CFB Week 1 Best Bets

Last Updated: Aug 24, 2023

I know: I’m submitting these CFB picks during Week 0, but I couldn’t resist trying to beat the book – and help you beat closing lines.

Take a peek at my best picks and leans for college football’s Week 1 slate, which starts Thursday, Aug. 31.

The lines I used for these early bets are current as of Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 10 p.m. ET.

CFB Week 1 Best Bets

Miami Ohio @ Miami (Fla.)

BEST BET: Miami (OH) +17.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Who’s the worst head coach in college football? If you go by point spreads, it could be Miami’s Mario Cristobal.

The Hurricanes were 1-10 ATS in lined games last season, Cristobal’s first as head coach. Miami certainly is more talented and athletic than Miami of Ohio, but I don’t trust Cristobal.

Miami has new coordinators on both sides, so there’s an adjustment period. On deck for Miami in Week 2 is a home marquee matchup against Texas A&M, and the Hurricanes probably don’t want to show too much of their playbook against Miami Ohio.

Miami Ohio is a sleeper team in the MAC. The RedHawks have nine starts back on a defense that could be the best in their league.

QB Brett Gabbert is healthy, too, after playing just four games last season. The Red Hawks can stay within this large number based on their strong defense and Gabbert to justify my top NCAAF bet this week.

Texas State @ Baylor

BEST BET: Over 59 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Did you happen to notice who Texas State hired as its new head coach? It’s 34-year-old G.J. Kinne, who coached Incarnate Word last season to the most points and second-most yards of any FCS school.

Kinne, a former star quarterback for Tulsa from 2009-2011, cut his coaching teeth learning a fast-tempo, ultra-aggressive offensive approach from Doug Pederson, Mike Norvell, Chad Morris, and Chip Kelly.

The Bobcats are heavy underdogs with nothing to lose. Baylor’s defensive weakness is its inexperienced secondary.

The problem for Texas State is slowing down Baylor’s balanced attack. The Bears upgraded their offensive line, getting sibling BYU transfers Campbell Barrington and Clark Barrington.

Baylor’s Richard Reese also remains one of the best running backs in the Big 12.

Now the Bears, who averaged 32 points per game last season, are stepping down in class to face this Sun Belt Conference foe. The sharp early money has been on the Over, so it’s the right way to go.

CFB Week 1 Betting Prediction Leans

UTSA @ Houston


Houston has the larger reputation, but UTSA is the better team with tremendous skill position talent headed by quarterback Frank Harris, who is entering his seventh year in college football and holds more than 30 school records.

Virginia @ Tennessee

BET LEAN: Virginia +28 (-110)

Virginia will be better in Tony Elliott‘s second season after losing three games by a combined seven points. Daniel Sparks gives the Cavaliers one of the best punters in the country.

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton has a huge arm but is overrated.

South Alabama @ Tulane

BET LEAN: Tulane -6.5 (-110)

When we last left Tulane the Green Wave had just nipped USC, 46-45, in the Cotton Bowl to finish 12-2.

South Alabama is a good Sun Belt Conference team, but Tulane enters the season as the best team in an upgraded American Athletic Conference with an excellent coach, Willie Fritz, and an elite quarterback in Michael Pratt.

🏈 Keep tabs on all our NCAAF odds for games to find the top angles to bet:


Stephen Nover

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