College football Week 1 betting nuggets: Oregon, Indiana among trends to watch

Welcome to the first full weekend of college football, when we get to see many of the top contenders in action. Week 1 is also a time to see many prominent nonconference matchups, like No. 1 Alabama taking on Miami, or No. 5 Georgia taking on No. 3 Clemson.

With so many games, there’s a lot to look for when it comes to picking winners against the spread as well as which coaches are likely to hit their overs or unders. Let’s go around the country to have you ready for kickoff.


No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels (-5.5, 64) at Virginia Tech Hokies, 6 ET on ESPN

  • AP top-10 teams favored by single digits in road season openers are 3-10 against the spread in the past 25 seasons, including five straight ATS losses.

  • North Carolina is 1-7 outright in season openers away from home over the past 20 seasons. The Tar Heels’ only win in that span was as a 12-point underdog against South Carolina in 2019.

  • Virginia Tech is 0-9 outright in season openers against AP top-10 opponents, most recently losing 42-24 to No. 1 Ohio State in 2015. Among the six such games with spreads in our database, the Hokies are 1-5 ATS.

  • The under is 15-6-1 when Justin Fuente faces a ranked opponent (11-5-1 with Virginia Tech).

  • Phil Longo is in his third season as North Carolina’s offensive coordinator after spending two seasons as OC at Ole Miss (2017-18). Over the past four seasons, the over is 19-9 when Longo’s team is a favorite (10-7 with North Carolina, 9-2 with Ole Miss).


Tulane Green Wave at No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (-31.5, 68.5), Noon ET on ABC

  • Oklahoma has won eight consecutive games outright (7-1 ATS) since falling out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since October 2016.

  • Tulane is 16-9 ATS in the past two seasons, although the Green Wave are 4-5 ATS as an underdog in that span.

  • This would be the third time Tulane is an underdog of 30 or more points under Willie Fritz (since 2016). The Green Wave failed to cover in the previous two instances, including a 56-14 loss to Oklahoma as 33-point underdogs in 2017.

  • The over is 10-4-1 when Oklahoma is favored by at least 27 points under Lincoln Riley (since 2017).

No. 19 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers (-5.5, 50), Noon ET

  • Penn State has covered seven of the past nine meetings (7-2 SU), including four straight since 2012 (4-0 SU).

  • Penn State started 0-5 SU and ATS last season before winning and covering its past five.

  • Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in its past five home games, all as a favorite.

  • The over is 16-5-3 when Penn State faces a ranked opponent under James Franklin (since 2014).

Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan Wolverines (-17, 67), Noon ET on ESPN

  • Michigan is 7-0 outright against Western Michigan all time. Among games with spreads in our database, the Wolverines are 5-0 ATS against the Broncos (the average spread is Michigan -18.5). The under is 4-1 in those games.

  • Michigan is 4-11 ATS in its past 15 games against nonconference opponents.

  • Western Michigan is 7-1 ATS in season openers since 2013, including 3-1 ATS under Tim Lester.

  • The under is 17-3 when a Big Ten team is favored by fewer than 20 points against a MAC opponent in the past five seasons.

Fresno State Bulldogs at No. 11 Oregon Ducks (-20.5, 64), 2 ET

  • 2021 is Kalen DeBoer’s second season as coach for Fresno State. In DeBoer’s time with the Bulldogs (as offensive coordinator from 2017-18 and as head coach the past two seasons), the team is 24-9-2 ATS and the under is 24-11.

  • Mario Cristobal is 5-11-1 ATS when his team is favored by at least 14 points (3-8-1 with Oregon).

  • Fresno State is 12-4 ATS as an underdog since 2017.

  • The over is 9-1-1 in Oregon season openers since 2010.

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-19.5, 61.5) vs No. 14 Miami Hurricanes, 3:30 ET on ABC

  • Alabama is 11-2 ATS in season openers against FBS opponents under Nick Saban (since 2007).

  • Alabama is favored in its 81st straight game, the longest active streak as a betting favorite in FBS. The next longest such streak is BYU (18 straight, including this week).

