9 Takeaways from College Football Week 1: Notre Dame Quiets the Big Ten Hype

Sep 02, 2018 4:09 PM EDT
  • College football's regular season is already 8% finished, so bettors need to adapt before its too late.
  • It's also important not to overreact to Week 1 scores and instead examine box scores.
  • Here are nine notable takeaways to use when handicapping next week's games.

College football’s first week is nearly in the books, meaning 8% of the season is already over. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Week 1, though it’s important not to overreact.

Examine box scores and don’t make rash judgments, but remember that the season moves quickly and you might get left in the dust as a bettor if you don’t adapt early.

Here are nine takeaways for bettors from Week 1.


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1. Great day to be contrarian

By Dan McGuire

Saturday was a good day for those betting underdogs and unpopular teams.

Teams receiving less than 50% of bets were 34-26-1 against the spread:

  • Less than 40%: 23-12-1
  • Less than 30%: 13-4
  • Less than 20%: 3-1

You can find public betting data on our live odds page.

2. Great day for points

Overs went 34-25, depending on how many game over/unders your book offered.

3. Michigan is still Michigan

By Steve Petrella

This tweet just about sums it up.

Michigan’s new quarterback, Shea Patterson, went 20 of 30 for 227 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. The bigger problem, which has plagued Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines teams for a few years, is the offensive line.

The box score of this game was incredibly even (307-302 Michigan in total yards) — it in part came down to “sequencing,” as illustrated by Bud Elliott at SB Nation.

Notre Dame had scoring drives of 75, 96, 75, and 41 yards. Notre Dame’s seven non-scoring drives: -4, 28, 3, 0, 3, 13, and 8 yards.

Michigan, on the other hand, wasted 47, 48, and 52 yard drives, coming up with no points. So if you played this game again, the end result might be different.

But there’s probably something to Harbaugh’s teams coming up short in big games. It’s not just coincidence anymore.

4. Tua Tagovailoa is Alabama’s (most dynamic) quarterback

By Steve Petrella

No surprise here. Tua started and dominated, though Jalen Hurts saw the field too.

But what bettors did want to know is if last year’s national championship second-half comeback was a little fluky, or if Alabama’s offense would only get better. It did.

Tua completed 12-of-16 passes for 227 yards and two scores — a whopping 14.1 yards per attempt. It was against a rebuilding Louisville defense, but don’t expect anything different moving forward.

The potential for this to be Alabama’s best offense under Nick Saban is certainly still alive. Expect more overs in the first half of the season. The Tide play Arkansas State next week, then Ole Miss and its dynamic offense.

5. Is Hawaii for real?

By Steve Petrella

As “for real” as Hawaii can get, anyway.

Coach Nick Rolovich brought back the run-and-shoot offense this season, trying to recapture the June Jones glory days on the island. It’s worked so far — 102 total points against Colorado State and Navy and two straight-up victories as underdogs of 10 or more points.

The run-and-shoot is actually a like the triple option, but through the air.

If you’ve never prepared for it as a defense, it can be hard to adapt to because receiver motion and in-route options open up opportunities and mismatches. Not many teams run it anymore, either, so like defending Navy’s option, it’s difficult to prep for.

Next week, Hawaii hosts a Rice team that gave Houston a scare as 25-point underdogs.

6. Kansas State in a tough spot

By Evan Abrams

How can we forget Bill Snyder and Co.? The Wildcats trailed by 12 heading into the fourth quarter at home against South Dakota and pulled it out.

But our Collin Wilson projects Kansas State as a 13-point underdog at home vs. Mississippi State in Week 2, and the Bulldogs get quarterback Nick Fitzgerald back from suspension.

The look-ahead line at 5Dimes was Mississippi State -5, but should be higher.

7. Value on Maryland and Texas

By Evan Abrams

Maryland’s upset of Texas (for the second straight year) could create betting opportunities for both teams in Week 2.

Maryland faces Bowling Green on the road in a potential let down spot, while Texas faces a bad Tulsa team at home — the public might be looking to fade Texas, which could create a softer line.

Last season, the Longhorns beat San Jose State 56-0 as 26-point favorites in Week 2 after losing to the Terps.

8. Big Ten East hype train slowing

By Evan Abrams

James Franklin and Penn State got the bejesus scared out of them in State College against Appalachian State, winning 45-38 in overtime.

The Nittany Lions travel to Pittsburgh, where Wilson has them as a 10.5-point favorite, and App St stays on the road to face Charlotte as a 9-point favorite.

In case you were wondering, when App State scared Tennessee in 2016, the Vols beat up on Virginia Tech the following week. In 2007, when Michigan lost at the Big House, the Wolverines lost 39-7 at home vs. Oregon before rolling off 8 wins in a row.

Michigan lost to Notre Dame. Penn State and Michigan State came really, really close to losing. The “best division in college football” didn’t look like it, other than Ohio State of course.

9. Bettors missed their football

By Dan McGuire

Shocker.

Notre Dame-Michigan received nearly as many betting tickets (43,000) as all 15 MLB games combined (55,000), based on our contributing offshore sportsbooks.

Credit:

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports, Pictured; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly and his team

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# BETS
-2.5
44
-1.5
41.5
55
-4.5
53.5
-2.5
-3
54.5
-3
51.5
-6
66.5
-4.5
59
48
-11
50
-12
-2.5
73
-3
73
67.5
-5
59.5
-5
-3
53.5
-2
49
-1.5
57.5
-1
61
55
-3.5
56
-2
61
-3.5
57.5
-5
41
-2
39.5
PK
56.5
-3
55
-4.5
-3
47
-3.5
48
-6.5
55
-4
55
54.5
-5
54.5
-3.5
-7
74
-1.5
67.5
54.5
-6.5
55
-3.5
50.5
-6
50.5
-7.5
-6.5
55
-5.5
54.5
-2
58.5
-2
57.5
56
-11
55
-13.5
79
-13.5
80
-14
-6.5
53.5
-5.5
53.5
-6.5
52
-6.5
52
48
-1.5
48
-3
-10
71
-8
74.5
45
-6.5
46
-7
58.5
-4.5
58.5
-6.5
-5
44.5
-7
44
-8
54.5
-7.5
55.5
48
-4
47.5
-7
58.5
-5
58
-6.5
58
-10.5
58
-13.5

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