LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- My unofficial count shows 35 states with some form of legalized sports betting.

That includes Indiana. And Tennessee. And West Virginia. And Illinois. (Ohio is supposed to crank up before the end of the year.)

Am I forgetting anybody in the area?

Sorry, states stuck in 1977 don't count. Laverne & Shirley aren't walking through that door.

What is walking through that door is growing interest and acceptance in legalized sports gambling. Please don't print this story and then Pony Express it to anybody in Frankfort, but the WDRB Sports staff is going to enjoy something the rest of America will enjoy this college football season.

Wagering on games.

OK, we'll use imaginary money. The visionaries who run the Kentucky legislature have a bigger problem with citizens gambling on sports than they have with millions of dollars flowing into nearly every surrounding state.

So this weekly column will be for entertainment purposes only.

I'm giving everybody $1,000 of imaginary money to start the season. Every week, each of us will pick three games.

We can use as much or as little of our bankroll as we chose. But when it's gone, it's gone. You're out of the competition fellas. And this will be a competition. I'll keep tabs on everybody's bankroll every week.

You can also bet against the spread, using the money line or over/under totals. You can also bet games individually or pack them into parleys to try to inflate your earnings.

I don't care. I simply want to enjoy what the rest of America is enjoying. Interesting note: None of us decided to play the Louisville game. Considering the Cards have beaten Syracuse by at least three touchdowns in their last three meetings, it's strange to see the Cards only favored by 4.5.

Please don't tell Frankfort.

Griffin Gonzalez

  • Bankroll: $1,000

Week 1 Picks:

  • $100 three-Leg parlay:
    • Indiana vs. Illinois on the moneyline at 8 p.m. Friday in Bloomington (no points involved, picking Indiana to win straight up). The Illini won — and covered the spread — against Wyoming last weekend. But here goes.
    • East Carolina (+11.5) vs. North Carolina State at noon Saturday in, Greenville, North Carolina. The Pirates were 7-5 against the spread last season but are 9-3 as a road underdog under Mike Houston the last three seasons.
    • Arkansas (-6) vs. Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. Saturday  in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My Lock of the week. Phil Steele picked the Razorbacks to finish third, behind Alabama and Texas A&M in the West Division of the Southeastern Conference.

Tom Lane

  • Bankroll: $1,000

Week 1 Picks:

  • $50 on Illinois (+3) at Indiana on Friday. Second game helps the Illini as the Hoosiers play their opener with lots of questions.
  • $50 on Richmond (+24.5) vs. Virginia at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Charlottesville. Spiders make things a little interesting against in-state big brother. UVa working in a new offensive coordinator and head coach.
  • $50 Arkansas (-6) vs Cincinnati on Saturday in Fayetteville. Hogs were starting to get it rolling last year. Bearcats trying to replace a veteran QB, part of nine players lost to the NFL draft.

John Lewis

  • Bankroll: $1,000

Week 1 Picks:

  • $50 on Indiana (-3) against Illinois on Friday night. The Hoosiers were an alarming 2-10 against the spread last season, including 1-5 at home.
  • $100 on Kentucky (-16.5) against Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Lexington. The Wildcats went 4-1 against the spread as a home favorite last season.
  • $25 Utah State (+41.5) at Alabama at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide were only 4-3 against the spread as home favorites last season.

Eric Crawford

  • Bankroll: $1,000

Week 1 Picks:

  • $50 on Illinois (+3) at Indiana. The Illini went 4-1 against the spread as a road underdog last season.
  • $50 on Notre Dame (+17) at Ohio State on Saturday in Columbus. The Fighting Irish have not been a road underdog since their trip to Georgia in 2019. They lost that game but covered.
  • $100 on the over of 62 points in Houston at Texas San-Antonio on Saturday. These two high-flying teams combined to average 72.8 points per game last season.

Rick Bozich

  • Bankroll: $1,000

Week 1 Picks:

  • $100 on Illinois (+3) at Indiana. The Hoosiers failed to cover in nine of their last 10 games in 2021.
  • $100 on Ohio State (-17) vs. Notre Dame. The Buckeyes are the pick of many to overtake Alabama and the rest of the Southeastern Conference to win the national title. Notre Dame failed to cover in two games against top-10 opponents last season, and the Irish suffered several concerning injuries in training camp.
  • $25 on North Carolina (+1) at Appalachian State. This number has moved 3 1/2 points in favor of App State since Carolina's lackluster opening victory against Florida A&M. The Mountaineers beat the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill in 2019. Both of those moments will serve as a wake-up call for Mack Brown's team.

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