The wait is over, and it’s finally time for the College Football 2023 season!
Starting with a few “Week Zero” games on August 26, week 1 “officially” begins on Thursday, August 31, 2023, with more than fifty games on the weekend schedule, culminating in the rare Monday Night College Football game.
In our guide today, we will focus on a handful of our favorite games for Week 1. All of the games are presented with the point spread and the over/under number, but you can place a variety of wagers (moneyline, props) on these games at numerous online sportsbooks – Bovada being our favorite.
Let’s get started!
Week 1 College Football Schedule (Odds from Bovada)
Odds subject to change*
A quick refresher on point spreads: If the number next to a team is negative (-), that team is the favorite and must win by more than the – number to win the bet. If the number next to the team is positive (+), that team is the underdog and will win the bet if they lose by less than the + number.
For example, this week on Thursday night, Utah is favored by seven points (-7) over Florida, making the Gators underdogs by seven points (+7). If you bet on Utah, they must win by more than seven points for your bet to cash, and a bet on the Gators will cash if Florida wins OR loses by less than seven points.
For the Over/Under, the number following the O/U is the predicted combined score of both teams in the game. Bettors have the option of betting that the final combined score will be either Over or Under the listed O/U number.
Using same Florida @ Utah game again, the Over Under # is 47, so the Over bets will cash on any combined score higher than 47, and the Under bets will cash on any combined score below 47 points. On to the games.
College Football Week 1 Odds
Here are some of the latest odds, taken from Bovada:
Thursday, August 31
- Florida @ #14 Utah (-7) O/U-47
Saturday, September 2
- Arkansas St. @ #20 Oklahoma (-32.5) O/U-60.5
- Colorado @ #17 TCU (-21) O/U-59
- East Carolina @ #2 Michigan (-34.5) O/U-52.5
- Utah St. @ #25 Iowa (-23) O/U-43
- Virginia @ #12 Tennessee (-28.5) O/U-58.5
- Boise St. @ #10 Washington (-15) O/U-58.5
- Buffalo @ #19 Wisconsin (-25) O/U-55
- #3 Ohio St. @ Indiana (+27.5) O/U-59.5
- Rice @ #11 Texas (-36) O/U-59.5
- Nevada @ #6 USC (-38) O/U-63.5
- New Mexico @ #23 Texas A&M (-37.5) O/U-48.5
- Mid Tenn St. @ #4 Alabama (39.5) O/U-54.5
- #21 N.Carolina @ S.Carolina (+3) O/U-62
- West Virginia @ #7 Penn State (-20.5) O/U-53.5
- South Alabama @ #24 Tulane (-7) O/U-55.5
Sunday, September 3
- #18 Oregon St. @ San Jose St. (+17) O/U-54.5
- #5 LSU @ #8 Florida St. (+3) O/U-56.5
Monday, September 4
- #9 Clemson @ Duke (+13) O/U-55.5
College Football Top Games for Week 1
The “first” week of the 2023 college football season might not be filled with powerhouse head-to-head matchups, but what Week 1 lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity, with every single one of the preseason Top-25 ranked teams in action.
While the majority of games will be played on Saturday, the highlight of Week 1 comes on Sunday night when #5 LSU plays #8 Florida State in Orlando. We even get a Monday night game to finish off Week 1 as #9 Clemson travels to Duke. Honestly, it doesn’t much matter what the matchups are, we’re just glad to have College football back in our lives!
Without further ado, here are previews and predictions for some of the Week 1 games we’re most excited about. Please don’t be offended if you don’t see your favorite game listed below. Just because we didn’t preview it doesn’t mean your game of the week isn’t a worthy choice. These games all offer either an intriguing matchup and/or a bet we happen to like.
If we were just going for thrills, would we be previewing an Iowa game? Obviously not.
Thursday, August 31
Florida @ #14 Utah (-7) O/U-47 TV:ESPN 8 pm EST
These teams met last season in Gainesville, and the home team pulled the upset as the Gators defeated the #7 ranked Utes 29-26. The game was NOT a sign of things to come, however, as the Gators went on to finish the season 6-7, while Utah ended up winning the Pac-12 Championship and playing in the Rose Bowl, where they lost to Penn State to finish 10-4.
That Florida team was led by Anthony Richardson at quarterback, who would end up being the #4 overall pick in the draft. The Gators new starting quarterback is Graham Mertz, a fifth-year senior who transferred from Wisconsin. Mertz is more of a pass-first QB than Richardson and, thus, a better fit for the offense. This doesn’t mean Florida is returning to the “sling it” days of Steve Spurrier, exactly.
