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College Football Week 1 Bets: Odds, Lines, Spreads, Analysis & Picks

A closer look at several key Week 1 NCAAF games for bettors to target among Saturday's college football slate.


As the calendar flips to September, it signifies one thing for sports bettors and football fans - the best time of year has finally arrived! After COVID-19 shortened the 2020 season for many programs, the kickoff to the 2021 NCAA College Football season is perhaps the most anticipated in recent memory. We have three tremendous matchups on the slate on Saturday, including perhaps a College Football Playoff preview when No. 3 Clemson takes on No. 5 Georgia.

SI Betting is looking to pick up right where we left off last season on the collegiate gridiron - winning every week!

Last season the information shared here at SI Betting finished 32-21 (60.3 %) ATS on the NCAA Football season, including 7-2 (78 %) ATS on official 2020 Bowl plays.

(Note: Odds are subject to change.)

Week 1 Betting Breakdown

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Spread: Penn State +5.5 (-110) | Wisconsin -5.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Penn State (+188) | Wisconsin (-225)
Total: 50– Over (-110) | Under 50 (-110)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: PSU 38% | WIS: 62%
Game Info: Saturday, September 4, 2021 12:00 pm EST | FOX

graham-mertz-wisconsin

The line has quietly moved since its opening in favor of No. 12 Wisconsin as 4-point favorites in sportsbooks around the country over No. 19 Penn State. Public steam has pushed the number up to as high as -5.5 in some shops in Vegas after its opening in early August, and pro money has aligned in support of Wisconsin.

When these two Big Ten rivals, both ranked inside the Top-25, face off in Madison, the Badgers will be looking to end Penn State’s recent dominance. The Nittany Lions have won four consecutive matchups and six of seven overall. Wisconsin, who has not beaten Penn State since 2011, will be relying on quarterback Graham Mertz to take the next step in h2021.

Look for Wisconsin to start with a conference win and end the drought against Penn State. Lay the points.

Trends

•Home Field Edge: The Home team is 5-3 SU in their last eight matchups
•Penn State is 4-0 SU & ATS in the last four games between the schools

BET: Wisconsin -5.5 (-110)

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Miami Hurricanes

Spread: Alabama -19.5 (-110) | Miami +19.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Alabama (-1100) | Miami (+700)
Total: 61.5– Over (-110) | Under 61.5 (-110)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: ALA 63% | MIA: 37%
Game Info: Saturday, September 4, 2021, 3:30 pm EST | ABC

Bryce Young, Alabama QB, during spring practice

The line has steadily risen from its opening of No. 1 Alabama as 18.5-point favorites after strong public support favoring the defending NCAA National Champions. Sportsbooks around the country continue to see money backing the Crimson Tide over No. 14 Miami, with a line currently displaying Alabama as 19.5-point favorites.

The public steam has backed the game spread, but the pro money has targeted a different market. Rather than risking a potential late back-door cover on a near three-touchdown spread, pro money has backed Alabama in the first-half spread betting market. The game currently stands with a 10-point line that bettors will likely see a rise as we get closer to kickoff on Saturday.

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Alabama will now have highly touted Bryce Young under center this season after Mac Jones left for the NFL. Pro money is projecting that Miami quarterback D'Eriq King, who suffered a torn ACL in the Cheez-It Bowl loss to Oklahoma, will not be sharp in his first game action and will need more than a half of football to shake the rust off. Playing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia takes away any potential home-field advantage. Right? Alabama has won 14 consecutive neutral-site games at Mercedes- Benz Stadium.

Look to avoid the full game spread and instead make an investment that Nick Saban will find a way to make D'Eriq King uncomfortable in the first thirty minutes of game action since suffering his knee injury.

Trends

•Alabama was 13-0 SU and 9-4 in their 2020 Championship Season
•Nick Saban has led the Tide to a 15-1 SU record in neutral site games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

BET: Alabama 1H -10 (-110)

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers

Spread: Georgia +3 (-110) | Clemson -3 (-110)
Moneyline: Georgia (+130) | Clemson (-154)
Total: 50– Over (-110) | Under 50 (-110)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: UGA 59% | CLE: 41%
Game Info: Saturday, September 4, 2021, 7:30 pm EST | ABC

Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei throws during the Tigers' spring game

The line has bounced around since it opened with No. 3 Clemson as three-point favorites after strong public support in favor of No. 5 Georgia. Sportsbooks around the country continue to see two-way money causing the line to move as high as 3.5-points before settling back at its current offering of Clemson as only field goal favorites.

The public steam has prevented the line from maintaining a position above the prime number of minus-three while pro-money believes in Clemson in the neutral site matchup at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Clemson has high expectations this season despite losing star quarterback Trevor Lawrence to the NFL. The Tigers will now turn to D.J. Uiagalele, who played well last season when Lawrence was forced to sit after being infected with COVID-19. Meanwhile, Georgia will heavily involve star junior tailback Zamir White into the offensive game plan, but he could face tough sledding, facing arguably the best defensive line in the country.

The support on the underdog Georgia Bulldogs will continue to arrive, so my suggestion is to wait until as close to kickoff and see if this line potentially moves to 2.5-points. If not, oddsmakers will struggle with in-play / live wagering with this game, and should Georgia jump out to an early lead, a line offering Clemson at plus-odds is a play I would strongly suggest.

Trends

•Clemson was 10-2 SU & 5-7 ATS in its 12 games in 2020
•Georgia was 8-2 SU & 4-6 ATS in its last 10 games in 2020

BET: Clemson -3 (-110)

2020 SI Betting NCAA Football: 31-21 ATS
2020 SI Betting Bowl Selections: 7-2 ATS


Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.