Week 1 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Picks for Opening Week, Featuring Louisiana & UTSA

Week 1 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Picks for Opening Week, Featuring Louisiana & UTSA article feature image

Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Whittington.

  • A full college football Saturday is finally here, which means it's time for a Group of 5 parlay.
  • Mike Calabrese breaks down all three of his legs below, including UTSA-Illinois and Louisiana-Texas.
  • Check out all three legs of the bet below.

Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus Podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five Parlay of the week.

I can’t promise that I’ll always be siding with the pesky underdogs of the FBS, but I can promise that the payouts are sure to catch your eyes.

To get things started I’m looking to fade a team in the midst of a rebuild, backing a C-USA sleeper in Big Ten Country and praying for punts on the Forty Acres.

The inaugural Group of 5 Round Robin from “Big Bets on Campus” presented by @WynnBET@EastBreese and @Ianniello21 will be giving out a G5 Round Robin every week!

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— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 1, 2021

Reported odds as of Wednesday, Sept. 1. Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Photos via Getty Images.



NC State

NC State -18.5
Thursday, Sept. 2
7:30 p.m. ET
ACC Network

Devin Leary would have been the NC State starter from the get-go last season, but COVID-19 contract tracing derailed his fall camp. Once he won the starting job, he went 3-0 straight up and against the spread as the Wolfpack’s QB1 before a season-ending injury.

Leary returns to pilot an offense that has talent and experience across the board.

Sports Illustrated recently ranked their offensive front as the best in the ACC. Bam Knight has been a revelation in the return game and on the ground. And NC State returns four of its top five pass-catchers, including a pair of big bodied receivers on the perimeter (Devin Carter, Emeka Emezie).

South Florida’s 3-3-5 defense is set to replace three starters in the secondary and struggled with big receivers last year, most notably UCF’s Jacob Harris (5-110-3 TDs) and ECU’s C.J. Johnson (3-99-2 TDs).

Given the talent on the coaching staff, I expect USF to make incremental progress on the offensive side of things, but drawing an elite NC State defense that is fully healthy and primed for Havoc isn’t what the doctor ordered right out of the gate.

I have NC State laying 24.5 points in my power rankings, making this nonconference tilt too good to pass up.

Pick: NC State -18.5

Update (Friday, Sept. 3): This first leg of the Week 1 Group of 5 Parlay cashed easily as NC State blanked USF 45-0 on Thursday night.
Leg No. 1-of-3:Green Dot City




Under 58
Saturday, Sept. 4
4:30 p.m. ET

This pick is all about the defensive coordinators in this matchup.

Texas’ Pete Kwaitkowski and Louisiana’s Patrick Toney are superstars in the profession, plain and simple. Kwaitkowski presided over dominant defenses at Boise State and Washington, while Toney has helped cultivate the top defense in the Group of Five.

The Ragin’ Cajuns defense is ranked eighth nationally headed into 2021, per PFF.

Texas will be turning to a first-year starter at quarterback without the benefit of returning production from his receiving corps. Yes, Bijan Robinson will be the focal point, and he’s an electric playmaker. But I believe Toney’s defense will be able to key on him for 60 minutes.

As for Louisiana’s attack, yes they return nearly every starter, but the losses of Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas can’t be overstated. This is a running team that likes to win close games, as it did to great effect last fall.

Eight of the Cajuns’ 11 games last season went under 58 points, and I believe this game will follow suit and come in comfortably under the closing number.

Pick: Under 58

.@eastbreese and @Ianniello21 break down their Group of 5 ML underdog parlay for Week 1 🐶

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— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 1, 2021




UTSA +195
Saturday, Sept. 4
7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network

The Fighting Illini are trotting out backup quarterback Art Sitkowski, hoping to get the best of a quality UTSA secondary.

The Roadrunners return their entire back seven, a unit that held BYU’s Zach Wilson to his second-lowest QBR performance last season.

When UTSA has the ball, the running game (19th nationally in 2020) will take center stage. Frank Harris is the third-rated running quarterback returning in college football, according to PFF, and Sincere McCormick is coming off of a monster sophomore season (1,467 yards).

They’ll be running behind an excellent G5 line that returns five starters, featuring four seniors and a junior.

When you’re looking for a team playing up, you want a dog with experience. UTSA, now healthy, has the goods on offense and nearly knocked off a pair of top-25 teams last fall (BYU, ULL).

The Roadrunners won’t be intimidated by Illinois and have the game plan to overwhelm a defensive front that wilted down the stretch against Nebraska.

Pick: UTSA +195

College Football Week 1 Group of Five Moneyline Parlay

NC State -18.5

UTSA ML +195

Louisiana vs. Texas under 58

Parlay Odds: +975

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