Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Liberty after upsetting Baylor in 2017
- Your average college football Saturday can turn into complete chaos, which means there's moneyline value at times.
- Three of our college football experts are giving out their best moneyline underdog bets for Week 1.
- Take them straight, use them in a parlay or just enjoy. College football is back.
Each week, we will provide the three moneyline underdogs we feel hold the most value on the Saturday betting card. You can play them straight, throw them in a long shot parlay or just read for some additional insight.
Here’s what we have for Week 1. If you’re feeling lucky (or at least think we’re feeling lucky), a moneyline parlay of all three pays 49-1.
Wilson: South Alabama +330 vs. La Tech
- Odds: Louisiana Tech -10
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
Those of you who listen to our podcast already know that I love South Alabama this year, especially as a 10.5-point home dog in the season opener against Louisiana Tech.
My love for the Jags stems from my love for new head coach Steve Campbell, who left Central Arkansas to take over a roster with high upside in Mobile, Ala.
The offense is particularly talented on the outside with wide receivers Jamarcus Way, Malik Stanley and Jordan McCray. That trio of Power 5-caliber wideouts will cause trouble for a Louisiana Tech secondary that lacks reliable depth outside of cornerback Amik Robertson.
The Jaguars might play three quarterbacks, and they are extremely inexperienced along the interior offensive line (which is a slight worry against a pretty good Louisiana Tech defensive line), but I think the receivers will have that much of an advantage on the outside.
My numbers have this game at +6.5, so I’ll graciously take +10 with the Jaguars and dabble on the moneyline.
Stuckey: Liberty +190 vs. Old Dominion
- Odds: Old Dominion -6
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
- TV: WatchESPN
The home opener and first official FBS game for Liberty against an Old Dominion team I’m very low on? Sign me up for some Flames.
It also doesn’t hurt that Liberty returns 77% of its returning production from last season — the seventh-most in the country. That 2017 team went to Baylor and upset the Bears in Waco last year as 34-point underdogs.
Barkley: James Madison +300 vs. NC State
- Odds: NC State -10
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
Here’s a recipe for disaster for the Wolfpack.
Not only did they lose their entire defensive line to the NFL.
Not only did they lose Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels to the NFL.
Not only are they 129th in defensive returning production, but they open their season with a noon game against an FCS team. While it’s still the season opener, I would imagine a less-than-palpable buzz in the stadium.
That FCS team — No. 2 James Madison — isn’t just any FCS team, either. The Dukes are loaded with talent, but must replace their starting quarterback.
As of Friday, one still had not been named, but there are talented options, including frontrunner Ben DiNucci, who actually played against NC State last year when he was at Pitt. (DiNucci transferred to James Madison after the 2017 season.)
JMU also has a lot of recent experience playing FBS teams.
- 2017: Steamrolled a bad East Carolina team, racking up 600-plus total yards.
- 2016: Lost 56-28 to UNC, but that Heels squad had Mitch Trubisky and beat Miami and Florida State that season.
- 2015: Won 48-45 at SMU.
So my point is, the Dukes have done this before and won’t be afraid of the stage, stadium or opponent. And they will get to face a Wolfpack team with massive turnover that seems to always underachieve with their current coaching staff. It seems like a good spot to take a shot.