College football betting picks, Week 1: Clemson, Alabama, UNC to beat the odds

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The slate features just two matchups pitting ranked teams against each other, and 30 games with spreads of three touchdowns or more! But, it is football. Our long summer is over. Let's get to the wagers. For more on Vegas, visit OddsShark.

Thursday

North Carolina +12.5 (-105) at South Carolina: South Carolina has Jadeveon Clowney and is very well-coached. The Gamecocks also lost a lot of key defenders other than Clowney. South Carolina has traditionally started slow on offense, and is without receiver Bruce Ellingtonit appears.

North Carolina's defense concerns me, but the Tar Heels are a competent offense at a fast pace, and quarterback Bryn Renner has a good relationship with his receivers and tight ends. And North Carolina does have one of the better offensive tackles in the country to go against Clowney -- with help, of course. If UNC can stop the run or force turnovers, it has a shot to keep this within a single score.

Ole Miss -3 (-115) at Vanderbilt and Under 53 (-105): Vanderbilt is breaking in a new quarterback without half of its receiver duo thanks to Chris Boyd's suspension. I love Vanderbilt's secondary and Ole Miss' defensive line, but expect the Rebels' run game to be the difference.

USC at Hawaii +24 (-115): Hawaii will be able to hold up against the run of USC due to its impressive size in the front seven. USC's passing game has been in a flux during fall camp. Take the points and the potential back door.

Utah State at Utah Under 51 (-106): Both of these defenses can stop the run, neither play an aggressive pace, and I don't see either passing game clicking.

Rutgers +10 (+103) at Fresno State and Under 54.5 (-106): Fresno State is a trendy pick to run the table, but I expect Rutgers and its 18 upperclassman starters can hang tough.

Friday

Florida Atlantic at Miami Under 53.5 (-102): Miami has the Florida Gators on deck, and FAU is potentially going to play four quarterbacks.

Saturday

This line implies Georgia would be favored by close to double digits at Athens.

Georgia at Clemson +1.5 (+100): Both of these secondaries are banged-up and inexperienced. Both quarterbacks are excellent. This line implies that Georgia would be favored by about five on a neutral field and close to double digits at Athens. And I just can't see that. I expect the difference in the game to be Clemson's front seven making a difference against Georgia's run game and limiting the play action.

Have a listen to the On The Line podcast, featuring Adam Kramer, Drew Collins, Todd Fuhrman and me. We talk college football handicapping and strategy.

Alabama -20 (-110) vs. Virginia Tech: I do not like the direction of the Virginia Tech program.

LSU at TCU Under 50 (-106): Both offenses will be improved and both defenses have questions, be they suspension (TCU) or starters lost to the draft (LSU). But these are still two defensive-minded teams.

Toledo +24 (-115) at Florida: Florida has Miami up next. Running back Matt Jones is out, as are two important offensive linemen. The defense has a lot of new pieces for the Gators, and safety-blanket Jordan Reed is no longer there for Jeff Driskel. Oh, and I do not expect Florida to risk injury by using Driskel's impressive legs all that much.

ULM +21 (+100) at Oklahoma: Norman is not an easy place to play, but the Sooners have a lot of moving parts, and Monroe plays an unconventional style on offense and defense.

Northwestern at California Over 57.5 (-110): Northwestern is dealing with defensive line injuries and Cal will play a new, aggressive pace, even if it's not all that efficient.

Sunday

Ohio +21 (-110) at Louisville: Louisville is clearly the better team, but Ohio is not a pushover, and Louisville did not dominate average opponents last year. Ohio is well-coached and will not roll over.

Monday

Florida State at Pittsburgh Under 49.5 (-110): Pitt's strength is its defense. FSU's strength is probably also its defense, given it is starting a freshman quarterback on the road.

Odds via 5 Dimes, The Greek, Bovada and Pinnacle sports books.

More from SB Nation:

The prettiest, smartest college football preview collection anywhere, by Bill Connelly

NCAA clears Johnny Manziel

How to stop Jadeveon Clowney: actual coaches build a game plan

Why we love college football: a beautiful SB Nation longread

Bama-Oregon title game, plus all 34 other bowl projections

•The conference megapreview series begins: ACC | Big Ten | SEC

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