  • Alabama’s win total is 11.5. The Crimson Tide went under in 2019 for the first time since 2010. The over was 6-0-2 from 2011-18.

  • Miami is 3-10 ATS against AP top 2 teams since 1993 (failed to cover five straight), following a 9-2 ATS run from 1979-91.

Miami (OH) RedHawks at No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats (-22.5, 50.5), 3:30 ET on ESPN+

  • Cincinnati has won 14 straight meetings (9-5 ATS, including three consecutive covers).

  • This would be the sixth meeting with the Bearcats favored by at least 20 points. Cincinnati is 1-4 ATS in the previous five such games.

  • The RedHawks are 2-10 ATS in regular-season games against nonconference opponents since 2017.

  • The under is 8-2 in the RedHawks’ past 10 games (played only three games in 2020).

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (-3, 45), 3:30 ET

  • Indiana has covered seven straight games as a road underdog, the second-longest active such streak in FBS (Oregon State has covered nine straight).

  • Indiana has covered seven straight games in conference play, tied for the longest active streak in FBS (Alabama).

  • Iowa has won six straight games dating to last season (5-1 ATS during its streak).

  • The over is 11-3 in the past 14 meetings since 2000 (all available totals in our database).

  • The under is 37-16-1 in Iowa games played in September in the past 15 seasons (all under Kirk Ferentz), the highest such under percentage in FBS over that span.

No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at No. 21 Texas Longhorns (-8, 58), 4:30 ET

  • Louisiana has covered eight straight regular-season games against opponents outside the Sun Belt.

  • Louisiana is 13-5 ATS in its last 18 road games.

San Jose State Spartans at No. 15 USC Trojans (-14, 59.5), 5 ET

  • This would be the fewest points the Spartans have given to a top-15 opponent since they were 7.5-point underdogs against No. 13 Boise State in October 2008. It would be the fewest points the Spartans have given on the road to a top-15 team.

  • San José State has covered seven straight games as an underdog.

  • San José State is 12-5-3 ATS since 2019, Brent Brennan’s third season as coach.

No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs vs No. 3 Clemson Tigers (-3, 51), 7:30 ET on ABC

  • Clemson went 5-7 ATS in 2020 following a 20-10 ATS run from 2018 to 2019.

  • Clemson is 15-4 ATS since 2012 (all under Dabo Swinney) in featured games (conference championship, playoff or bowl). This game could arguably fall under that definition.

  • Under is 5-0 in Georgia season openers under Kirby Smart (since 2016).

  • Under is 15-5 in Clemson games played in September in the past five seasons.

  • Clemson’s win total is 11.5 (under -135). The Tigers have gone over in nine straight seasons (excluding 2020).

Florida Atlantic Owls at No. 13 Florida Gators (-23.5, 52), 7:30 ET

  • Florida Atlantic is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 road games.

  • Florida is 7-2-1 ATS as a home favorite since 2019.

  • Florida is 14-6-1 ATS in its past 21 games as a double-digit favorite.

Kent State Golden Flashes at No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies (-28.5, 67), 8 ET on ESPNU

  • Jimbo Fisher is 15-4 ATS in games against nonconference opponents in the past five seasons, including 9-2 ATS with Texas A&M.

  • The Aggies have covered six of their past seven season openers.

  • Kent State is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games as an underdog.

  • The Golden Flashes have covered five of their past six road games.

No. 16 LSU Tigers (-3, 65) at UCLA Bruins, 8:30 ET

  • LSU is 13-6-1 ATS in its past 20 games as a favorite.

  • LSU is 6-1 ATS in games against nonconference opponents since 2019.


No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7.5, 55.5) at Florida State Seminoles, 7:30 ET on ABC

  • Notre Dame has covered five of its past six road games.

  • Florida State has failed to cover four straight season openers.

  • The Seminoles are 5-14-1 ATS as an underdog since 2017.

  • The Seminoles are 0-6 ATS in games against nonconference opponents since 2019.

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