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Week 1 College Football Betting Lines and Analysis for the Top 25

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 2, 2021 9:14 am PDT

The 2021 college football season is upon us, and the opening slate of games ranks among the best of the year. There are several Top 25 matchups, and a few have College Football Playoff implications.

The season opener is a springboard, setting the tempo for many struggling programs or ones trying to get over the hump.

As interesting and as important as week one of the 2021 college football season can be, it also might be profitable. How you ultimately bet on week one is up to you, but a quick look at the week one college football betting lines doesn’t hurt.

Let’s dive into the week one college football odds for the Top 25 and break the matchups down.

Betting Lines for College Football Week 1

  • No. 4 Ohio State (-14) -110 at Minnesota (+14) – 110
  • No. 10 North Carolina (-5.5) -110 at Virginia Tech (+5.5) -110
  • No. 2 Oklahoma (-31.5) -110 vs. Tulane (+31.5) -110
  • No. 19 Penn State (+5.5) -115 at No. 12 Wisconsin (-5.5) -110
  • Fresno State (+20.5) -105 at No. 11 Oregon (-20.5) -115
  • No. 1 Alabama (-19.5) -110 vs. No. 14 Miami (+19.5) -110
  • Miami (OH) (+22.5) -110 at No. 8 Cincinnati (-22.5) -110
  • No. 17 Indiana (+3) -110 at No. 18 Iowa (-3) -110
  • No. 23 Louisiana (+8) -105 at No. 21 Texas (-8) -115
  • San Jose State (+14) -110 at No. 15 USC (-14) -110
  • No. 5 Georgia (+3) -110 vs. No. 3 Clemson (-3) -110
  • Florida Atlantic (+23.5) -110 at No. 13 Florida (-23.5) -110
  • Kent State (+28.5) -105 at No. 6 Texas A&M (-28.5) -115
  • No. 16 LSU (-3) -110 at UCLA (+3) -110
  • No. 9 Notre Dame (-7.5) +100 at Florida State (+7.5) -120

There will be blowouts in some games that feature no odds due to FBS against FCS competition.

A few non-conference games of the year candidates are noteworthy in Week 1, but the odds don’t tell the whole story.

Some Top 25 college football games won’t have odds, either, and you may notice they’re not included in this section. They may still be covered at some point in our college football betting picks section, though.

Be sure to bookmark that page, as I’ll be previewing a lot of the high-profile NCAA football contests throughout the season.

Now that we have the odds, let’s look at these matchups for week one.

No. 4 Ohio State at Minnesota

  • Ohio State (-14) -110
  • Minnesota (+14) -110
  • Ohio State to Win (-650)
  • Minnesota to Win (+500)
  • Over 63 (-110)
  • Under 63 (-110)

The Buckeyes will be a fun squad to watch this season on the offensive end, as they have two of the most explosive offensive players in college football.

Ohio State could be looking ahead to Oregon for Week 2, but the season opener should have the Buckeyes pumped. They have been a laser-focused program over the years and could expose the Golden Gophers secondary.

If you think the Gophers have a shot in this one, you better have faith in them scoring a ton of points. See my thoughts in my betting preview below.

No. 10 North Carolina at Virginia Tech

  • North Carolina (-5.5) -110
  • Virginia Tech (+5.5) -110
  • North Carolina to Win (-210)
  • Virginia Tech to Win (+180)
  • Over 64 (-110)
  • Under 64 (-110)

The Hokies are getting a lot of love from the experts for this one. Lane Stadium is one of the more challenging places to play, but North Carolina has Sam Howell.

Howell is a potential Heisman winner and one of the best bets to go first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has the skills to carry the Tar Heels throughout the season.

Virginia Tech has not been able to develop any quarterbacks in Blacksburg under Justin Fuente. He enters the season firmly on the hot seat not far behind Jim Harbaugh, Scott Frost, and Clay Helton.

See how I think this game plays out (and how to bet) in my North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech betting preview.

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Tulane

  • Oklahoma (-31.5) -110
  • Tulane (+31.5) -110
  • Over 68.5 (-110)
  • Under 68.5 (-110)

The Sooners are hosting this game due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Oklahoma will be one of the top offenses in the nation this season, led by preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler.

