College Football week 1 picks: 5 bets everyone should make this weekend

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FILE – Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (13) warms up before the Cheez-It Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Florida State opens their season at home against LSU on Sept. 3. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

The 2023 College Football season is almost upon us. Week 0 is here and there is an exciting slate of games on deck to lead us into what promises to be a stunning season of Football. We’ve made a parlay based on this weekend’s matchups that should have a strong chance of cashing.

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FILE – Georgia defensive back Malaki Starks (24) reacts as Georgia defensive back Christopher Smith (29) returns a blocked LSU field goal attempt for a touchdown in the first half of the Southeastern Conference Championship football game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 in Atlanta. Malaki Starks was named to The Associated Press preseason All-America team, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Utah State +23.5 vs Iowa

Iowa might be ranked #25 coming into this season, but let’s not forget how putrid that offense was. QB Cade MacNamara will solve some of those woes, but not all of them. The truth is that Iowa’s defense was so dominant last year that if they can get even close to that form again, even a mild upgrade at QB will go a long way.

However, Cooper Legas returns to Utah State’s offense along with wideout Terrell Vaughn. They did lose 30 players this past offseason and the defense took a huge hit, but Fall Camp saw an aggressive unit emerge from the ashes and arguably outshine a quickening offense.

Utah State will protect the rock against this rampant defense and trust that its own D can force some turnovers against an Iowa team that scored just 7 passing touchdowns during 2022’s college football campaign. Take the points.

UNC vs South Carolina UNDER 64.5

This promises to be an enthralling matchup. Spencer Rattler takes on Drake Maye in what could be a real shootout. I’m going to back the points given how bad the defenses were last year. I would back South Carolina but I just cannot bring myself to back Spencer Rattler. I’ll take the over knowing when these two teams clashed in 2021, the game ended 38-21 and both defenses have regressed since then.

New Mexico State Aggies -7 vs Massachusetts Minutemen

New Mexico State is about as stable as you could possibly hope a team could be. The offense is virtually unchanged, and is of course looking to build on a stunning first year under Head Coach Jerry Kill.

Massachusetts just isn’t up to scratch here. They lost to NMSU last year by 10 points and of course went 1-11 last season. Some progression is expected with a new QB in town, but it won’t be enough.

Colorado vs TCU -20.5

The Deion Sanders hype is fun, but this is a stable TCU program replacing Max Duggan with someone arguably just a exciting in Chandler Morris.

Deion Sanders attracted an all-star level team to Colorado, but how quickly can they get on the same page? It may take a week, it may take a year. Until we start seeing something of substance I’ll stick to what I know – TCU has a strong defense and an even stronger quarterback who can go the distance.

UNDER 63 points in Baylor vs Texas State

These two teams clashed last year in what was a 42-7 win for Baylor. G.J Kinne might be captaining the Texas State resurgence, but is that really enough to add nearly 14 points worth of value against a Baylor defense?

RB Richard Reese had 972 yards last year and looks primed to break out once more. Baylor will have no problem controlling the tempo of this game after the first half and Texas State, even with a new culture shift, might not have enough to keep willingly throwing against a brick wall.

UTSA -1.5 vs Houston

These two teams were involved in a triple-overtime gauntlet last year that hooked the nation. The road runners now look for revenge with a whopping 16 starters returning across the board. UTSA is the reigning conference champion and now joins the AAC still quarterbacked by Frank Harris, who threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2022.

Houston is the college football team that people will blindly back due to reputation, but they have lost an all-time great QB to the NFL and will have to somehow silence a UTSA team that looks largely similar to the unit that pushed them all the way last year. With revenge in mind, I’ll back the road runners.

College football
FILE – Oklahoma State, right, gets ready for a play against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Norman, Okla., Dec. 3, 2016. The 118th game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be Nov. 4 in Stillwater, where the Cowboys won Bedlam two years ago to get into the Big 12 championship game. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams, File)

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File