College football is back.
The anticipation is palpable as fans around the country gear up for Week 0, the unofficial kickoff to a season that promises plenty of drama, upsets, and excitement.
While coaches are finalizing their strategies, bettors are meticulously scanning rosters, practice news, and prior statistics to make informed wagers.
Below, we’ll break down the NCAAF Week 0 schedule, analyze the key matchups, and offer our best bets for this appetizing slate of games.
College Football Week 0 Predictions
All NCAAF betting odds used in this article are current as of Tuesday, Aug. 22, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Notre Dame vs Navy Prediction: Navy +21 (-115)
In a storied rivalry that transcends borders, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are set to open the season against the Navy Midshipmen at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
Notre Dame, led by Wake Forest transfer quarterback Sam Hartman, enters the year as the No. 13 team in the country and with significant expectations in Year 2 under head coach Marcus Freeman.
However, Navy won’t be a pushover here. The Midshipmen put up a valiant fight in the most recent meeting between the two, falling 35-32 last November after trailing 35-13 at halftime.
Notre Dame was 3-5 ATS as a favorite last season, per Team Rankings, and this is a large spread to cover against a triple-option offense that will keep the clock moving.
On the other hand, Navy posted a 7-2 ATS record as an underdog, giving me ample comfort in taking the points, especially with a three-touchdown cushion.
Vanderbilt vs Hawaii Prediction: Vanderbilt -16.5 (-130)
Although the Vanderbilt football program will likely never reach the lofty standards head coach Clark Lea has aspirations for it to become, the Commodores were a much-improved team in 2022.
A November victory at Kentucky ended the team’s 26-game losing streak against SEC opposition, and a seven-point win over Florida the following week proved it wasn’t a fluke.
Those late-season performances should give Vandy a platform to start the season strong, especially against a Hawaii team that it dismantled 63-10 in last season’s opener on the island.
I’m taking the alternate spread here to get inside the key number of 17, but I’m pretty comfortable laying the points with the Commodores at home.
USC vs San Jose State Prediction: Over 66.5 (-110)
We’ll first see defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams in Week 0 when USC hosts Mountain West foe San Jose State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
After transferring from Oklahoma, Williams threw for over 4,500 yards and accounted for 52 total touchdowns (42 passing, 10 rushing) in a historic sophomore campaign.
While recreating those numbers will be challenging, the Trojans should be able to light up the scoreboard in this matchup, especially considering the embarrassment of riches they have on that side of the ball.
However, San Jose State should also contribute to this total. The Spartans have an experienced quarterback in Chevan Cordeiro, who could cause problems for a USC defense that ranked near the bottom of FBS in most statistical categories last season.
While head coach Lincoln Riley was aggressive in the transfer portal to address his defense, it may take some time for DC Alex Grinch to get all his recruits on the same page.
The Over was 11-3 in USC games last season, and I expect that trend to continue in Week 0.
College Football Week 0 Schedule
Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023
Navy @ Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. ET
UTEP @ Jacksonville State, 5:30 p.m. ET
UMass @ New Mexico State, 7 p.m. ET
Ohio @ San Diego State, 7 p.m. ET
Hawaii @ Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. ET
San Jose State @ USC, 8 p.m. ET
FIU @ LA Tech, 9 p.m. ET