College Football Odds & Best Bets: Our Top Picks for Week 1’s Night Games, Including Oregon State vs. Boise State
Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Boise State Broncos football team.
- It's been a great day of college football, but it's not over yet.
- Our staff came through with five best bets for tonight's games, including Boise State vs. Oregon State and Georgia State vs. South Carolina.
- Check out all five of our best bets for Saturday night's games below.
We all know that Notre Dame vs. Ohio State is going take center stage on Saturday evening. But in betting, we’re searching for the best value, not necessarily the best game.
Below our experts dive into four night matchups and offer up five best bets to help you wrap up your Saturday college football Week 1 betting card.
Saturday Night’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.
|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.|
Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio
Maybe this is recency bias, or maybe this is because I am very high on Charlotte. But Florida Atlantic came out and worked the 49ers last week.
The Owls won 43-13 and out-gained Charlotte 482-279. They posted a 51% Success Rate in the game and held the 49ers to just a 36% Success Rate.
Fifth-year veteran N’Kosi Perry went 16-of-22 with 256 yards and a touchdown. The Miami transfer added a score on the ground, as well.
He was part of a dynamic rushing attack that rumbled for 218 yards and three scores, all without their leading rusher Johnny Ford. Ford missed the game for “personal reasons” and was on the sidelines not in uniform.
He is probable to return Saturday and is a big addition to this offense.
On the flip side, Ohio returns just two starters on offense. The Bobcats are 115th in the country in TARP rating and will replace basically an entire team that went 3-9 last year.
One player that is back is quarterback Kurtis Rourke, who I am just not a believer in. He had just 12 big-time throws last year compared to 11 turnover-worthy plays.
The Bobcats’ defense struggled last year too, forcing just eight total turnovers all season. That ranked 128th in the country, and is almost impressive given that they play in the MAC, where turnovers are handed out like a roadside farmers market.
Ohio gets zero pressure on the quarterback, and that is when Perry tends to struggle. If you can’t get pressure or force turnovers, Perry should have no problem picking apart this defense.
Pick: FAU -4 (Play to -6)
Utah vs. Florida
By Cody Goggin
Utah will bring some high-scoring potential to the Swamp this weekend.
Cam Rising was a star at quarterback for the Utes last season, throwing for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns en route to a 10-4 record.
The Utah offense was among the best in the country, ranking 17th in the country in Success Rate and 10th in Passing Success Rate. Rising showed against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl that he’s capable of putting up massive numbers when the situation calls for it.
Anthony Richardson will be the Florida quarterback, and like Rising, was not the starter to begin last season. But once he started playing, it became obvious that he was the best option.
We don’t have quite the same sample size on Richardson, but Florida’s offense still finished 27th in overall Success Rate last year and 15th in Passing Success Rate.
Neither one of these defenses were great last year, as Utah ranked 44th in Defensive Success Rate while Florida finished 54th. Utah returns six starters on defense and Florida returns seven, so we should see defenses that look largely the same in Week 1.
With a new coaching staff in Gainesville, there’s also the chance that Florida’s defense still needs reps to figure out its system.
These two quarterbacks are electric and should be able to put plenty of points on the board against defenses that are just OK. This has a real chance of being the most fun game of the day on Saturday.
Pick: Over 51 (Play to 54.5)
Georgia State vs. South Carolina
The Spencer Rattler era will officially kick off on Saturday when the transfer from Oklahoma takes the reins of the South Carolina offense on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Rattler, the 2019 class consensus No. 1 quarterback will be reunited with head coach Shane Beamer, who was integral in his recruitment during their time together in Norman.
After starting four quarterbacks last season, the Gamecocks enter Saturday’s game with a bona fide QB1.
Rattler, the 2021 preseason Heisman favorite, looks to return to 2020 when he threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Rattler and Beamer will commence their second act with a host of weapons. The Gamecocks feature two big plays receivers in Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell.
The running back corps is very deep, and a veteran offensive line returns all five starters from last season.
The South Carolina defense looks to pick up where it left off after finishing 46th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 24.0 points per game with a challenging SEC schedule. Cornerback Cam Smith earned second-team All-SEC honors last year.
The trenches will be solidified as the Gamecocks return the same defensive line coach for the first time in five seasons.
Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott has made strides in improving the Panthers’ program, but they will be faced with a higher echelon of talent in Rattler and a top-25 2022 recruiting class for South Carolina.
Rattler was a massive get in the transfer portal and a huge upgrade at quarterback relative to what Beamer was working with last season. Look for him to make a statement in his first game as a starter in the SEC.
Based on last year’s statistics, I’m projecting South Carolina as 13-point favorites. I think the addition of Rattler and the continuity in Beamer’s second year as head coach is worth four to five points.
I’m forecasting the Gamecocks as 17.5-point favorites.
Pick: South Carolina -12.5 (Play to -14)
Boise State vs. Oregon State
What good is a full day of college football betting unless you wrap it up with a moneyline underdog?
In an environment where the Beavers were 6-0 at in 2021, Boise State has a real chance to pull an upset as 2.5-point road dogs.
Andy Avalos’ Broncos are looking to rebound after a substandard 7-5 performance last season, but they return a veteran quarterback in Hank Bachmeier and the majority of the best defense in the Mountain West.
Boise State’s defense ranked 12th in the nation last year — allowing just 19.0 points per game — and 20 of the top 22 tacklers from that squad return.
The Broncos’ strength was their pass defense, allowing 206.3 yards per game. Chance Nolan is back at quarterback for the Beavers, who had a mediocre passing attack in 2021 and don’t return their leading receiver. They should be rendered fairly one-dimensional.
The Beavers ranked third in the Pac-12 in rushing last season, averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground. The Broncos were much better at stopping the pass, but Oregon State no longer has the services of BJ Baylor, a 1,300-yard back in 2021.
I’m not expecting a landmark-type day from Bachmeier and the Boise State offense, but the Broncos are not going to be asked to score more than the high 20s.
The Broncos are playing Oregon State at the right time — while it is still identifying its top skill-position players.
The Beavers had a middling Pac-12 defense last season and failed to generate any significant quarterback pressure, finishing 109th in the FBS with just 20 sacks.
Bachmeier should have plenty of time in the pocket to avoid any costly turnovers and let his defense win this game.
It’s not super fun betting on an average offense to close out the night, but Boise State should have just enough to cash this plus-money ticket.
Pick: Boise State ML +120 (Play to +110)
Boise State vs. Oregon State
Why not go out west for our first best bet of the season?
This game won’t get anywhere near the same amount of buzz as some of the marquee matchups on the Saturday slate, but it quietly could be one of the most competitive contests.
Oregon State went 6-0 at home a year ago and Jonathan Smith has injected a good bit of momentum into his alma mater. Reser Stadium was renovated in the offseason, and the Beaver faithful should be out in large numbers for this opener.
Chance Nolan returns under center for OSU after a productive season a year ago. Nolan gets three of his four top receiving weapons back.
While Boise State does return veteran QB Hank Bachmeier, his favorite target Khalil Shakir is off to the NFL. Moreover, I have some significant concerns with the Broncos’ OL group, and they will face a formidable challenge in the Beavers’ front.
Ultimately, I believe the Beavers are the more polished team across the board. Combine that with what should be a legitimate home-field advantage, and I like Oregon State to go take this one in the second half.
Back the Beavers up to -3 in what should be a fun, late-night finale in Corvallis.