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COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMBLING: Notre Dame and Week 1's 20 other best bets

Expecting a sloppy opening slate without too much scoring, while some favorites show they can be dominant.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week, and here's your full Week 1 viewing schedule.

Defense being ahead of offense is something that's pretty consistent this time of year in college football. It makes sense, as defense is a game of collective individualism while offense is truly more about teamwork and chemistry, which takes time to develop.

And that trend does not just stop with the end of fall camp. It carries over into early games. With that in mind, I'll be wagering heavily on unders to begin the year.


1. Michigan at Utah -4.5: Betting on or against Michigan is somewhat tough because I don't know exactly how much Jim Harbaugh can get out of the talent that Brady Hoke squandered. I do know, however, that Utah's only weakness on defense is likely to be in the secondary and that Michigan's passing game is unlikely to be hitting on all cylinders on the road.

2. Colorado -7 at Hawaii: Week 1 is a good time to bet on teams you believe are much improved, before the general public realizes. Colorado and Hawaii were both bad, but I believe the gap between these two teams on a neutral field is closer to 17 points, which makes laying seven on the road a value.


3. Washington at Boise State -12: Chris Petersen is an amazing coach and Washington should take a big step forward in Year 2, right? Well, I don't think so. Washington lost three All-Americans on defense and now has serious questions at offensive line and quarterback. Boise State is loaded and I expect the Broncos to try to make a major statement against a power-conference team.


4. Texas at Notre Dame -9: I have no confidence in an offense on a team coached by Charlie Strong. His best ever ranked 18th at Louisville, and that was with Teddy Bridgewater. I am high on Notre Dame even after the loss of defensive tackle Jarron Jones, and think Texas' offense will give Notre Dame the ball enough in plus territory. Texas says it is looking to go more up-tempo, but I'll believe that when I see it.

5. Alabama vs. Wisconsin Under 51 points: Alabama is replacing its quarterback and has not found a definite replacement, as well as sending 2014 security blanket Amari Cooper off to the league. Wisconsin's defense is typically stout, and its own run-heavy offense does not match up well against Alabama's front seven, the best in college football.

6. Louisville vs. Auburn Under 56.5: Betting an under involving two of the best offensive minds in football is scary, but I expect Auburn's defense to take a big step forward under coordinator Will Muschamp, and Louisville's defense is flush with transfer talent in defensive end Devonte Fields from TCU and defensive backs from Georgia.

7. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M -3: I think Kyle Allen is a big time QB and that Texas A&M's skill is going to be the difference. It's a neutral-site contest that will be anything but, as Houston is just about an hour from A&M's campus. For more on this matchup, check out Ian Boyd's Xs & Os breakdown.

8. New Mexico State at Florida Under 57.5 points: Jim McElwain is an offensive-minded coach, but he won't change that much in Year 1; this will still be a team with a stout defense and a troubled offense. Florida has been playing two quarterbacks consistently, which hurts chemistry with receivers. The Gators have one of the least experienced offensive lines in football. Oh, and there is a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms.

9. UTSA at Arizona Under 60.5 points: First, there is a 49 percent chance of thunderstorms in the desert, which seems a bit unusual. Second, the Roadrunners' offense was already poor, and now it has one of the least experienced lines in the country, while its defense plays with a lot of effort. Arizona, meanwhile, stops the run better than the pass and returns almost its entire front seven, which matches up well.

Dan Rubenstein picks the five biggest games, with glorious Compton brisket tacos.

10. Akron at Oklahoma Under 57.5 points: Oklahoma lost two All-Big 12 tackles and an All-Big 12 guard and another guard who started 32 games. Yes, Oklahoma has some seniors, and yes, I am high on new coordinator Lincoln Riley, but it might take a week or two to get going. Oklahoma's defense should remain quite good. The line suggests a game of about 45-14, and I see something closer to 42-7.

11. ULM at Georgia Under 54.5 points: Georgia's defense lost a lot up front, but the Warhawks' offensive line simply isn't good. Look for Georgia to stifle ULM and get it going on the ground with Nick Chubb, but to struggle a bit through the air in a 38-7-type game.

12. Mississippi State at Southern Miss Under 61.5 points: Mississippi State lost a lot at the skill positions and its three more experienced linemen. Yet Dan Mullen could push this total over if he wanted to by running Dak Prescott a lot. But Mullen is smarter than that. In 2014, he ran Prescott almost twice as much against winning teams (20 times per game) as he did losing teams (12).

13. Georgia Southern at West Virginia Under 56.5 points: Georgia Southern's offensive line is not very good, and West Virginia stops the run quite well. WVU's lack of a pass rush is not such a big issue against a triple option team. Oh, and Georgia Southern QB Kevin Ellison is suspended.

14. Texas State at Florida State Under 64 points: Texas State's offense should improve as its defense takes a step back, and it will look to run up tempo. That's not a recipe for unders. But Florida State's defense is way ahead of its offense. FSU will probably look to throw more to work on the passing game than it would in a conference game. Oh, and there is a better than 50 percent chance for thunderstorms.

15. Duke at Tulane +7.5: I believe Tulane can upset Duke. Tulane plays excellent defense relative to its league, and if there is a weakness, it is the Green Wave's new secondary. But Duke lost its quarterback, its two best receivers and two best offensive linemen, and does not seem prepared to take advantage. On the other hand, Duke lost a lot on the defensive front, and is likely to be much better against the pass than the run. That's fine for Tulane, which is better on the ground.

16. Western Kentucky -2 at Vanderbilt: I believe Vanderbilt is a bad team that won't get a whole lot better in 2015. And as a rule, if a team from a lesser conference is favored over one from a better league, pay special attention. In this case, WKU's offense is way too proficient for Vanderbilt to go score-for-score, even if its defense is bad enough to make the Commodores' offense looks decent.

17. South Dakota State +5.5 at Kansas: KU is an absolute mess, and due to having only 64 scholarship players -- one more than South Dakota State -- this is a battle of FBS v. FCS in name only. Combine that with a new coaching staff and only five returning starters, and it is not hard to think that this could take a while.

(Not all casinos in Vegas offer lines on FBS v. FCS games, but most quality offshore books do.)

18. Maine at Boston College Under 45 points: Boston College is replacing basically its entire offensive line and its quarterback, who happened to be its leading rusher. Oh, and its three leading receivers. That is a ton. On the other side, Maine again projects to have a stingy defense and is hoping to not again have one of the worst offenses in FCS.

19. Bethune-Cookman at Miami Under 52.5 points: Reports out of Miami camp are of an improved defense and a questionable offensive line. Add in a greater than 50 percent chance of thunderstorms that could put a damper on Brad Kaaya's passing game, and the under makes sense.

20. Stony Brook at Toledo Under 50.5 points: Toledo was pretty good against the run, and is itself without its best running back in Kareem Hunt, who is suspended. And Toledo is replacing all five offensive line starters.

21. Villanova -3 at Connecticut: UConn is an underdog at home to an FCS team. FCS being favored over FBS is pretty much an auto-wager situation.


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