The college football season got underway this past weekend, with ranked teams like Notre Dame and USC coming away with lopsided wins. With Week 0 now in the rearview mirror, the official first week of college football is set to begin on Thursday, beginning with a showdown between Kent State and UCF.
There are a ton of uncertainties across the college football landscape entering Week 1 as programs have new players and coaches still getting acclimated. Some teams haven’t even announced starters at certain positions, which makes it even more important for bettors to keep tabs on news updates leading up to kickoff.
Even though we have a limited amount of information to pull from right now, we’ll discuss a few of our best bets for Week 1 of the college football season below.
College Football Week 1 Predictions
All NCAAF betting odds used for these predictions are current as of Monday, Aug. 28, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Miami vs Miami (OH) Prediction: Miami -17 (-110)
Brett Gabbert, the starting quarterback at Miami (OH), believes the RedHawks are the “real Miami.” However, he’ll be squaring off against an angry Hurricanes team in a hostile environment in the season opener.
The Canes had a disappointing 2022 campaign in Mario Cristobal’s first year as head coach, finishing with a 5-7 record. And although the RedHawks were slightly better last season at 6-7, the Hurricanes are the team that is desperate to get off to a fast start, especially with heavier expectations in the ACC.
- Stay up to date with the latest CFP National Championship odds.
Cristobal’s squad will look to bounce back after going 1-6 ATS at home in 2022, and it has a good chance to do so with Tyler Van Dyke returning under center. Miami’s defense is also littered with NFL talent that should stifle a mediocre RedHawks offense.
“The U" may not be back, but don’t hesitate backing them in this all-Miami matchup.
Western Kentucky vs South Florida Prediction: Western Kentucky -11.5 (-110)
Western Kentucky is returning nine of its 11 offensive starters, most importantly quarterback Austin Reed. Reed aired it out for 4,746 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2022 for the Hilltoppers, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t get off to a blazing start in 2023.
Besides Reed’s success under center, Western Kentucky ended last season with a 9-5 record after defeating South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl. On the flip side, South Florida went 1-11 in 2022 and has a new head coach in Alex Golesh.
The Bulls will need time to get acclimated, while the Hilltoppers will look to build off an impressive 2022 campaign where they went 6-4 ATS as favorites. I feel comfortable laying the points with WKU at home.
North Carolina vs South Carolina Prediction: Over 64.5 (-110)
A showdown between two Heisman hopefuls in Week 1, what more could we ask for?
UNC quarterback Drake Maye is expected to be an early first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, while South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler was once a big-time prospect who is looking to make a name for himself again with the Gamecocks.
- Check out our latest Heisman Trophy odds & best bets.
Last season, North Carolina and South Carolina surrendered over 30 points per game. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels and Gamecocks also averaged at least 30 points per game on the offensive side of the ball in 2022.
Neither team has done enough in the transfer portal to suggest that either defense will take a massive leap in 2023, making Over 64.5 an enticing wager.
Look for both offenses to come out firing in Week 1, with Maye and Rattler going toe-to-toe in a shootout between Carolina programs.
College Football Week 1 Schedule & Scores: AP Top 25
Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023
Florida @ (14) Utah, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023
East Carolina @ (2) Michigan, 12 p.m. ET
Virginia @ (12) Tennessee, 12 p.m. ET
Colorado @ (17) TCU, 12 p.m. ET
Arkansas State @ (20) Oklahoma, 12 p.m. ET
Utah State @ (25) Iowa, 12 p.m. ET
Mercer @ (22) Ole Miss, 2 p.m. ET
Portland State @ (15) Oregon, 3 p.m. ET
(3) Ohio State @ Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ET
Boise State @ (10) Washington, 3:30 p.m. ET
Rice @ (11) Texas, 3:30 p.m. ET
Tennessee State @ (13) Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. ET
Buffalo @ (19) Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. ET
UT Martin @ (1) Georgia, 6 p.m. ET
Nevada @ (6) USC, 6:30 p.m. ET
Southeast Missouri State @ (16) Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET
New Mexico @ (23) Texas A&M, 7 p.m. ET
Middle Tennessee @ (4) Alabama, 7:30 p.m. ET
West Virginia @ (7) Penn State, 7:30 p.m. ET
(21) North Carolina @ South Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET
South Alabama @ (24) Tulane, 8 p.m. ET
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023
(18) Oregon State @ San Jose State, 3:30 p.m. ET
(5) LSU @ (8) Florida State, 7:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 4, 2023
(9) Clemson @ Duke, 8 p.m. ET