The College Football opening weekend was a bit of a letdown. Nebraska managed to claw their way back into the game near the end, but most of the games in Week 0 were complete blowouts. Hey, at least we guided you to a perfect 4-0 start, even if it was uneventful; it was a profitable week for all of those who took our advice.
This week, we have four more games we like, as well as one incredible DraftKings Promo where you can wager up to $25 on Clemson and Georgia to go over 1.5 total points for a +100 payout! (Max one bet per customer).
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Thank goodness, the high-profile matchups are here. This week, we get #10 North Carolina at Virginia Tech, #19 Penn State at #12 Wisconsin, #17 Indiana at #18 Iowa, #9 Notre Dame at Florida State, #5 Georgia facing #3 Clemson in Charlotte, and #14 Miami facing #1 Alabama in Atlanta. It’s an action-packed weekend and BestBetUSA has the inside track on the best matchups.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Louisville vs Ole Miss -10 (-110)
I’m normally a little dubious of these opening games at neutral sites. However, Ole Miss is the kind of team who can win this game by four touchdowns (or lose it by three). Ole Miss is returning a great majority of key players on offense (minus Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah), and their defense will likely be much better than it was a year ago (126th out of 127 teams in Yardage allowed per game).
Offensively, the Rebels were 3rd out of 127 team in totals yards gained per game in 2020. With John Rhys Plumlee moving to receiver, Senior Matt Corral now has the full support and control of the Rebels’ potent offense. In the Outback Bowl last year, the Rebels upset #6 Indiana, despite the absence of Elijah Moore. This season, Lane Kiffin has re-loaded with another stellar recruiting class, with emphasis on defense.
Louisville is coming off a 4-7 season in which their defense was very much a Jeryl and Hyde unit. Offensively, the Cardinals were powered by electric skill position players (Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Javian Hawkins). Without those guys this season, Louisville is likely to be searching for playmaking as this game progresses.
Ole Miss is carrying a lot of positive momentum going into this game, along with a dynamic and difficult offense to prepare for. I like Ole Miss to win a boat race here.
Ole Miss 52 Louisville 24
#5 Georgia vs #3 Clemson -2.5 (-105)
Any time you get an opening game with two high-profile programs, you’re going to draw a lot of attention with bettors. All eyes will be on this game, but there is a lot of mystery with this matchup, despite the high-profile teams involved. Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei will only be starting his third game and Clemson. DJ is a highly anticipated prospect with a cannon for an arm and the ability to get yardage on the ground like a large running back. On the other side, JT Daniels is a talented, albeit less anticipated quarterback, who gave the Georgia offense a boost in his limited time to close last season.
Whatever we knew about these teams last season, we have to press the pause button heading into this season. What we know about these teams thus far should be reflected in how we view their coaches. Kirby Smart has failed to deliver a national title to Georgia, despite being pumped every preseason. Dabo Swinney has a few national titles but more importantly, gets his teams well-prepared for his openers.
I’m not excited about the lack of potency from these UGA receivers. I also don’t trust Daniels in a game of this magnitude, given his struggles with consistency. Even if DJ is more inexperienced on the other side, I feel like he’s such a threat on the ground that Clemson won’t need him to force throws. I like Clemson in a close one. Don’t forget it’s promo time. Be sure to apply the “Hammer the Over” Promo on DraftKings for an easy $25.
Clemson 27 Georgia 23
#19 Penn State at #12 Wisconsin -5 (-110)
Wisconsin is back to their old tricks, which aren’t really tricks. They love to line up with heavy personnel and just run it down the opposing team’s throats. Despite this philosophy, Wisconsin has managed to attract talented quarterbacks over the years (Russell Wilson). Last season, the Badgers got off to a fantastic start with freshman Graham Mertz under center. This year, Mertz is back, and the Badgers aspire to regain their 2019 form.
Penn State is an interesting team. For a few seasons now, Sean Clifford has had a very roller coaster career. The Nittany Lions lost their best defender (linebacker, Micah Parsons) and their most reliable safety net for Sean Clifford on offense (tight end, Pat Friermuth). The one major weapon for the Nittany Lions is a wide receiver, Jahan Dotson. Dotson is a tall, dangerous target downfield. He’s the X-factor in this game.
I do expect Jahan Dotson to make a few big plays, but I can’t get over Wisconsin playing at home, defending a limited Penn State attack. Though there’s a lot to be understood about Wisconsin’s effectiveness on the ground this season, the loss of Micah Parsons will make it very difficult for the Nittany Lions in the trenches.
Wisconsin 23 Penn State 17
#9 Notre Dame at Florida State +7.5 (-120)
I remember the 1993 game pretty vividly. It was a regular season matchup between the top two teams in Southbend, IN. The story was, Notre Dame didn’t cut the grass leading up to the game in order to slow down all the speed of Florida State. It went down as one of the most amazing regular season games in college football history.
Nearly 30 years later, both teams aren’t quite the same elite programs they were in the early 1990s. Mike Norvell took over at Florida State for Willie Taggart and subsequently went 3-6 in his first season. However, it’s worth noting the Seminoles will be starting former famed UCF QB Mckenzie Milton. It’s also worth noting Norvell had a tremendous stint as the coach of the Memphis Tigers, leading them to a Cotton Bowl berth just a couple seasons ago.
Notre Dame will have Jack Coan behind center, replacing the recently drafted Ian Book. Coan was a starter at Wisconsin, but lacks the talent to justifiably compared to Book. Notre Dame should have the advantage in the trenches, but Coan is not the kind of guy you want to be leading your team in an opener on the road in a hostile environment.
When I look at this game to pick a winner, I think Florida State has every reason and motivation to come out hot. I like for them to get out to an early lead at home, and I think it should be enough to preserve a safe cover in the end. I think this game will come down to one score and for that, I have to take FSU and the points.
Notre Dame 23 Florida State 20