College Football 2015: Early Week 1 Odds, Previews, and Predictions
A look at the Week One Early Lines and games of the 2015 College Football Season
College Football Games September 3, 2015 to September 7, 2015
Only the Games with Early Lines are Included See the Latest Odds
Every year the odds makers come out with early lines and while this is where some of the biggest values in all of sports betting might be, it is also one of the toughest to find the winners.
Injuries in college football can devastating as it could mean the difference between a player who is a stone cold lock to play in the NFL playing as opposed to a kid who just had a nice High School career. Injuries aren’t things that might happen, they are things that do happen but the nice thing here is as they happen, we always have a chance to hedge out of these things on game day or of if we are even luckier we might find a gigantic middle and hot both sides.
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Let’s take a look at week 1’s early lines for the 2015 College Football season.
September 3rd 2015
Michigan at Utah (-4) (FOX SPORTS 1)
The line for this one opened with Utah at -5 and has already moved. This will be Michigan’s first game with Jim Harbaugh running the show but the Wolverines have lost a bunch of talent and there isn’t a lot of continuity here. I am not sold on Harbaugh winning at UM and we know Kyle Whitingham doesn’t just know how to win, he knows how to beat the big schools on a regular basis.
TCU at Minnesota (+18) (ESPN)
As you may or may not remember, TCU was slighted in the BCS playoffs as many thought they were a lock to go and make a ton of noise but instead because the Big 12 didn’t have a conference championship game neither the Horned Frogs nor Baylor got in and Ohio State did, and well the rest is history. Trevone Boykin is a favorite for the Heisman and he can do it all but TCU also returns 10 starters on offense and six on defense and could be number one or two when the rankings come out; and lets not forget that Gary Patterson can flat out couch. But speaking of guys who can coach, Jerry Kill can coach up a storm at Minnesota and they have a chance to win the Big Ten this year, but an outright win here is a tall task.
Friday September 4th 2015
Washington at Boise State (-8.5) (ESPN)
For two teams not in the same conference these two sure seem to play often enough but this one is the Chris Peterson Bowl as Peterson returns to Boise to take on the school he led in so many big games. This line opened at 13 and has dropped and the reason for the big number is Washington’s starting QB, Cyler Miles, has retred from football. Boise finished the season strong but we have to believe Peterson’s recruits are going to start making an impact at UW this season.
Saturday September 5th 2015
Wisconsin vs. Alabama (-10) at Arlington Texas (ABC)
Alabama is no stranger to these big early season neutral site games and Wisconsin put on a pretty good show losing (but covering the spread) against LSU last year. Of course Gary Anderson is gone as the Head Coach in Wisconsin and while he isn’t the guy we see on ESPN every night, he is one of the best and took a Utah State program from nowhere and put them on the map; Wisconsin can only hope Paul Chryst puts together better records than he did at Pitt and is more of the coach they saw as an assistant at UW. Bama needs to replace 9 starters on offense and a slew on defense as well and no one was impressed by FSU transfer QB Jake Coker who may or may not be the Tide’s starter this season but no one was sold on Joel Stave as QB of the Badgers either. Chryst inherits a lot of talent but he isn’t anywhere near Saban’s level.
Louisville vs. Auburn (-11.5) at Atlanta
Auburn’s defense was absolutely dreadful last season but despite that they were still contenders all the way down to the final weeks of the regular season not to mention playing one of the more brutal schedules you will ever see. Nick Marshall is gone at QB for the Tigers and Ells Johnson is gone as the defensive coordinator and Will Muschamp now runs the defense after being run from the head job at Florida. I have to believe Gus Malzahn has a roster full of talent and we know his system works. Bobby Petrino can coach as well and we know that because he wins everywhere and let’s face it, they don’t give out those gazillion dollar NFL contracts to everyone. What we are going to find out fast is just how well and how fast Petrino can replace Charlie Strong’s recruits as this should be a big changeover year.
Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (-3) at Houston (ESPN)
I have to say last year we found the biggest value on the entire board of early season lines with Texas A&M who went in and stomped South Carolina on the road as a double-digit underdog, pretty much like we called it here. I look at Kevin Sumlin’s team, the talent he has, and this number and we may have the same kind of value here. Todd Graham has a lot returning at ASU including QB Mike Bercovici who looked pretty good in his three starts when Taylor Kelly was injured last year but the Sun Devils defense wasn’t good enough. Going on the road to Houston with holes in the O-Line as well as losing some of their pass rush isn’t going to be good enough as I look for Texas A&M to be a team that starts the season unranked and finishes the season pretty highly ranked.
Texas at Notre Dame (-7.5) (NBC)
Speaking of lousy defenses, Notre Dame was never the same after starting MLB Joe Smith went down last season. Notre Dame returns 19 starters if you include Malik Zaire who started over the now transferred Everett Golston in the Music City Bowl. In year two at Texas we will see more of what Charlie Strong is made of as the Horns always seem to have a ton of talent but rarely at QB and Strong was throwing players off of the team left and right last season. This one is going to get covered backwards and forwards before kickoff but we know for sure these are two teams where tradition is huge and the fans will be out in force and this could be a game that sets the tone for their entire seasons.
Virginia at UCLA (-17) (FOX)
I know I might be in the minority but I see UCLA as being over-rated once again. I know they have 50 freshman and sophomores last season, I of course know about Myles Jack, but I also know they have a QB controversy brewing and they haven’t stood up in any big games when they have had an opportunity to prove something. Virginia was 5-7 last season and really four points away from a bowl losing to Virginia Tech 24-20 in their final game. I have little doubt in Mike London’s ability to coach but the clock might be ticking on him this year. This might be an ugly game for both teams.
BYU at Nebraska (-6) (ABC)
Mike Riley takes over as Head Coach of the Huskers and we have to remember about five or six years ago Riley was the college coach every NFL team wanted. Tommy Armstrong is back at QB for the Huskers but he doesn’t really fit Riley’s game plan as he is a running back who can throw while Riley runs a pro style offense. While the Huskers had some good moments last season, this is going to be a building process. Taysom Hill can simply do it all at QB for BYU and he was doing it all last season when he was injured. I wouldn’t expect Hill to be timid in the least and BYU is always big up front on both sides of the ball. BYU has a monster schedule this season and should be in every game and if they can get a lot of wins Hill should be in New York for the Heisman presentation.
Monday September 7th 2015
Ohio State at Virginia Tech (+16) (ESPN)
I am pretty sure I was one of the few who gave out Virginia Tech on the Money Line at Columbus last season and I know I got a ton of retweets over on Twitter when I tweeted out a picture of my betting ticket at the MGM in Las Vegas but I am not sure I will be tweeting something similar this season. While OSU won it all last season and return a ton, they lose offensive coordinator Tom Herman who was pretty much the best there was as he takes over the Houston job. As I said in my write up last season, Frank Beamer and Bud Foster have made a career out of out game planning he giants of the college football world for decades now but they have their hands full here. I don’t see Ohio State repeating as champs but I see them getting revenge here but I won’t be laying a big number like this against Beamer and Foster in a night game at Lane Stadium, I learned that lesson a long time ago; this game is in a tough building and should be a good game.