The offense should be fairly balanced, and Mertz can leave the running to the backfield duo of Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne. The Gators top receiver could also be a portal transfer, in former Florida State WR Rickey Piersall, who moved across the state for more opportunities.
The team will be breaking in several new offensive lineman and that could be an issue, especially early in the season.
On defense, last season was a disaster for Florida, and they will be bringing in Austin Armstrong as the new defensive coordinator. The team has plenty of talent, but much of it is young, especially in the secondary. The team will need defensive end Princely Umanmielen and the rest of the line to get after the quarterback more often than they did last season.
Utah will be looking to avenge last year’s loss, but uncertainty over the health of starting quarterback Cam Rising (recovering from a torn ACL) has to have the Utes worried, especially since Rising’s backup, Brandon Rose, will be out for some time with his own injury. Bryson Barnes will start if Rising can’t go, and we suspect Utah will try to hold off on an announcement for as long as possible.
Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the offense will be leaning heavily on their own running back combo of J’Quinden Jackson and Micah Bernard. Both backs will see plenty of carries, and each could be looking at a 1000+ yard season. That would go a long way to helping Utah win a third consecutive Pac 12 title, which has never been done before and never will again, now that the Pac 12 is in its sunset season.
Utah has always depended on defense to lead the way, and that will surely be the case again in 2023. While the team lost Gabe Reid and Mohamed Diabate to the NFL, they will bring back the rest of the starting lineup, and a veteran secondary got stronger with Ole Miss transfer Miles Battle.
If Rising can go at quarterback, we think Utah can cover the seven points, but we actually like taking the Under (47) for this game, regardless of who starts at quarterback.
Saturday, September 2
Colorado @ #17 TCU (-21) O/U-59 TV:FOX 12 pm EST
Colorado kicks off its first season under Deion Sanders and its final season in the Pac 12 with a visit to TCU, the runner-up in last year’s National Championship game. TCU plays in the Big 12, which will be welcoming Colorado to the conference next year, but we don’t expect them to roll out the red carpet for the Buffaloes in this game.
TCU lost eight starters on offense, including Heisman finalist quarterback Max Duggan, who took over as the starter last season when Chad Morris was injured in the first game of the season.
Theoretically, there shouldn’t be a drop-off at the position since Morris was the starter before his injury, but I don’t know if we will see him at the ceremony this year – and he has excellent Heisman odds, too!
TCU will look to fill the other offensive vacancies with transfers, which has worked pretty well for them. This season’s imports include a couple of Alabama transfers, running back Trey Sanders, and wide receiver JoJo Earle. While the skill positions should be fine, there will be concerns about the offensive line until the new starters prove themselves.
On defense, TCU returns eight starters, which would be more comforting if the defense had been slightly more effective last season. Of course, the team made it to the National title game, so we shouldn’t be so critical, but TCU was in more than their fair share of shootouts last season, and we see a similar situation for them this year.
In Colorado, hopes are high for the Buffaloes as they embark on their first season under Deion Sanders. The team underwent enormous turnover throughout the roster since Sanders took over. There is no question the team added some talent, specifically QB Shedeur Sanders (Deion’s son) and another Jackson St. transfer, CB/WR Travis Hunter.
The question on both sides of the ball will be how quickly all of these new players will digest the schemes. Many people have faith that Sanders will hit the ground running with this team, and a bowl season is a realistic possibility. We don’t share that optimism, at least not for this season.
There are just too many moving pieces to expect any kind of consistency from the Buffaloes. Even their best players will be experiencing a huge leap in competition from Jackson State.
We think this is a good opportunity to take advantage of the hype. Twenty-one points is a pretty huge spread, but TCU is going to want to teach Colorado a lesson about the Big 12 before the Buffaloes join the conference, and it’s going to take a few games this year for Sanders to implement his plan.
We like TCU in a blowout, and the over is appealing to us as well. Remember, the over tends to go up each day as the game approaches, so if you are thinking about the over, getting it in earlier is almost always better value.
Utah St. @ #25 Iowa (-23) O/U-43 TV: FS1 12 pm EST
We aren’t going to take a long time to preview this game. Neither team is a National Title contender (sorry, Iowa fans), and this game doesn’t have a whole lot of …sizzle?
There is one reason and one reason only that we are highlighting this game. It is the UNDER!
The UNDER! The UNDER!
Iowa doesn’t like to give up points, and they don’t seem very fond of scoring them either really. Utah St. doesn’t offer much on the offensive side of the ball, and more than ten points from them would be a surprise. That means Iowa would need to score 33 points to cover AND to hit the over/under number. The Hawkeyes did that exactly one-time last year.
