College football is officially back, and with it, the best season of the year for gamblers.
Week 1 offers several intriguing matchups, with numerous powerhouse programs facing off against each other, as well as a few teams looking to continue to build on newfound success.
With over 100 FBS programs kicking off their season this weekend, it would be impossible (and fiscally irresponsible) to bet every game on the slate, so we’re narrowing it down to seven games you may want to consider throwing a few coins on this weekend.
Below are your best seven bets of the first Saturday of the college football season.
Michigan (PK) over Notre Dame
- Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have won their past two season openers by a combined score of 96-20. Michigan has high expectations this year and extremely little room for error, with a ton of pressure on Harbaugh to finish better than third in a tough East division of the B1G that features powerhouses Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State. Notre Dame is a tough place to win on the road, but Michigan will be prepared and has more at stake.
Alabama (-24) over Louisville
- Kevin C. Cox/Getty
Saban is essentially unbeatable Week 1. He’s 11-0 in his opening games as Alabama’s head coach, including six wins over other ranked teams, all of which came by double-digits. I hate the idea of laying 24 points with a team that hasn’t even named a starting quarterback, but it’s tough to bet against the Crimson Tide in this spot.
Washington (+2.5) over Auburn
- Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Possibly the most intriguing matchup of the Week 1 slate. Both Washington and Auburn have hopes of competing in the College Football Playoff this year and will be looking to get off to a strong start. Both teams have top-tier coaches and quarterbacks expected to compete for the Heisman, so I’m closing my eyes and taking the points in what should be a slugfest.
FAU (+21.5) over Oklahoma
- Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Lane Kiffin’s takeover at FAU was one of the most entertaining stories of the 2017 college football year, with the Owls turning the ship around after three consecutive 3-9 seasons to produce an 11-3 campaign capped off by a 50-3 bowl victory. Oklahoma is obviously on a completely different level when it comes to recruiting, but Kiffin’s team averaged over 40 points a game last year. Granted, it came against lesser competition, but a potentially high scoring offense getting a huge number like this is a rare occasion in sports betting.
Wyoming (+3) over Washington State
- Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
While you might be tempted to lower your expectations for Wyoming this season with the departure of quarterback Josh Allen, the Cowboys return eight of 11 starters on a defensive unit that led the country in takeaways last year. Don’t be surprised if they still make some noise in the Mountain West.
Miami (-3.5) over LSU
Nothing against LSU, but it’s tough to bet against the return of the turnover chain. The Hurricanes will be hyped and looking to avenge what was a dismal end to what started out as an unbelievably promising 2017 season.
Virginia Tech (+7) over Florida State
- Michael Shroyer/Getty Images
Virginia Tech and Florida State are two historic programs expected to have solid seasons but fall short of the playoff. While it’s tempting to back Florida State to bounce back after their 2017 season got off to the worst start imaginable, the seven-point line is too juicy to pass up. Even if the Hokies can’t win this one, I expect them to keep things close.
Now check out all the new uniforms for the 2018 season.
- Notre Dame Equipment