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College Football Week 1 Picks, Predictions & Other Early Lines to Back Today

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 10 mins

College Football Week 1 Picks, Predictions & Other Early Lines to Back Today

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It’s never too early for college football odds

That seems to be the industry-wide consensus these days, with championship odds posted for the following season immediately after the title game and Heisman boards ready to go on college football betting sites before snow has melted across the Midwest. 

There’s already plenty of opportunity for college football action on sports betting apps. And while there’s plenty to study and brush up on this summer with transfer portal guys settled and position battles playing out, the days of waiting around until August for game lines are over. 

FanDuel has already posted a healthy slate of point spreads for more than 20 games next season, including marquee matchups that get the blood pumping just thinking about it at this time of the year – USC at Notre Dame on Oct. 14 is a pick-em. Alabama is a -8.5 home favorite over Tennessee on Oct. 21 after the Vols’ epic 52-49 win last year. Michigan is a -1 home favorite Nov. 25 as they look to make it three in a row over the Buckeyes. 

We wish they were all kicking off next week. In the meantime, we’ve identified four of our favorite early college football picks to make for the 2023 season. 

College Football Week 1 Spreads

Aug. 26Navy @ Notre DameNavy +21.5
Aug. 31Nebraska @ MinnesotaNebraska +8
Aug. 31Florida @ UtahFlorida +9
Sept. 1Miami Ohio @ Miami FLMiami OH +17
Sept. 2South Carolina @ North CarolinaSouth Carolina +1.5
Sept. 2West Virginia @ Penn StateWest Virginia +17
Sept. 2Colorado @ TCUColorado +18.5
Sept. 2Utah State @ IowaIowa -20.5
Sept. 3LSU @ Florida StateLSU -1
Sept. 4Clemson @ DukeClemson -9.5

College Football Week 1 Best Bets

Notre Dame -21.5 over Navy

Just imagine what Aviva Stadium will sound like when the Fighting Irish hit the field in Dublin. This is the second time these teams have met overseas and Notre Dame took the first game, 50-10, in the 2012 season opener. It’s an unbelievable environment for transfer quarterback Sam Hartman, with whom the Irish will be very dangerous as long as the defense continues to hold up its end of the bargain. We don’t have any doubt that will happen in the opener, with Navy averaging less than 330 yards of total offense per game. Dream matchup for Notre Dame in the opener, and they should run away with it by halftime for an easy cover. 

Best Bet: Notre Dame -21.5 over Navy

Nebraska +8 over Minnesota

We don’t like laying more than a touchdown in season-opening conference games, especially these past few years with so many moving pieces going in and out of the transfer portal. Coaches, too – Matt Rhule is ready to attempt one of the most desirable rebuilds in all of college football at Nebraska and he has a lot of returning talent on defense. Georgia Tech quarterback transfer Jeff Sims should provide an offensive jolt and resources are never a question at Nebraska. Minnesota loses a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and has a new offensive coordinator. We might lean Gophers if this were a Week 7 or Week 8 line, but right out of the gate the Huskers could surprise some people. We’re on the Huskers and the points. 

Best Bet: Nebraska +8 over Minnesota

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Colorado +21.5 over TCU

Let the great Deion Sanders experiment begin. Primetime completely overhauled this Buffaloes roster that – like it or not – needed way more than a few tweaks and transfers to become a competitive team in 2023. We know every incoming player and the majority of those who remain will be completely bought-in and ready to prove everyone wrong. TCU, meanwhile, loses a ton of talent from the national championship runner-up squad – none bigger than QB Max Duggan. There’s more returning production on defense, but this is a massive number against a team that will have far more individual talent than it did a year ago and an entire locker room looking to make the biggest splash possible. We like the Buffaloes here. 

Best Bet: Colorado +21.5 over TCU

Iowa -20.5 over Utah State

This Iowa offense and its fanbase have been begging for a fresh start since basically Week 3 or 4 of 2022. Next year has finally arrived and optimism will be at an all-time high when the Hawkeyes take the field at Kinnick Stadium. There’s legit reason for hope with Michigan transfer quarterback Cade McNamara under center, and eight returning starters from a group that’s been hearing about how much they stink for eight months now. We don’t expect much of a defensive dropoff and this is a physical mismatch across the board. The crowd will be in it from start to finish and we don’t expect this one to stay within three scores. We’re on Iowa -20.5.

Best Bet: Iowa -20.5 over Utah State

North Carolina -1.5 over South Carolina 

The battle for the Carolinas is on for just the fourth time in the last 15 years. It’s also a rematch from the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl, with South Carolina scoring a 38-21 win. Oddsmakers on betting sites have the Tar Heels as small favorites for the neutral-site game at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, and we have to agree here. 

Quarterback Drake Maye passed for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last year and should lead one of the most prolific offenses in the country alongside new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey. The Gamecocks only return four starters on defense, and they need to replenish the offensive line as well. It might take some time. We like North Carolina. 

Best Bet: North Carolina -1.5 over South Carolina

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Other Early College Football Lines We Like

Sep. 23: Notre Dame +10.5 over Ohio State

New Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman could prove to be the most important transfer player in the country for 2023 when all is said and done. The former Wake Forest signal-caller joins an Irish roster that seemed to be a quarterback away from contending for a national championship throughout last season. 

The Buckeyes have a legit QB competition with Kyle McCord and Devin Brown battling to replace C.J. Stroud, and you never know how that looks early in a season – especially if one doesn’t greatly out-perform the other. South Bend is going to be an absolute madhouse and we’re very high on the Irish this year. We like them to cover +10.5. 

Sep. 23: Florida State +3 over Clemson 

It seems like the right move for both parties with former Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei moving on to Oregon State. The Tigers, meanwhile, hope to move forward after failing to reach the College Football Playoff in three consecutive seasons. There’s a new QB under center in Cade Klubnik, who didn’t have a great spring game and begins his college career with the highest of expectations. 

There’s also a new offensive coordinator in Garrett Riley and no telling how it will all shake out in the early weeks. The Seminoles are ready to hit the ground running with eight returning starters on offense and nine starters coming back on defense. The hype is real this time around, and Florida State will prove it in a Week 4 win over Clemson. 

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Nov. 11: Kansas +6.5 over Kansas State

The Jayhawks finally got things moving in the right direction in 2022, winning six games for the first time since 2008. We’ll see if they can take it a step further this season with Lance Leipold entering year three. An offense that averaged 35.6 points per game last season returns 10 starters, and if the Jayhawks stay healthy they’re gonna light up the scoreboard well into the later months. 

The passing attack could certainly give a team like Kansas State lots of problems – the Wildcats lose four starting defensive backs from 2022 and might struggle across the board defensively. Kansas State is currently the better team on paper, but Kansas has the higher ceiling and might even be a favorite when this one rolls around in early November. We like the Jayhawks to cover against the in-state rivals. 

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.
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