After a fun Week 0 appetizer, Week 1 is here and loaded with intriguing matchups.
Our college football picks and predictions are back with a look at the debut of multiple head coaches and programs looking to take a step forward.
Week 1 College Football Picks and Predictions
We got hammered in Week 0 last week. The uncertainties of the first week really came back to bite me, with the only win coming at the hands of an Alex Grinch defense.
Despite the 1-6 start, Week 1 is here to give us a week of redemption. There aren’t a lot of tasty matchups, but there are some really intriguing ones from an against-the-spread perspective. Let’s make some money this weekend.
Last week: 1-6-0 (0.142)
This season: 1-6-0 (0.142)
Overall record: 82-90-3 (0.477)
For all current betting odds surrounding the college football season, check out our live betting odds and make your plays today!
All lines are via Draft Kings Sportsbook. You can find the best available odds from sportsbooks all over the country below as well.
Louisville -7.5 (-110) vs. Georgia Tech +7.5 (-110)
The Jeff Brohm era begins for the Louisville Cardinals. The former Cardinals quarterback heads back to his alma mater with his former quarterback from Purdue in Cal transfer Jack Plummer.
At Cal, Plummer threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he enters a situation at Louisville where they look to have a potent passing attack. Returning wide receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce is joined by a dynamic wide receiver transfer from Georgia State, Jamari Thrash, who popped off for the Panthers last season.
The passing game looks to be potent, but they could have struggles on defense in transitioning to a 4-2-5 this season. Last season, the Cardinals had one of the better units in the country, holding opposing teams to 14 points or less six times in 2022.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are also a program going through a major shift. Former defensive coordinator Brent Key takes over as head coach to fix the Yellow Jackets’ offense, which ranked 115th in the nation last season.
He gets a prized and uncertain transfer in former five-star quarterback Haynes King. The former Texas A&M Aggie earned the starting job on two separate occasions and started a total of seven games. He couldn’t stay consistent or healthy, and Connor Weigman ended up taking over as the starting quarterback going into 2023.
Can King end up taking the Yellow Jackets to another level on offense? The good news is they have continuity on the offensive line with four returning starters and multiple transfers to improve the skill positions.
The defense has a chance to see an improvement with their continuity returning and transfers Braelen Oliver and Andre White coming in. The difference in this week one matchup will be the quarterback and head continuity that the Cardinals have. That will get Louisville off to a good start in 2023.
Bet: Louisville -7.5 (-110)
Stanford -3.5 (-110) vs. Hawaii +3.5 (-110)
The David Shaw era at Stanford is over, and the Troy Taylor era is set to begin on Friday night. The former Sacramento State head coach comes to a program that has been in disarray for some time.
After being a recruiting juggernaut under Jim Harbaugh and the first half of the David Shaw era, the Stanford Cardinals have been underwhelming for the past few seasons. Taylor has his work cut out for him, but there is some talent on offense in running back E.J. Smith and tight end Benjamin Yurosek.
They will be the linchpins of the Cardinals’ offense, but losing players like Tanner McKee, Michael Wilson, and Elijah Higgins will hinder their growth.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors looked ready to make a statement last week, having a chance to beat Vanderbilt in the final two minutes of a 35-28 loss. Quarterback Brayden Schager took a big step forward, completing 27-of-35 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest issue was the two interceptions he threw, with one of them coming to end the game.
The running game, which was a strength last season, only rushed for 40 yards on 25 carries. However, receivers Pofele Ashlock and Steven McBride combined for 14 receptions and 225 yards. The run and shoot is alive and well with the Rainbow Warriors.
The resurgence of Hawaii appears to be real after a successful end to last season and the start of this one. Stanford is still going through some things, and this line has already moved in favor of Hawaii by a touchdown. With Hawaii getting 3.5 points, roll with the Rainbow Warriors here.
Bet: Hawaii +3.5 (-110)
Virginia +28 (-110) vs. Tennessee -28 (-110)
The Virginia Cavaliers took a major step back under Tony Elliott last season. Despite having a mostly returning offense, the Cavaliers were really poor on offense. Brennan Armstrong struggled in Elliott’s timing-based offense, and he took a major step back. He ended up transferring to NC State, with Billy Kemp IV transferring to Nebraska and Dontayvion Wicks moving on to the NFL.
In comes FCS transfer from Monmouth, Tony Muskett who was named the starting quarterback for the Cavs this week.
For Tennessee, they lost a lot of talent on offense in Hendon Hooker, Cedric Tillman, and Jalin Hyatt, but they have plenty of players ready to step in and make an impact. Quarterback Joe Milton’s consistency is going to be the biggest key to the Volunteers’ success.
He won the starting quarterback job at Michigan in 2020 and Tennessee in 2021 but lost the job both times. He has five-star freshman Nico Iamaleava breathing down his neck if he struggles.
The biggest key here is going to be Josh Heupel’s offense maximizing Milton’s insane arm talent, and receivers like Bru McCoy at X and Squirrel White in the slot will make an impact in attacking down the field. The Cavaliers just don’t have enough on offense to contend with Heupel’s explosive attack, and this could get ugly fast.