Rattler has a bevy of weapons at his disposal, and his quarterback whisper is the best in the nation. Lincoln Riley is not trying to get in the College Football Playoff, he’s trying to win it all.

Oklahoma is 0-4 thus far in the CFP, and they should have their best defense in over a decade.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has worked wonders in Norman. Tulane has a challenging schedule, but this is by far the top game, and it could be mission impossible to keep it within four or five scores.

No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin

  • Penn State (-5.5) -110
  • Wisconsin (+5.5) -110
  • Penn State to Win (+185)
  • Wisconsin to Win (-215)
  • Over 50 (-110)
  • Under 50 (-110)

The Big Ten has several exciting season openers due to both squads coming off struggling 2020-21 seasons. Both have been Top 15 programs in the CFP era, but many point to the success of the defenses.

That is where the point total seems a bit high in this defensive slugfest. The winner of this game would likely become the biggest threat to Ohio State, but Wisconsin has a more favorable schedule playing in the West.

It feels unfair that two stellar teams have to face off and one eats a loss early, but that’s how it goes. To get an idea of what to expect out of the Badgers, check out their 2021 season predictions.

Fresno State at No. 11 Oregon

  • Fresno State (+20.5) -105
  • Oregon (+20.5) -115
  • Fresno State to Win (+870)
  • Oregon to Win (-1500)
  • Over 64 (-110)
  • Under 64 (-110)

Fresno State put a beatdown on Connecticut in Week 0, but they could be in for a role reversal in Eugene.

The Ducks have the most talented squad in the Pac-12, but their schedule picks up in Week 2 when they head to Columbus to take on Ohio State.

This game is a name your score kind, and the Ducks could lose interest in this one and still manage to win comfortably.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami

  • Alabama (-19.5) -110
  • Miami (+19.5) -110
  • Alabama to Win (-1100)
  • Miami to Win (+700)
  • Over 61.5 (-105)
  • Under 61.5 (-115)

They are headliners, and Alabama has been on a binge of destroying teams in the opener. They handled USC, Florida State, Louisville, and Duke over the years.

Alabama has been favorites in 152 of their past 153 games. They are now at 80 straight games favored and are nearly three-touchdown favorites against a Top 15 squad.

The top sites for betting on college football have the Crimson Tide listed as near-three-touchdown favorites.

Good luck, Canes.

Alabama is obviously expected to win here, but what about the rest of the year? Check out their College Football Playoff odds and analysis below.

2021 Odds and Analysis for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Nick Saban and Alabama have been the top program in all of college football for some time now. Other than a few losses to Clemson, they have been the most dominant program we have seen in a quarter of a century. Saban is entering his 15th season in...

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Miami (OH) at No. 8 Cincinnati

  • Miami (OH) (+22.5) -110
  • Cincinnati (-22.5) -110
  • Over 50.5 (-110)
  • Under 50.5 (-110)

Luke Fickell has turned the Bearcats into the best Group of Five squad these days, and the only thing left is to run the table with a more challenging schedule.

They have just that with Indiana and Notre Dame on the slate.

The Bearcats have proven to have the defense to limit offenses playing from behind, and they could cruise here.

No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa

  • Indiana (+3) -110
  • Iowa (-3) -110
  • Indiana to Win (+140)
  • Iowa to Win (-160)
  • Over 45.5 (+100)
  • Under 45.5 (-120)

Iowa and Indiana offer another pivotal cross-divisional matchup.

Defenses matter in the Big Ten, and Kirk Ferentz is the dean of college football. He has the longest tenure of all active coaches entering his 23rd season.

He took over for Hayden Fry and began coaching during the BCS era. Times have changed, and Indiana is now ranked to start the season for the first time since 1969!

The under is intriguing with a pair of experienced defenses, where it could be a slow-tempo type of game.

No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas

  • Louisiana (+8) -105
  • Texas (-8) -115
  • Louisiana to Win (+270)
  • Texas to Win (-325)
  • Over 58.5 (-105)
  • Under 58.5 (-115)

The Big 12 against the Sun Belt could turn out to be one of the best matchups of the weekend.

A pair of explosive offenses can dominate when it is their turn.

