College football odds, Week 1 lines: The best games could be the closest


The betting lines for college football’s first big weekend are out, with point spreads ranging from the close contests expected in Alabama-Florida State and Michigan-Florida to the more lop-sided expectations, like defending champion
Clemson Tigers
starting the season as more than a five-touchdown favorite against
Kent State Golden Flashes

Each week, we will look at the early game lines, courtesy of our friends at SportsLine. Here are the lines you need to know — and some to steer clear of — for Week 1 of the college football season.

Lines you need to know

No. 1
Alabama Crimson Tide
(-7) vs. No. 3
Florida State Seminoles
: It’s the Greatest Opener of All Time (GOOAT), and any movement on the one-touchdown spread should be watched carefully as we move closer to kickoff. Ultimately, the expectation here is that Alabama will win and Florida State will compete, but if you think the Seminoles can pull off the upset, there’s an opportunity waiting for you should the public hammer Bama hard and push this line to 7.5. 

No. 11
Michigan Wolverines
(-5) vs. No. 17
Florida Gators
: The
Antonio Callaway
suspension adjustment has already taken place, and given the instability at quarterback for Florida during spring practice and fall camp, it’s likely that the line is set no matter who ends up taking the first snap for the Gators. There are ton of new, talented faces that will be making their debut here, allowing fans to familiarize themselves with the next crop of playmakers at these powerhouse programs.  

No. 21
Virginia Tech Hokies
(-4.5) vs. No. 22
West Virginia Mountaineers
: Justin Fuente’s 10-win debut in Blacksburg has experts and the oddsmakers alike high on the Hokies’ 2017 outlook. Both teams will be breaking in new starting quarterbacks, with
Josh Jackson
taking over for
Jerod Evans
at Virginia Tech and former Florida quarterback
Will Grier
returning to the field for West Virginia. This Sunday night, FedEx Field hosted showdown between regional rivals could be one of the best games of the weekend.

No. 10
Oklahoma State Cowboys
(-18) vs.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
: The expectation for Thursday night in Stillwater is points, with an over-under currently sitting just north of 70. It shouldn’t take long for quarterback
Mason Rudolph
and wide receiver
James Washington
to stake their claim as the most dynamic duo in college football, as the big question for bettors regards faith in a new starting quarterback leading that dynamic Tulsa offense.  

No. 2
Ohio State Buckeyes
(-20.5) at
Indiana Hoosiers
A road Big Ten opener for a national title favorite is normally a stay-away game, but the Buckeyes might have some value as long as this line stays south of 21 considering its new offensive coordinator,
Kevin Wilson
, has the opponent scouted pretty well as the former Hoosiers head coach and an upgrade in offensive talent from the last time he was coaching in Memorial Stadium.  

Consider staying away

No. 8
Washington Huskies
(-27.5) at
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
: Laying nearly four touchdowns on a Friday night cross-country road trip? You don’t want to be sweating out a Kyle Bolin-led backdoor cover in the fourth quarter.
Jake Browning
and Washington should win by double-digits — and potentially by 30 — but there are too many variables in play.  

No. 9
Wisconsin Badgers
(-27.5) vs.
Utah State Aggies
: The Badgers offense finished last year putting 30+ points on the board in its final three regular season games, but I could also see the desire to take care of business and keep the starters healthy — particularly with the recent preseason injury issues — lead to Utah State hanging around or sneaking in the backdoor. 

No. 5 Clemson (-40) vs. Kent State: Clemson is one of the best teams in college football and Kent State was picked to finish near the bottom of the MAC, but this is too many daggum points to feel comfortable taking any side.  

No. 13
LSU Tigers
(-15.5) vs.
Brigham Young Cougars
: The Cougars already have one game under their belt, besting Portland State 20-6 in the opener, and LSU will be without its best defensive player in
Arden Key
. Throw in the complications of the game moving to New Orleans because of Hurricane Harvey and this one falls firmly in the “stay away” column. 

No. 23
Texas Longhorns
(-18.5) vs.
Maryland Terrapins
: Early kickoff, new head coach and a Maryland team that will likely try to disrupt the debut of the re-tooled Texas offense. The Longhorns have the better team, we think, but don’t be surprised if this game is close at halftime and stressful.  

Best of the rest 

  • No. 4 USC (-28) vs.
    Western Michigan Broncos
  • No. 6
    Penn State Nittany Lions
    (-30.5) vs. Akron 
  • No. 7
    Oklahoma Sooners
    (-43) vs.
    Texas-El Paso Miners
  • No. 12 Auburn (-34.5) vs.
    Georgia Bulldogs
  • No. 15 Georgia (14.5) vs.
    Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • No. 16
    Louisville Cardinals
    (-25) vs.
    Purdue Boilermakers
  • No. 25
    Tennessee Volunteers
    (-3) vs.
    Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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