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6 Best Bets for Week 0 of College Football

Bill Christy
Written by Bill Christy
July 31, 2023
6 Best Bets for Week 0 of College Football

The end of July means one thing: It's time to seriously start preparing for the new college football season. We've already got our eyes on several games for when the last week of August finally rolls around.

Week 0 of college football is right around the corner! Jump in the market early with 6 best bets that we absolutely love. Good luck in 2023!

Best Bet: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -19.5

Coach Ken is out, and coach Newberry is in as the new Navy head coach. After years of handling the defense and leading them to consistent solid seasons, Newberry has been promoted to the head spot. He will still have the Midshipmen running the triple option and will have QB Tai Lavatai once again behind center.

However, they lost their starting FB, which in the triple option offense, will be a serious cause for concern. The defense was better than expected last season and with Newberry now the head man, the defense should continue to improve.

The Irish eyes have been smiling all offseason after Sam Hartman, the former Wake Forest QB transferred in to South Bend. He will be behind one of the top offensive lines in the country and have several running backs in his backfield to help get the offense going.

He will not have Michael Mayer at tight end after he left for the NFL, so he will make do with the limited playmakers he has at his disposal on the outside. The defense will be led by the linebackers, specifically JD Bertrand and Jack Kiser. There will be questions up front, but the play of Bertrand and Kiser should help alleviate the pressure.

ND has had the entire offseason to prep for the triple option and have seen in year in and year out with Navy being on their schedule. With Newberry being a familiar face, Navy should not have too much of a change in schemes, but it is a change, nonetheless.

Defenses are typically ahead of offenses and that is going to cause issues for the limited Navy offense. We expect ND to not only have Hartman air it out at times but to really beat up Navy’s front with a heavy dose of the run game.

Key Betting Trends for Navy vs Notre Dame:

  • Navy is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
  • Navy is 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. INDEP.
  • Notre Dame is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games on grass.

Best Bet: UTEP Miners +1.5

The Miners are heading into 2023 with the mindset of flipping their close losses last year into wins this year. They have arguable the best offensive line in the conference. Gavin Hardison will be back at QB to run the show for Dana Dimel.

They added Dre Spriggs from UTSA to give Hardison another weapon to go with returning receiver, Kelly Akharaiyi. Deion Hankins will tout the rock as Ronald Awatt is gone. The defense returns most starters from a group that was best in the conference in yards allowed per game last season.

Jacksonville State will look to pound the rock in 2023, much like they did in 2022. They add ULM transfer Malik Jackson. Te’Sean Smoot is likely to take over the reigns at QB and will provide another dimension to the run game as he is a dual threat.

However, he is a freshman and there will be growing pains. The defense will be led by their secondary and they will need to step up in a big way. The majority of their tackle makers from the line and linebacker positions are gone and that is from a defense that seemed to be nonexistent at times last year.

In a game that will likely be dominated by the running games of both offenses, we turn to the defense to help us make our selection. With the Gamecocks being so unpredictable and at times what seems to be lazy on defense, we have to lean towards the Miners in this one.

Key Betting Trends for UTEP at Jax State:

  • UTEP is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games played on a Saturday.
  • Jacksonville St is 4-16 SU in their last 20 games.
  • Jacksonville St is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games played in week 1.

Best Bet: New Mexico St Aggies -7.5

It has been a long road for the Minutemen ever since they made the leap to D-1. They have yet to have a winning season and last year was one of their worst. They finished 1-11 last season, and the offense was one of the worst in the country.

They averaged only 12.5ppg and their QBs combined for just 4 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The positive is their offensive line brought back 4 starters and will have a handful of backs that will get the run game going.

The defense was and will be led by their secondary. However, the numbers were good since they faced more rushing attacks due to opposing teams protecting large leads. The defensive line will need to improve since they had a tough time stopping those rushing attacks.

Jerry Kill is back for season #2 to lead the Aggies. He got a sweet tattoo after the Aggies won their bowl game last season and has a knack for getting young players uber motivated. He has Star Thomas and Jamoni Jones returning in the backfield but the man behind center is a question mark.

Diego Pavia is the incumbent while they brought in Eli Stowers from Texas A&M. Whoever the starter is will have 4 returning receivers that will be solid throughout the season. Kill took the Aggies defense from 127th in the country in 2021 to 29th last season.

UMass’s 2023 season is likely to start similar to most of their seasons, which is with a loss. This line should be at least double digits as the Aggies have weapons all over the field and a solid defense. UMass is going to have trouble putting up more than 14 points in this one where the Aggies offense should have no problem putting up 24+.

Key Betting Trends for UTEP at Jax State:

  • UMass is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 road games.
  • UMass is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in August.
  • New Mexico St is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
  • New Mexico St is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.