The point total is a bit rich for my blood, and I am intrigued to see if both teams rely on the rushing attack to ease into their offenses.

Steve Sarkisian needs to avoid a rocky start in his first year with Austin. It won’t get any easier next week when they travel to Arkansas.

San Jose State at No. 15 USC

  • San Jose State (+14) -110
  • USC (-14) -110
  • San Jose State to Win (+500)
  • USC to Win (-650)
  • Over 59.5 (-115)
  • Under 59.5 (-105)

Clay Helton needs to keep picking up victories to ensure the team is ready for a conference title run this season.

Anything short of a Top 15 type of season could cost Helton his job.

The Spartans have a lethal pocket passer in Nick Starkel, and this is a game that could come down to the wire if the Trojans fail to dominate the trenches.

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson

  • Georgia (+3) -110
  • Clemson (-3) -110
  • Georgia to Win (+130)
  • Clemson to Win (-150)
  • Over 51 (-110)
  • Under 51 (-110)

The CFP implications in this one are endless. It could be the game of the year before December, and these defenses on paper could be the top two in America.

Georgia needs this game more, but a loss for Clemson could cost them a spot in the College Football Playoff due to a watered-down ACC.

The Bulldogs pop in my 2021 college football bold predictions, and if you ready that post, you can gather how I might view this week one battle.

Georgia has been searching for their first national title since 1980, and Kirby Smart has done everything but put together an undefeated, championship type of squad.

Florida Atlantic at No. 13 Florida

  • Florida Atlantic (+23.5) -110
  • Florida (-23.5) -110
  • Over 52 (-110)
  • Under 52 (-110)

This game is too lopsided to have a money line in some sportsbooks. Some markets will have it at -2000 for the Gators and +1000 for the Owls, making it not worth a wager.

Florida lost a ton of offensive firepower, so Dan Mullen will have his work cut out for him this season as programs such as Georgia and LSU improve from last season.

Kent State at No. 6 Texas A&M

  • Kent State (+28.5) -105
  • Texas A&M (-28.5) -115
  • Over 67 (-120)
  • Under 67 (+100)

The Aggies under Jimbo Fisher have emerged as a perennial contender on the national landscape.

They improved their play at the line of scrimmage and should bury the opposition in the early going.

Even though replacing Kellen Mond may not be a walk in the park, the loaded talent in the backfield is impressive.

No. 16 LSU at UCLA

  • LSU (-3) -110
  • UCLA (+3) -110
  • LSU to Win (-160)
  • UCLA to Win (+140)
  • Over 66 (-110)
  • Under 66 (-110)

Ed Orgeron is coming off a challenging season one year after winning the national championship.

LSU should get back to their winning ways despite this non-conference season opener against the Bruins.

Containing Dorian Thompson-Robinson will be the key to the game, but the Tigers should be able to score enough points to avoid a letdown at the Rose Bowl.

No. 9 Notre Dame at Florida State

  • Notre Dame (-7.5) +100
  • Florida State (+7.5) -120
  • Notre Dame to Win (-300)
  • Florida State to Win (+250)
  • Over 55.5 (-110)
  • Under 55.5 (-110)

The final Top 25 matchup of the weekend could come down to the wire. A battle of quarterbacks will make for an intriguing season opener in Tallahassee.

Jack Coan was suspect at Wisconsin, but the pieces were never complete in the passing game.

McKenzie Milton was a productive signal-caller for UCF, and he may be the perfect pocket passer that Mike Norvell needs to get back to relevance in the ACC.

Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish have title aspirations. If they’re going to make it happen, their season needs to start with a convincing win here.

2021 College Football Betting Advice for Week 1

The slate of games in Week 1 ranks up there as one of the best season openers on paper, ever.

There is value on several teams that underperformed last season.

Be sure to check out different sportsbooks to get the best numbers since there will be favorable matchups throughout the season.

Be wary of any injuries during the season and know the latest trends when teams are in a drought or catching fire at the right time.

Not sure how to bet? Hopefully my breakdown of the week one college football betting lines helps, and you can always check out our college football picks page.

To get even better prepared, use these college football betting strategies to help you have a successful 2021 betting season.



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