College Football Player Props: 4 Week 0 Picks, Including Sam Hartman, Brayden Schager & Caleb Williams
Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Hawaii quarterback Brayden Schager.
- College football is officially back, which means the return of player props.
- Our staff has four player props to bet Saturday, including picks for Sam Hartman, Brayden Schager, Caleb Williams and Diego Pavia.
- Continue reading for our player prop breakdowns and picks for Week 0.
There's something special about Week 0. With this being the first week of the new college football season, every player who steps on the field will be looking to show out.
Our staff thinks three players, in particular, will shine on the first day of the season. However, there's one player our staff is fading — and that's the defending Heisman Trophy winner.
Check out all four of our player props for Saturday's first college football games below. Now let's enjoy every Saturday from now until December.
College Football Player Prop Picks
In the table below, you'll find each of our college football staff's top player prop picks from today's slate of games. Click on any pick or team logo to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Time (ET)||Player Prop|
Specific betting 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.
Navy vs. Notre Dame
By Doug Ziefel
Sam Hartman was one of the biggest names to enter the transfer portal after an epic last two seasons at Wake Forest. The gunslinger landed at a storied program in Notre Dame, and he has all the talent to bring them back to glory.
While the Fighting Irish are a team with a talented backfield, we should see Hartman get plenty of opportunities to let the pigskin fly against a weak Navy secondary.
Last season, the Midshipmen ranked 131st in Pass Play Success Rate Allowed and 120th in Pass Play EPA per Play. With this being a military academy, they'll have a lot of the same players on defense, and that only benefits Hartman's chances to find the end zone.
Hartman was a prolific passer in terms of touchdowns at Wake Forest, and this line is far too low for him in this matchup.
In his career, Hartman has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 34 of his 48 career games. That gives us implied odds of -242 that he will go over again here.
While that gives us solid line value at the current price, you can make it even better. DraftKings is currently offering a 100% boost for this game, and if you use it on this prop, the odds drop to -103.
UMass vs. New Mexico State
Any quarterback rushing total has to start with his team’s pass protection.
In the college game, unlike the NFL, sack yardage counts against a quarterback’s rushing total. This means that costly sacks can sink a rushing prop for a quarterback in a hurry. Luckily, Pavia is facing a lousy pass-rushing team that ranked 115th in sacks last season.
The Aggies’ offensive line also finished 23rd nationally in sacks allowed at just 1.23 per game (-9 yards per game surrendered). They return four starters up front and 65.1% of their line starts from a year ago. Plus, left tackle Shiyazh Pete was praised in the offseason as one of the Aggies' most improved players.
As for Pavia’s ability as a runner, there may not be a better rushing threat at the Group of Five level. New Mexico State sets him up on designed quarterback runs and dials up its fair share of read options. And then you pepper in his ability to break the pocket and scramble for chunk plays, and you start to understand why this is my favorite player prop of the day.
Pavia was graded as the nation’s second-best running quarterback (min. 25 carries) by PFF last season. His 88.5 grade reflects his tape, which is filled with highlight reel-worthy scrambles.
And finally, the risk/reward element of Don “Dr. Blitz” Brown’s defense will set the stage for Pavia to burn the Minutemen. I anticipate at least a couple of broken plays padding his rushing stats, as it did last year when he came off the bench and racked up 66 yards on eight carries. That included taking two sacks and burning UMass for a 48-yard carry while executing the read option.
Pick: Diego Pavia Over 33.5 Rushing Yards (Play to 39.5)
Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt
I’m always a little nervous backing Hawaii off the island in any capacity, but I think there are a few factors at play here that are going to allow me to hit this passing prop.
First up, Vanderbilt was awful against the pass last season. It ranked 129th in Passing PPA Allowed and 126th in Passing Success Rate Allowed. Not only could it not stop opposing offenses, but it couldn’t even contain them, ranking 90th in Passing Explosiveness Allowed.
Secondly, Vanderbilt plays fast, and Hawaii’s defense is not very good either. This should lead to a lot of possessions, and honestly, I’m somewhat anticipating a high-scoring affair with how bad these defenses are.
Taking a look at these charts, it should be clear that while both these offenses are anemic at best, somehow the defenses are significantly worse.
I think this is going to be a fast-paced game with a lot of offensive yards, if not a lot of scoring inside the 20. For that reason, I’m comfortable taking the over on Schager’s passing yards.
San Jose State vs. USC
By Alex Hinton
In two regular-season games against Group of Five opponents last week, Caleb Williams averaged 266.5 passing yards per game as USC outscored its opponents, 111-31.
Add a third nonconference game against rival Notre Dame, and that average drops to 255 passing yards per game.
This week, USC enters as a 30.5-point favorite over San Jose State. Its team total comes in at 48.5, which means it may be able to run away and hide.
While Williams is certainly capable of putting up 300 passing yards in a half, he won’t see much action in the second half — if any — if the Trojans are up big.
With a nine-game conference slate along with a trip to Notre Dame, this week and next week against Nevada may be one of the few chances head coach Lincoln Riley gets to give live reps to backup Miller Moss.
He also may want to take a look at incoming five-star freshman Malachi Nelson. This may be one of the four games Nelson plays in to retain his redshirt.
Fading the reigning Heisman winner on Week 0 may be a risk. However, his team is going to put up a ton of points this week.
If the Trojans defense holds up its end, Williams will likely get to relax in the second half and stay under this line.