College Football Week 1 Odds, Picks: 4 Best Bets for Friday, Featuring Colorado vs. TCU
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Duggan (TCU)
- Week 1 of the college football season rolls on Friday with plenty of high-value bets available.
- Our staff came through with four best bets for Friday, including TCU vs. Colorado and Illinois vs. Indiana.
- Check out all four of our best bets for Friday's college football games below.
We're one day away from one of the most chaotic Saturdays of the college football season. But before we turn our attention to the massive slate, we have eight matchups on Friday evening, including an intriguing late-night game.
There's plenty of value from a betting perspective, so our experts have four best bets across four different matchups for Friday.
Friday's College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Odds via FanDuel. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Western Michigan vs. Michigan State
By Cody Goggin
Michigan State went 11-2 and climbed to as high as fifth in the AP Top 25 last season. This sounds great until you realize this team was not quite as good as its record shows.
The Spartans ranked just 62nd in Offensive Success Rate and 93rd in Defensive Success Rate. This is hardly the mark of an 11-2 team.
In reality, they were carried by explosive plays on both sides of the ball. If they regress to the mean, there’s a chance they disappoint this season.
Kenneth Walker III, who was a first-team All-American and carried this offense at running back, left for the NFL. Replacing Walker and three starting offensive linemen will be the largest task for Mel Tucker’s offense this season.
Defensively, nine starters return and the unit should improve on its Success Rate from last year. The way to attack this defense last year was through the air, where it ranked 104th in Passing Success Rate.
Unfortunately for Western Michigan, it’s probably not the team to take advantage of this. Kaleb Eleby had been the starting quarterback of this offense for the last couple of years and played well before leaving for the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
The Broncos also lose three starting offensive linemen and four of their top five receivers from last year, including Kansas City Chiefs second-round pick Skyy Moore.
Western Michigan’s defense is among the best in the MAC. Last year, it ranked 27th in Success Rate, including an impressive eighth against the pass. The Broncos bring back seven starters on this side of the ball and should be able to handle Payton Thorne and Michigan State’s rebuilt offense.
The continuity on defense for both teams and the lack thereof on offense both seem to point in a similar direction. Both teams are replacing their best players from offenses that were mediocre at best last year and will be facing stronger defenses.
I like this to be an old-school field position game that easily hits the under.
Pick: Under 54.5 (Play to 52.5)
Duke vs. Temple
Who doesn’t want to spend a Friday night sweating a Duke under after the Blue Devils couldn’t stop a single nosebleed in 2021?
Duke brought in new head coach Mike Elko, one of the most respected defensive coordinators in college football. I assume there will be an immediate improvement under his tutelage.
Plus, it’s not like the Blue Devils are going up against an offensive juggernaut in Temple. The Owls also brought in a new coach in Stan Drayton. As a former running backs coach, he may focus on that aspect for a struggling offense.
Meanwhile, Temple’s defense is in much better shape than the offense and will go up against a Duke offense that has a new quarterback under center.
The Blue Devils also lost their leading receiver and star running back Matteo Durant, who rushed for over 1,200 yards last year, while adding 27 receptions for 256 yards.
Pick: Under 51.5 (Play to 51)
Illinois vs. Indiana
Winning teams have covered 14 straight in this Illinois-Indiana series, so I see value in bypassing the points and taking Illinois on the moneyline.
Illinois junior running back Chase Brown exploded for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the Illini’s Week 0 win over Wyoming. In total, Illinois gained 260 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, and it’s likely to see this success continue in Week 1 against Indiana.
The Hoosiers ranked 86th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed last season, while Illinois finished fifth in rushing play Explosiveness.
Indiana turned to the transfer portal to find answers on a defensive line that allowed 386 yards per game last season. Look for this unit to take some time to find its chemistry.
Expect big plays early and often from a group led by Bret Bielema’s offensive line that returns 74 career starts.
Pick: Illinois ML +110 (Play to +100)
TCU vs. Colorado
Going into this season, TCU quickly became my favorite sleeper team to win its respective conference. While I normally avoid coaching overhauls like the plague, I couldn’t help but fall in love with everything TCU is doing.
New head coach Sonny Dykes will look to implement a whole new Air Raid offense for the Horned Frogs — the same style that led SMU to success.
On the other end, TCU brings in highly-touted defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie from Tulsa. With Gillespie implementing a 3-3-5, the Frogs would be hard-pressed not to improve from last year's bottom-of-the-barrel rankings.
With very high TARP ratings on both sides of the ball, continuity will be there along with the refreshing change of play.
The quarterbacks are still in a duel, with Max Duggan and Chandler Morris battling it out. That only spells trouble for Colorado, as both quarterbacks will want to put their stamp on the game to secure the role for the rest of the season.
With Colorado’s offense looking lackluster throughout the offseason, TCU will have plenty of chances to fine-tune its new defense as its offense takes advantage of a weak secondary.
Play TCU -13.5 or better as it puts the Big 12 on notice.