Stanford Among Big Betting Favorites for Opening Day of College Football
Three of the five college football games that will start the 2017 season Saturday will be played in the west. But arguably the biggest game of the day – with an extra-large point spread – will take place on another continent altogether.
The Pac-12’s Stanford Cardinal is listed as a 30.5-point betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark taking on Conference USA’s Rice Owls at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
Stanford-Rice will get underway a little before UFC star Conor McGregor enters the boxing ring for the first time as a professional as an underdog on the odds against unbeaten welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas. But college football bettors will get the opportunity to make some money earlier in the day with four other interesting matchups.
First, the Colorado State Rams (-4) will host the Oregon State Beavers. The Rams are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games, according to the OddsShark College Football Database, and they finished last year with a 7-6 record.
Colorado State opens the 2017 campaign versus two Pac-12 schools and has gone 2-9 straight up and 3-8 ATS in its previous 11 against the conference. However, Oregon State is riding a 13-game road losing streak and has gone 1-4 ATS in its last five season openers.
Then the Portland State Vikings will visit the BYU Cougars in what looks like a lopsided matchup on paper. The Vikings went just 3-8 last year and compete at the FCS level. That would explain why the Cougars (-33) are the biggest favorites of the day.
The most competitive game may take place in Massachusetts, when the UMass Minutemen battle the Hawaii Warriors. The Minutemen are 2-point home favorites despite losing their last five season openers. Meanwhile, the Warriors are 7-1 ATS in their last eight Week 1 games, but they have dropped 27 of their last 31 SU on the road.
Later on, the South Florida Bulls are listed as 22-point road chalk visiting the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Bulls have won 10 of their last 11 season openers and own an 11-4 ATS mark in their previous 15 games as favorites. The Spartans have lost seven of their past 10 games, also dropping six of seven as home underdogs SU (3-4 ATS).
Finally, the Owls have lost seven of their last eight season openers, which does not bode well for their matchup against the Cardinal down in Australia. But they have gone 9-3 ATS in their previous 12 games versus Pac-12 opponents. Stanford has won seven of their past eight Week 1 games.