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Brendan's Best Bets: Week 1 picks

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Kickoff is here! College football is officially back and it is gracing our tv sets once again.

Week 1 features some pivotal games. Florida State takes on LSU in a top 10 battle, Florida travels to Utah, Deion Sanders and Colorado open at TCU and more.

For this edition of Brendan’s Best Bets, we are taking a look at the Week 1 slate. Odds are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.

Louisville -7.5 (-105)

Louisville has been the trendy pick in the preseason to make a run in the ACC. The schedule is one of the easiest in the conference and they are bringing in Jack Plummer at quarterback. Plummer is reuniting with former head coach Jeff Brohm. Georgia Tech will be starting Haynes King at QB. King is a transfer from Texas A&M and had a 56 completion percentage, 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions last season. The Yellow Jackets averaged 17.2 points per game last season and they need a spark on that side of the ball and I struggle to find where that will come from with this roster.

This game is not at Bobby Dodd Stadium either. It will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the Atlanta Falcons play. The crowd won’t be super hostile. I like the Cardinals to win by double digits. You could even play the alternate spread at -9.5 and get plus odds here.

Michigan -35.5 (-115)

Michigan enters the year as one of the favorites to win the National Championship. The Wolverines bring back JJ McCarthy at quarterback, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards at running back. On defense, Michigan has a ton of talent as usual. East Carolina was a good team last year. The Pirates went 8-5 with a bowl victory against Coastal Carolina. East Carolina returns just 10 starters from that team though.

Michigan has the power up front to dominate this game from the first whistle. I don’t expect the Wolverines to give up a lot of points in this game and they should have their way offensively, especially on the ground. Even with Jim Harbaugh not on the sidelines for this game, I expect Michigan to win convincingly.

Ohio State -29.5 (-115)

Ohio State is breaking in a new quarterback this season. Kyle McCord will get the start but Devin Brown will likely get some burn as well. Indiana is a mystery this season. Head coach Tom Allen is fighting for his job and he hit the portal hard.

I expect Indiana to have some growing pains in game one with a new quarterback and inexperienced roster. Ohio State might have growing pains as well but the Buckeyes have a ton of talent and can make up for that. I expect Ohio State to win big on the road.

Texas -35.5 (-105)

JT Daniels is playing at Texas for the third time in his college career. All three times have been for different teams. On Saturday, he takes the field for Rice. Texas has simply too much talent for the Owls. Rice lost its top pass catcher this summer to NC State which will limit them in the passing game.

The skill players for Texas should have a field day against the Rice defense. I expect Steve Sarkisian and the Texas offense to score in the 50s. The Longhorns should win this game comfortably.

Boise State +14.5 (-118)

Washington has been one of the most hyped teams this offseason. Michael Penix is a legitimate Heisman contender at quarterback and Washington has an elite trio of wide receivers. Boise State quarterback Taylen Green provided a spark for the Broncos offense last season and he will be one of the best QBs in the Mountain West. The Broncos also have a scary good one-two punch at running back. Head coach Andy Avalos is a defensive guy so the Boise State defense will be good as well.

Washington still has some question marks in my eyes. The Huskies lost their top running back to injury. The secondary is also a question mark after performing below average last season. I like Washington to win, especially since they are at home, but Boise State will keep it within two scores.

Houston moneyline (+100)

Houston will be playing in its first game as a Big 12 team on Saturday. The Cougars lost their quarterback and top wide receiver to the NFL but this team still has some offensive weapons with Donovan Smith at quarterback and Tony Mathis at running back. UTSA is also in a new conference. UTSA returns 16 starters and are super experienced.

Last year, this game went to triple overtime and the Cougars won 37-35. This spread opened with Houston as the slight favorites. It has worked its way all the way up to Houston +2. I think this game will be close throughout but I have to give the edge to Houston since the Cougars are at home. Getting the Cougars at plus odds on the moneyline is great value.

Texas A&M -38.5 & Over 48.5 (+143)

I normally don’t do parlays, but this one was too good to pass up. Texas A&M is bringing in Bobby Petrino as the offensive coordinator. That and quarterback Conner Weigman returning should result in a more explosive Aggies offense. New Mexico is one of the worst teams in the FBS and will struggle to keep up.

Texas A&M could hit the over all by themselves. Some help from the Lobos offense wouldn’t hurt. A 49-7 type game is what I am expecting to see.

South Carolina +2.5 (-110)

I’m skeptical of North Carolina’s defense. Reports out of Chapel Hill say that the defense has improved but I need to see it to believe it. I think Spencer Rattler improved as the year progressed in 2022 and he will parlay that into a really good 2023 season.

This will be a high scoring and tight game. I think South Carolina has the coaching advantage with Shane Beamer and will win outright. To be safe, I would just take the Gamecocks against the spread.

UCLA -14.5 (-105)

The Pac-12 this season has a clear hierarchy. USC, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Oregon State and UCLA are at the top of that hierarchy, typically in that order. I think the Bruins are underrated and should be discussed in the same breath as the other teams at the top. Coastal Carolina has a new head coach in Tim Beck. Beck was the NC State offensive coordinator last year and the Wolfpack’s offense averaged just 226 yards per game.

I think Chip Kelly and UCLA will make a statement in game one even with the Bruins breaking in a new quarterback.

To recap, here are the bets we are making:

  • Louisville -7.5 (-105)

  • Michigan -35.5 (-115)

  • Ohio State -29.5 (-115)

  • Texas -35.5 (-105)

  • Boise State +14.5 (-118)

  • Houston moneyline (+100)

  • Texas A&M -38.5/Over 48.5 (+143)

  • South Carolina +2.5 (-110)

  • UCLA -14.5 (-105)

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