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College Football Week 1 Best Bets: Odds, Predictions to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook

Julian Edlow gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook in the NCAA Football Week 1 market.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Allstate Louisiana Kickoff - Florida State vs LSU Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football is here, and per usual, Week 1 kicks off with a monster betting card on DraftKings Sportsbook. Here are a few games that I’m betting on the lengthy Week 1 slate.

My 2023 college football betting record entering Week 1 is 0-1 for -1.1 units.


Virginia vs. Tennessee (Saturday 12:00 pm ET)

“neutral field” in Nashville*

Tennessee Team Total OVER 41.5 (-120) — 1-unit

I ultimately feel the Vols have to take a step back without Hendon Hooker and the receivers they lost from the 2022 team that seemed bound for the College Football Playoff. Prior to Hooker going down, that team had caught lightning in a bottle. While Joe Milton is getting a ton of hype, I don’t see Tennessee reaching double digit wins, particularly with both Georgia and Alabama on the schedule.

That said, this team still has a ton of talent, and should roll in certain spots. This is one of those spots. Opening the season in Nashville against arguably the worst defense in the ACC that’ll be operating without its top pass rusher is about at cushy as it gets.

Prior to UVA’s season ending abruptly due to tragedy, it allowed 37 points to Pittsburgh and 31 points to UNC in the last two games of 2022, and both those games were played at home. Now it’ll go face an SEC squad that finished last season by posting totals of 31 in a Bowl Game against Clemson, 56 at Vanderbilt, 38 at South Carolina and 66 versus Missouri in the four games dating back to when Hooker went down. Vols should be thinking 50-plus here.


South Carolina vs. North Carolina (Saturday 7:30 pm ET)

“neutral field” in Charlotte*

South Carolina +3 (-115) — 1-unit

The market on this game has been moving all summer, from a pick to a three-point spread. Now toggling between 2.5 and 3, you can always adjust the spread with an alternate to get yourself a +3 if the price isn’t too juiced. That said, I’m fine playing a +2.5, or going for the moneyline if you prefer.

Arguably nobody ended last season hotter than the Gamecocks. After a disappointing loss at The Swamp, South Carolina went on to defeat both Clemson and Tennessee, crushing the CFP hopes or each team. SC also played Norte Dame tough in a Bowl Game, but came undone late. While the defense can be shaky at times, so can UNC’s. I trust a more tested SEC defense to be the more physical of the two down the stretch.

On offense, the Gamecocks do lose some key pieces, both in the receiving and running game. But ultimately, Spencer Rattler still has solid enough skill players around him to get the job done here. Drake Maye was spectacular as a freshman for the Tar Heels, but he’s not sneaking up on anyone this year. He lost some elite skill position guys, and SC will have plenty of time to study the tape on him.


Northwestern at Rutgers (Sunday 12:00 pm ET)

Clemson at Duke (Monday 8:00 pm ET)

Rutgers/Clemson ML Parlay (-140) — 1-unit

Rutgers isn’t exactly a ringer in the Big Ten, but showed some fight last season in home games that weren’t against elite competition. While the offense was one of the worst in the country, Rutgers went through an overhaul of the coaches, and should be more competent. In better news, a strong defense returns almost all key contributors in 2023.

But I’m not here to hype up a Rutgers team that would be very lucky to make a Bowl Game. We’re fading Northwestern, who hasn’t won a football game on American soil since 2021. The Wildcats stunned Nebraska in Week 0 in Ireland last year, then proceeded to lose 11 straight. All that’s happened since then is a hazing scandal that resulted in the firing of the head coach and some players departing the program. Good luck going on the road on a nationally televised game in Week 1.

I’m not sure how much more I can hype up Clemson. I’ve bet them over 9.5 wins, to win the ACC and even make the CFP/win it all. If you want to hear more hype, you can let Phil Steele give you a breakdown on the Unreasonable Odds Podcast. I think the Tigers have a real shot to run the table in the regular season, and expect a statement on the road on Monday night against a Duke squad that’s due for monster regression off nine wins in 2022.


LSU vs. FSU (Sunday 7:30 pm ET)

“neutral field” in Orlando*

LSU ML (-130) — 2-units

Without doubt this is the game of the week in college football, with the potential to be one of the best games of the season. We had this game as the SNF game last week, with FSU escaping by one in New Orleans. The Tigers got off to a slow start in Brian Kelly’s debut, but then found their stride and got what appeared to be a touchdown to send the game to overtime — but the extra-point was missed.

Now LSU is out for revenge. Both teams are similar in the send they return a ton of talent, brought in strong transfers and have national title hopes. But LSU came on as the team with the higher ceiling last season, and I think we see that translate early in this season. Jayden Daniels is an elite dual threat QB, also returning his top target in Malik Nabers. The running game should be improved, and the defense should be terrifying.

The one downside for LSU here is that it’ll be without one of its veteran defenders in Maason Smith. Smith tore his ACL in the opener against FSU last year, and is suspended for this game. But game-wrecker Harold Perkins is a year older and ready to continue carrying the Tigers.

Not many bad things to say about FSU. I think the Seminoles are probably a little over-hyped this season — I faded them again Week 4 when they travel to Clemson. I bet this game months ago, and cannot wait for it to get here.


Week 2 Lookahead: Texas at Alabama (Saturday 9/9 7:00pm ET)

Texas +7 (-115) — 1-unit

Back in some of those summer lookahead lines that I played, I listed this game. I’m posting it here now because there are 6.5’s in the market, and I could see it moving before we get to this article next week. Click the link and checkout some analysis in the tweet.


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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.


The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.