We’re confident in the UNDER on this one, and if you think Utah St. can score ten points, you might want to take them and all of those points. This also might be the rare occasion where so many people are hammering the under that the over/under goes DOWN as we get closer to the game. Try to find out what the Iowa players are betting on. Let us know if you do.
See, that wasn’t so bad? Much better than watching an entire Iowa game.
Boise St. @ #10 Washington (-15) O/U-58.5 TV ABC 3:30 pm EST
Should this be called the Chris Peterson Bowl? The Current Huskies head coach has been on the sidelines for 4 of the 5 games ever played between these two teams. Better yet, he has coached two games as Boise St. head coach and two as Washington’s. And his record in the matchup is 1-1 at each school, leaving him 2-2 overall.
This year he might have his most talented squad ever, led by dynamic lefty quarterback Michael Penix Jr and a pair of returning 1000-yard receivers, Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. The Huskies averaged more than 500 yards per game on offense and should come close to those same numbers this year. The only concern is replacing the 3 interior offensive lineman they lost to graduation.
On defense, Washington boasts a strong defensive line, headlined by future first-round draft pick Braylen Trice, who can help a young secondary by getting after the quarterback. Last season defending the pass was a problem for the Huskies, who finished 100th in the country in passing yards allowed. Washington is another team that seems headed for a number of shootouts this season.
Boise St. might not be able to match the passing prowise of Washington, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective on offense. The Broncos offense will lean on the three-headed backfield monster of quarterback Taylen Green and running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty, who combined for over 2500 rushing yards last season. If Green can improve as a passer, this offense will be extremely dangerous.
The Boise St. defense was one of the best in the country last year, finishing seventh in total defense and only giving up 13 passing TD’s all year. They will need to replace six starters on defense, with three in the secondary. This opening game against Washington will provide a difficult task for whoever fills those positions for Boise St.
This game is our upset special, and we think Boise St. will contain Washington enough to keep the game close, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see them win the game outright. As double-digit underdogs, Boise St. can bring great value if you bet the moneyline (betting them to win outright).
Sunday, September 3
#5 LSU @ #8 Florida St. (+3) O/U-56.5 TV:ABC 7:30 pm EST
Without question, this is the biggest game of Week 1. Two historic powerhouses with multiple National titles squaring off in primetime. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that these teams could both end up in the College Football Playoff this year.
While the winner of this game will have a leg up, as LSU knows well, you can suffer an early season loss and still end up with a college football championship in the end.
Florida State has improved steadily each year under head coach Mike Norvell and they are hoping to challenge Clemson for the ACC title and a potential spot in the playoffs. The team returns a bulk of the starters on both sides of the ball, and they made several key additions in the transfer portal.
Jordan Travis is an experienced dual threat at quarterback, and he will have plenty of weapons to share the load with him on offense, including six-foot-seven-inch tall wide receiver Johnny Wilson, a man who has to give ACC cornerbacks jump-ball nightmares.
The defense is loaded, especially on the line where they boast all ACC pass rusher (and SUNY Albany transfer) Jared Verse, ACC defensive freshman of the year Patrick Payton and a bevy of transfers from Power 5 schools. Last season the Seminoles finished 20th in defensive scoring, giving up slightly more than 20 points per game. This season they could improve on that number, although we don’t think LSU will be held under that number.
The Tigers won the SEC West last season, and they also bring back a majority of their starters.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels decided to return for another season and will lead a dynamic Chip Kelly offense, assisted by the usual LSU assembly line of future NFL wide receivers. The running game should be improved this season thanks to Notre Dame transfer Logan Diggs. He will be running behind an offensive line that returns all five starters.
As usual, LSU will roll out a defense full of athletic playmakers, including linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. and Mekhi Wingo. Despite being named an All-American last year, Wingo might only be the second-best DT on the team now that Maason Smith is returning from an injury that kept him out most of last season.
College Football Week 1 Betting Tips and Strategies
We’ve gathered a few pointers for the curious sports bettor to help you navigate the 2023 College football season. We encourage you to take or leave whatever you like, and if you feel like we left something important out, please go to the ends of the earth to find us and explain where we went wrong (Kidding: please don’t).
Establish a Bankroll: Your Bankroll is the total amount of money you can afford to wager for the season. Divide your Bankroll by 100, and this number will be 1 betting “unit” for you. If you have $500 total in your bankroll, each unit would be $5. Professional bettors use this system, so why shouldn’t you? Also, the pros very rarely put more than 2 or 3 “units” on any one wager.
Be Choosey: Only a fool bets on every game of the week. You aren’t a fool, are you? I didn’t think so. Concentrate on just a few games to research and wager on each week.
