During the college football season, gambling lines for individual games don’t come out until the Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon beforehand. Players get hurt, teams get better and worse, and Las Vegas doesn’t like to pick its horses too early. But if you’re up for it, you can bet on some extra early lines before the season even starts.
Early game lines give us a sense of where oddsmakers think teams will stack up during the season. (Another indicator is over/under win totals, many of which are here.)
Here are some game odds for the first few weeks of the regular season, via Odds Shark. The biggest ones are below, along with some early lines for some of the most anticipated games of the rest of the year, via the South Point Casino in Vegas.
College football game betting lines, 2017
|Aug. 31||Ohio State||-20||Indiana|
|Sept. 1||Colorado||-8||Colorado State|
|Sept. 2||South Carolina||-4||NC State|
|Sept. 2||North Carolina||-8||Cal|
|Sept. 2||Alabama||-6.5||Florida State|
|Sept. 2||Georgia||-14||Appalachian State|
|Sept. 2||Boise State||-11||Troy|
|Sept. 2||Notre Dame||-15.5||Temple|
|Sept. 9||Iowa||-2||Iowa State|
|Sept. 9||Ohio State||-8||Oklahoma|
|Sept. 9||Penn State||-19||Pitt|
|Sept. 16||Oklahoma State||-4.5||Pitt|
|Sept. 16||Stanford||-5||San Diego State|
|Sept. 23||Notre Dame||-4||Michigan State|
|Sept. 23||Texas A&M||-10||Arkansas|
|Oct. 6||BYU||-6||Boise State|
|Oct. 7||Alabama||-10.5||Texas A&M|
|Oct. 7||Michigan||-15||Michigan State|
|Oct. 7||Navy||-15.5||Air Force|
|Oct. 14||San Diego State||-6.5||Boise State|
|Oct. 21||Colorado||-1||Washington State|
|Oct. 21||Florida State||-6.5||Louisville|
|Oct. 21||USC||-6.5||Notre Dame|
|Oct. 21||Boise State||-7||Wyoming|
|Oct. 21||Penn State||-14||Michigan|
|Oct. 28||Oklahoma State||-5||West Virginia|
|Oct. 28||Ohio State||-8.5||Penn State|
|Nov. 4||Oklahoma||-1||Oklahoma State|
|Nov. 4||Army||-3||Air Force|
|Nov. 4||Georgia||-14||South Carolina|
|Nov. 11||Clemson||-5||Florida State|
|Nov. 11||Kansas State||-7||West Virginia|
|Nov. 11||Baylor||-7||Texas Tech|
|Nov. 11||Miami||-8||Notre Dame|
|Nov. 23||Mississippi State||-4||Ole Miss|
|Nov. 24||Virginia Tech||-6||Virginia|
|Nov. 25||Oregon||-2||Oregon State|
|Nov. 25||Florida State||-5||Florida|
|Nov. 25||Georgia||-5||Georgia Tech|
|Nov. 25||Ohio State||-8||Michigan|
|Nov. 25||Arizona State||-10||Arizona|
|Nov. 25||Stanford||-11||Notre Dame|
|Nov. 25||LSU||-12||Texas A&M|
|Nov. 25||Washington||-20||Washington State|
Some lines of particular interest:
- Penn State is a huge favorite (-14) against Michigan on Oct. 21. The Nittany Lions have a lot more of their production returning than the Wolverines, but that looks steep to me. Does anyone think Michigan won’t have a really good defense by the middle of October? That’s going to be a hard team to beat by two touchdowns. With that in mind, the Nittany Lions should be favored to win, if not by so many points.
- The Iron Bowl’s in Auburn this year, and the Tigers are +3.5 against Alabama. That assessment, that Bama is about a touchdown better than Auburn on a neutral field, looks good to me. It also means the oddsmakers like the Tigers as the No. 2 team in the SEC West, given that Alabama is a double-digit favorite against both Texas A&M and LSU. The Jarrett Stidham Hype Train might be a real thing, and for good reason.
- Tennessee and Kentucky, who play in Lexington on Oct. 28, have a zero-point spread between the two of them. I choose to present this news without commenting about how much lower expectations are for Tennessee this season than they were last year.
- San Diego State lost an all-time player in running back Donnel Pumphrey, but the oddsmakers think the Aztecs will be a top-of-the-line Group of 5 team. They’re only five-point underdogs against Stanford on Sept. 16. That’s a home game for SDSU, and we can figure that adds about three points in their favor. Still, though.
- Louisville’s favored by two at home against Clemson on Sept. 16, in one of the early season’s best games. That’s also a tossup, more or less. Last year’s meeting between the two teams was a classic, with Clemson’s win pushing the Tigers toward an ACC title and their eventual national championship.