Best Bet: Ohio Bobcats +4

The Bobcats turned things around in year 2 of head coach Tim Albin’s tenure. He guided Ohio to a 7-1 conference record and 10-4 overall mark. He gets his QB, Kurtis Rourke, back after he tore his ACL late last season.

It remains to be seen just how well he has recovered and if he will return to his elite status. The receivers will be good again and have Sam Wiglusz back after scoring 11 touchdowns last season. Sieh Bangura stepped in for the injured O’Shaan Allison last season and went for over 1000 yards and 13 scores.

Defensively, the Bobcats were able to turn things around after an ugly handful of games to start the season. The secondary is their strength, and they will look to continue their upward trend of defensive play.

The Aztecs barely finished above .500 last season and had some interesting changes. They decided to take Jalen Mayden out of his role as defensive back and put him behind center. Once a Mississippi State QB recruit, Mayden was able to throw for over 2000 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 8 games.

He lost most of his receiving corps and the run game was lacking last season and will need to be addressed this season. Much like their receivers, the defense lost a lot from last season and is regrouping on all 3 levels.

The Aztecs have no business being favored here. The Bobcats should be able to win this one outright without the points. Rourke will surely be cautious in his 1st full game back, but we are positive the coaches will give him a simple game plan.

With the receivers that he has at his disposal along with 2 running backs that each have the ability to go for over 100 per game, the Bobcats will handle the Aztecs here on the road.

Key Betting Trends for Ohio at San Diego State:

  • Ohio is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Ohio is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games on fieldturf.
  • SDST is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
  • SDST is 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games on fieldturf.

Best Bet: USC Trojans -29.5

The Spartans were 7-5 last season and had a strong passing attack. Chevan Cordeiro led the offense and finished with over 3200 yards and 32 total touchdowns. He will need a running attack that will alleviate the pressure the offensive line will face in pass protection.

Cordeiro will also need to form strong relationships with new faces in his receiving corps after his top receivers left. On the other side of the ball, the line is the biggest issue. The linebackers will be solid once again and the secondary will be the strength.

Lincoln Riley wasted no time making his mark on the USC program. In his 1st year, along with Caleb Williams who followed him from Oklahoma, the Trojans finished 11-3 and just missed out on making the playoff. Williams was a runaway winner of the Heisman trophy and will be the odds-on favorite this season as well.

While he lost top target Jordan Addison to the NFL and Kyle Ford bolted for UCLA, they return their next 4 receivers and landed transfer Dorian Singer from Arizona, who should be an immediate impact player. On Defense, the Trojans grabbed the top defensive linemen from Purdue and Arizona which should help sure up their front. If they can be tough, the rest of the defense is sure to follow.

Lincoln Riley has no problem running up the score and putting the foot on the proverbial throat of the opponent. The spread is a bit large but for good reason.

This matchup oozes with the feeling that the Trojans defense could potentially outscore the Spartans offense. Caleb Williams should be able to have his way with the Spartans defense and pick them apart all night.

Key Betting Trends for San Jose State at USC Trojans:

  • SJST is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Pac-12.
  • SJST is 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
  • USC is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
  • USC is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. MWC.

Best Bet: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs -9.5

Mike MacIntyre had a rough 1st season. The Panthers finished just 4-8 on the year. He had Grayson James constantly pushing the ball downfield for the offense. At times it would click, in fact in their games in which he threw for over 300 yards, the Panthers won 3 of those 4.

However, he can be inaccurate at times and that can lead to turnovers. His line lost 3 of their 5 starters and will need to get guys to step up immediately. He will also be without running back, Lexington Joseph, who suffered a season ending injury in the spring. The defense returns most of their starters but those starters truly struggled last season.

La Tech has a tough year last season as well. They finished 3-9 in Sonny Cumbie’s inaugural year. Over the offseason, he brought in Hank Bachmeier from Boise State and will lean on him to run the offense.

Bachmeier should have strong weapons. Smoke Harris and Cyrus Allen will be the leaders of this receiving corps. Marquis Crosby and Charvis Thorton will be one of the strongest 1-2 punch in the conference for any backfield. A good number of transfers will follow Hugh Davis’s lead on the defense this season.

With a strong secondary and linebackers, this Bulldogs team should be able to take advantage of the inconsistent play from Grayson James and the FIU offense. Even if Bachmeier isn’t the solution for the passing attack, the Bulldogs have enough of a rushing attack to take over this games and get the win.

Key Trends for FIU Panthers at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs:

  • FIU is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games.
  • FIU is 7-20 ATS in their last 27 conference games.
  • LT is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games.
  • LT is 2-1 ATS in last 3 meetings with FIU.
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