Parlay? No Way: Don’t do Parlays. Did you know if you made every bet in a parlay individually and they all hit, you would win more money than if you bet them in the parlay? Now you know! Plus, you don’t lose the whole thing when you lose one leg.
Important Stats: Two statistics directly related to chances of winning are turnover margin and passing yards per attempt. Look for the team with the advantage in these statistics if you want to win more than you lose.
Home Underdogs and Unders: Home underdogs cover more often than not, historically speaking. The Under hits more often than the over. If you only made these 2 types of bets, history says you would win more often than not.
Check out our previous predictions:
Where to Bet on the 2023 College Football Season Week 1
- Bovada: Best overall
- MyBookie: Most competitive odds
- BetOnline: Variety of markets
- BUSR: Up to $1,500 welcome bonus
- SportsBetting.ag: Top pick for live betting
- BetAnySports: User-friendly interface
- EveryGame: 20+ years in the industry
- BetUS: Features BetUS TV for live streams
- Lucky99: Fast banking
- XBet: $500 welcome bonus + $10 casino chip
You can bet on College Football week 1 games at a number of online sportsbooks or even at your local brick-and-mortar establishment, depending on where you live.
We’d recommend spending your money at a big, established online bookies like Bovada or MyBookie, though, where you’ll also be able to place individual game and prop bets as well.
These sites have been around for years, building up a reputation for treating players fairly. That’s far from the only reason to bet with them, though:
- They’re Convenient: You can get the most up-to-date lines anytime you want, simply by refreshing the page.
- They Reward Players: These sites are always competing for your business and are constantly offering bonuses and special promotions. They’re always looking for ways to get you into the action — other sportsbooks simply can’t compete with that.
- They Offer Round-The-Clock Action: You can bet on most sports matchups right up to the start time, and then you can get the best College Football Live bets during the game.
Why Bet on College Football Week 1 Online?
College Football is one of the oldest and most popular sports in America – and doing so online can make things even easier. Here are some of the major advantages of betting online:
- Early odds = Great odds: As we get closer to the games, the line makers wise up, and the value on some of these point spreads go away.
- More than just the Spread: There are more wagers available to bettors than ever before. Futures, Props, and Over/Under bets are great ways to get involved without having to pick a winner.
- You’re already ahead of the public: If you’ve made it to this point in the preview, you’ve put more research into your wagering than the vast majority of casual bettors. Knowledge is power, and now that you’ve got it, go out and use it!
Betting on 2023 College Football Season Week 1: FAQs
Where Should I Bet on the College Football Week 1 Games?
These are the best sites to wager on College Football week 1 matches:
When is College Football Week 1?
The College Football Week 1 games begin on Thursday, August 31, and end on Monday, September 4.
Several games will be played earlier, on Saturday, August 26, but these games are referred to as “Week Zero” games. If you are wondering how to bet on College Football, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s quite easy – sign up at one of our top picks, and you’ll be able to start wagering.
How Long is the College Football Season?
The College Football season begins on Saturday, August 26, and most conferences play their championship games on Saturday, December 2.
The Army vs Navy game is on Saturday, December 9. Bowl games begin on December 16. The College football playoff semifinals will be played on Monday, January 1, 2024, and the Championship game will be played on Monday, January 8, in Houston, Texas.
Where Can I Watch the College Football Week 1 Matches?
College Football is available on a number of networks and streaming services.
All four of the broadcast networks televise games on Saturday, and ESPN broadcasts College football games most nights of the week. Check your local listings.
Find other college football predictions:
Ready to Place Your Bets on College Football Week 1 Matches?
There is no shortage of games to choose from for your Week 1 college football wagers!
Whether you are planning to bet on one of the games we previewed earlier or have some other matchups in mind, take a few minutes to research your bets and shop around for the best value.
If you are looking for the best sites online, we recommend checking out Bovada, as it’s our top pick.
Good luck, and remember, no matter when or where you place your wagers, be sure to do so responsibly!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for entertainment purposes only. While online gambling can come as an entertainment form, you should never prioritize gambling to solve financial problems.
Do you have problems with gambling, or do you know someone that does? Regardless of what party it might be, it’s crucial to quickly get a hold of this situation by calling the National Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700. When you call, you’re immediately transferred to an advisor on hand to give you the desired help needed to make gambling safer for you and your loved ones. That said, it’s crucial to remember that all gambling sites and guides are for those who are 21+ only.
Remember, casino sites listed in our reviews might not be accessible in your region. As a result, it’s necessary to check local laws and regulations to see whether online gambling is legal or not.
For resources free gambling addiction resources, visit these organizations: