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College Football Week 1 Picks, Predictions & Other Bets to Make Today

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 13 mins

College Football Week 1 Picks, Predictions & Other Bets to Make Today

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It's finally time to review the college football odds with some serious intent. Week 1 kicks off this Saturday and college football betting sites are ready to take some action.

And there are plenty of college football betting opportunities on sports betting apps. For instance, FanDuel has posted a healthy slate of point spreads for more than 20 games, including marquee matchups that get the blood pumping just thinking about – 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. Take a look at our favorite college football picks for the 2023 season. 

College Football Week 1 Spreads

DateMatchupSpread
Aug. 31Florida @ No. 14 UtahUtah -6.5
Sept. 2East Carolina @ No. 2 MichiganMichigan -36
Sept. 2Virginia @ No. 12 TennesseeTennessee -28
Sept. 2Colorado @ No. 17 TCUTCU -20.5
Sept. 2Arkansas State @ No. 20 OklahomaOklahoma -35
Sept. 2Utah State @ No. 25 IowaIowa -25.5
Sept. 2Mercer @ No. 22 Ole MissN/A
Sept. 2Portland State @ No. 15 OregonN/A
Sept. 2No. 3 Ohio State @ IndianaOhio State -30
Sept. 2Boise State @ No. 10 WashingtonWashington -14.5
Sept. 2Rice @ No. 11 TexasTexas -35
Sept. 2Tennessee State @ No. 13 Notre DameN/A
Sept. 2Buffalo @ No. 19 WisconsinWisconsin -27.5
Sept. 2UT Martin @ No. 1 GeorgiaN/A
Sept. 2Nevada @ No. 6 USCUSC -38.5
Sept. 2Southeast Missouri State @ No. 16 Kansas StateN/A
Sept. 2New Mexico @ No. 23 Texas A&MTexas A&M -38
Sept. 2Middle Tennessee @ No. 4 AlabamaAlabama -39.5
Sept. 2West Virginia @ No. 7 Penn StatePenn State -20.5
Sept. 2No. 21 North Carolina @ South CarolinaNorth Carolina -2.5
Sept. 2South Alabama @ No. 24 TulaneTulane -6.5
Sept. 3No. 18 Oregon State @ San Jose StateOregon State -16.5
Sept. 3No. 5 LSU @ No. 8 Florida StateLSU -2.5
Sept. 4No. 9 Clemson @ DukeClemson -12.5

College Football Week 1 Best Bets

Utah -5 over Florida

This line opened at Utah -9 and took a nosedive thanks to limited info coming out of Utah’s camp on quarterback Cameron Rising. The star signal-caller is coming back from a torn ACL and while the school has remained optimistic he’ll be good to go for the opener, the line now suggests otherwise. We still think the Utes are the proper play. 

They gave Florida everything it could handle in a 29-26 loss at the Swamp last year, and Utah could be even better in 2023 thanks to the return of tight end Brant Kuithe and a host of returning talent on defense. Florida turns to Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz to replace Anthony Richardson at quarterback, but that’s not necessarily a better option than a half-strength Rising. They’ve also got a new defensive coordinator and will be playing in an extremely hostile environment on the opposite side of the country, at altitude.

Best Bet: Utah -5 over Florida


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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Central Michigan-Michigan State Over 49

Both teams are facing all sorts of questions and uncertainty after disappointing seasons in 2022. The Spartans are favored by two scores, but we’re more interested in the total. Michigan State did lose a lot of skill last year, including quarterback Payton Thorne and wideout Keon Coleman hitting the transfer portal. Coleman is the far bigger loss and there shouldn’t be much drop off, if any, at quarterback. 

But defense has been an issue in both seasons under coach Mel Tucker and the Chippewas have playmakers, including the mobile Bert Emanuel Jr. at QB. The game could be closer than the spread indicates, but we expect both teams to hit on big plays under the lights at Spartan Stadium. 

Best Bet: Central Michigan-Michigan State Over 49


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


Ohio State -30 over Indiana

On the bright side for Hoosiers fans, this is a marquee game and the tailgating scene in Bloomington should be extremely live for the season-opener against the Buckeyes. We hope they enjoy the pre-game festivities because things will go downhill fast after kickoff. Ohio State has defeated Indiana by a combined score of 110-21 the past two years, and this Hoosiers team could be even worse. 

The scariest matchup is the Buckeyes’ elite receiving core – possibly the best in the nation – taking on a Hoosiers defense that was one of the worst in the nation against the pass last season. We don’t know if Indiana coach Tom Allen will survive the season, as things could go downhill fast starting with a blowout loss in the opener. 

Best Bet: Ohio State -30 over Indiana


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 drop off 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. 


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.