shot of making it back to the playoffs for the second time in four seasons. Bet the Dawgs. Pick: WASH +2.5

UNLV at No. 15 USC (-26)
Will USC be looking ahead to a Week 2 matchup with Stanford? Unlikely. The Trojans should win the game easily and expect it to be a coming out party for freshman quarterback JT Daniels. Fight on. Pick: USC -26

No. 22 Boise State (-10) at Troy
The Broncos could be the Group of Five’s best shot to land in a New Year’s Six bowl game, but they’ll have their hands full in Week 1. The Trojans have a lot of beef in the trenches and will look to shorten the field and the game against a more talented Boist State team. Broncos survive a close one. Pick: Troy +10

Stephen F. Austin at No. 18 Mississippi St. (No Spread)

No. 14 Michigan at No. 12 Notre Dame (-2)
Can Jim Harbaugh get the first big win of his Michigan tenure? Big Blue sure hopes so. The Wolverines have a talented defense and, finally, have a capable passer in Shea Patterson. This game could turn on one play, but take the better defense and roll with the Wolverines. Pick: MICH +2

Bowling Green at No. 24 Oregon (-32)
Quarterback Justin Herbert is back and healthy for what could be a historic campaign. The Ducks return a ton of talent and will send a message in Mario Cristobal’s first season-opener as head coach. Pick: ORE -32

Lousiville vs. No. 1 Alabama (-24.5)
Lamar Jackson isn’t walking through that door. Roll Tide. Pick: ALA -24.5 

Sunday, Sept. 2
No. 8 Miami (-3.5) vs. No. 25 LSU
LSU has had a lot of success recently at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, but there are too many question marks for the Tigers to overcome a tough Hurricanes team. Pick: MIA -3.5

Monday, Sept. 3
No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State (-7.5)
Jimbo Fisher fled Tallahassee for College Station and now it’s up to Willie Taggart to pick up the pieces. The opener won’t be easy as the Hokie look to make strides in Year 3 under Justin Fuentes. Bet on VT to spoil Taggart’s home opener. Pick: VT +7.5

Thumbnail photo via Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports Images