As we move past the NFL Draft and enter spring football, we’re starting to see more college football betting lines trickle out.
In New Jersey, 888Sport has now posted lines on four of the marquee matchups in Week 1. Alabama and Clemson are big favorites to return to the national title game but their openers (the Crimson Tide against Duke, the Tigers against Georgia Tech) are not considered the best matchups and don’t have odds yet.
Let’s take a closer look at the best opening week matchups:
Hurricanes Sizable Underdogs for Diaz’s Debut
The first game of the season will be Aug. 24 when the Florida Hurricanes face the Miami Hurricanes in Orlando, Florida. The Hurricanes, who will play their first game under Manny Diaz as head coach, find themselves as a 7.5-point underdog. Miami is fresh off a disappointing 7-6 season, including a 35-3 blowout to Wisconsin in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Florida (10-3) beat Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
Quarterbacking will be the key to this game as both teams are still finding their way at the position. There have been rave reviews of Feleipe Franks in The Swamp this spring but it’s still early. As for the Hurricanes, they’ll have a competition at the position going into fall.
Florida State Small Favorite Over Boise State
The Seminoles had their worst year in decades in Willie Taggart’s first season. They lost four of their final five games – mostly in ugly fashion – and didn’t even play in a bowl. In the past, though, Taggart’s teams have bottomed out early in his tenure and then he turns the programs around.
The Seminoles are favored by 4.5 points over Boise State in the opener, though. The Broncos will have to replace star quarterback Brett Rypien, who left for the NFL. His 3,705 passing yards and 30 touchdowns will be hard to replace.
Mack Brown Underdog for UNC Return
For the second time in five years, North Carolina and South Carolina will meet in Week 1 at a neutral site. The two sides will square off at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the Carolina Panthers. The Gamecocks have opened as a 7.5-point favorite.
The oddsmakers don’t think much of the Tar Heels this season as they’re at +6600 to win the ACC, according to 888Sport. Only three other ACC teams have worse odds.
Remember, this will be Mack Brown’s debut in his second stint as head coach for the Tar Heels. He hasn’t been a head coach since he left Texas in 2013.
Herbert, Ducks Small Underdog Versus Auburn
This will be one of the marquee matchups of Week 1 as most early power rankings have these two teams in the Top 20.
The Ducks will be led by quarterback Justin Herbert, who is going to be in the running to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Not only are the Ducks equipped with one of the top passers in the country, they will bring 16 other starters back.
Auburn will have to replace starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is now a member of the New England Patriots. It’s now up to Bo Nix or Joey Gatewood to take the reins.
Auburn is a 3.5-point favorite in this contest. The game will be played at AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.