Bet: Tennesee -28 (-110)
USF +11.5 (-110) vs. Western Kentucky -11.5 (-110)
This is an interesting matchup to start the year for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The USF Bulls finished 1-11 last year and weren’t very competitive in most of their games. They allowed at least 41 points in nine of their 12 games. The ones that they didn’t, they either won or lost by a combined total of seven points.
The starting quarterback is likely to be former Baylor Bear Gerry Bohanon, but Byrum Brown has been pushing for the job. The running game will likely be spearheaded by Florida transfer Nay’Quan Wright, who flashed when given an opportunity.
The Hilltoppers were up and down in 2022. They finished 9-5 during the season, including a dominant 44-23 win in their bowl game over South Alabama.
Quarterback Austin Reed has a lot of talent, but the transition from Division II West Florida to the FBS was tough for him. But there were real bright spots, including a dominant 73-0 win over FIU. He did lead the FBS in passing yards with 4,746 yards passing yards and dominant wide receiver Malachi Corley, who had an astounding 76% of his 1,295 receiving yards after the catch.
The defense is what will help the Hilltoppers keep the Bulls from covering the spread. Tyson Summers’ defense led the nation with 32 takeaways last season. The USF offense will have issues throwing the ball against the Hilltoppers, making it easier when the offense jumps out to an early lead.
Bet: Western Kentucky -11.5 (-110)
Rice +35 (-110) vs. Texas -35 (-110)
J.T. Daniels is primed to start for his fourth, yes fourth, college football team in his career. After an up-and-down season at West Virginia, Daniels transfers to the Rice Owls for his final year.
Offensive coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo has his best talent at quarterback with Luke McCaffrey on the outside. They did lose Bradley Rozner to the transfer portal, which is a big loss for them, but if Rice gets the good Daniels, they can win a few games in their first year in the AAC.
The question isn’t going to be if they can win against the Texas Longhorns. That is out of the normal realm of possibilities, but can they cover? They failed to do so against USC with a 38-point spread last season, and that was far and away their best opponent.
Is Texas back? That is a big question. Quarterback Quinn Ewers looked like the real deal before his left shoulder injury during the second quarter of the game against Alabama. Similarly to Baker Mayfield in 2021, Ewers was erratic once he returned. Now that he is fully healed, Ewers has a stacked group of weapons led by Xavier Worthy and a talented group of running backs in Cedric Baxter and Jonathon Brooks.
The Longhorns scored 49+ points in three games last year, including the season opener last season against UL Monroe. This squad is set to make the leap and will kick things off against the Owls with a big win.
Bet: Texas -35 (-110)
Texas State +27.5 (-110) vs. Baylor -27.5 (-110)
The Texas State Bobcats are going to be must-watch television this year. If you watched Incarnate Word last year, you know why. New head coach G.J. Kinne comes to Texas State from the blossoming FCS power, having led them to the semifinals averaging 51.5 points per game.
Kinne runs an Air Raid-inspired offense that is similar to what Art Briles ran at Baylor but with a more diverse running game. He will have a quarterback in Malik Hornsby that can maximize the scheme and a talented wide receiver in Ashtyn Hawkins.
The Baylor Bears are an intriguing team. Blake Shapen enters his second season as the starting quarterback. The offense was capable last season, especially behind running back Richard Reese. He returns this season with Oklahoma State transfer Dominic Richardson set to back him up.
The intrigue here is with the defense. Head coach Dave Aranda’s defense was inconsistent last season and struggled more often than you would expect. His units rarely struggle like last season. They were really poor against the pass, especially in terms of efficiency. That is what the Air Raid specializes in.
Baylor won last year’s game 42-7, but this Bobcats team looks much improved. With the uncertainty that the Bears’ defense is right now and the explosive scheme that Kinne runs, the Bobcats will cover the spread.
Bet: Texas State +27.5 (-110)
West Virginia +20.5 (-110) vs. Penn State -20.5 (-110)
Neal Brown somehow survived the offseason and remained as the West Virginia Mountaineers head coach. He enters the season with arguably the weakest team in Morgantown in some time. Garrett Greene finally takes over as the unquestioned starter, and he has the electric C.J. Donaldson behind him.
They did get transfer Devin Carter, who was a four-year starter at NC State, but the firepower isn’t going to be enough most weeks, especially with their defense. They struggled mightily getting off the field, and that is likely to carry over this year.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are set up to make some real noise. Like most years in recent memory, they have a lot of talent, and it starts with the dynamic duo in the backfield in Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. They came on like gangbusters as true freshmen last season. The biggest difference here is the Nittany Lions finally have a dynamic quarterback in Drew Allar.
Allar flashed massively last season in limited playing time and dominated when given the chance. A former five-star recruit, Allar is being given the keys to the car and can take this team to new heights.
This is a power five matchup that looked better when they booked it than it does now. With the firepower that the Nittany Lions have on both offense and defense, they will treat Happy Valley to a great first win.
Bet: Penn State -20.5 (-110)