College Football Betting Week 1: Alabama Draws Sharp, Public Action

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Week Zero provided a little warm-up for the 2021-22 college football betting market. But Week 1 serves up a far more robust college football odds menu, including a few high-profile matchups.

The most noteworthy games on the college football Week 1 betting board: Alabama vs. Miami on Saturday afternoon, then Georgia vs. Clemson on Saturday night. Both are getting plenty of attention at South Point sportsbook, which led the way by posting those matchups and many others way back on May 21. dives into college football Week 1 betting odds and action on a handful of noteworthy contests.

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs No. 16 Miami Hurricanes

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Opening line/total: Alabama -13, Over/Under 62

UPDATE 9:30 P.M. ET FRIDAY: South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews put himself out on a limb when he posted this contest among his Games of the Year on May 21, well before pretty much any other book. And early sharp bettors definitely felt they had an edge.

Andrews opened Alabama as a 13-point favorite for this neutral-site game at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In less than an hour, the line was up to Alabama -16. By early August, the Crimson Tide were 18-point favorites, and the line twice crept up to -19.5, where it stands right now.

“They started taking it back at 19.5,” Andrews said of a number that finally got the attention of Miami bettors, noting South Point moved to -19 Thursday, but went back to -19.5 tonight. No question, the book still needs the Hurricanes.

“I’m used to rooting against Alabama. It’s not much fun to do it, but I’m used to it,” Andrews said. “No doubt, we’re Miami fans.”

The total opened at 62 earlier this week and is down to 61. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.

No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs vs No. 2 Clemson Tigers

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Opening line/total: Clemson -3.5, Over/Under 52

UPDATE 9:30 P.M.ET FRIDAY: Clemson hit South Point’s odds board at -3.5 on May 21, and the first move was up to -4. In early August, the Tigers dipped to -3.5, then in mid-August to -3, and the number hasn’t budged since in another neutral-site game, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

But Andrews is prepared to make a move, in a game that he expects will have the highest handle of all the Week 1 tilts.

“We’re probably gonna wind up going back to 3.5,” he said. “At 3, the money is on Clemson. Anything above 3, they’ve been on Georgia. The opening number was almost dead-on, and it’s one of the best games of the year, not just this weekend.”

The total is down a point to 51. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers

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Opening line/total: Wisconsin -3.5, Over/Under 50

UPDATE 9:30 P.M.ET FRIDAY: This line was another noteworthy mover at South Point, with Wisconsin stretching to -5.5 a couple of times, including earlier this evening. But that’s not indicative of a looming major decision.

“We’re not too out of whack,” Andrews said. “We probably need Penn State a little bit, but nothing really bad.”

The total hasn’t budged for one of Saturday’s first kickoffs, set for noon ET.

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes

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Opening line/total: Iowa -5, Over/Under 46

UPDATE 9:30 P.M.ET FRIDAY: Iowa made its way down to -3 by Aug. 22, then rebounded to -3.5 on Aug. 24 and -4 on Thursday.

“This is another one where the opening number held up pretty good,” Andrews said, as the current number trended toward his initial position back in May. “There’s pretty good action on this game, not a strong need either way.”

The total opened at 46 on Monday and dipped to 45 for a few hours Tuesday before returning to 46. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.

No. 13 LSU Tigers at UCLA Bruins

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Opening line/total: LSU -2, Over/Under 66.5

UPDATE 9:30 P.M. ET FRIDAY: This line went on a little ride at South Point, where LSU opened -2 as part of Andrews’ May 21 Games of the Year release. From there, the Tigers stretched out to -4.5, most recently on Aug. 15. By Thursday, however, the line was almost back to the opener, with LSU a 2.5-point chalk.

“Since we got to 4.5, it’s been all UCLA,” Andrews said. “I had a feeling when I opened at 2, money would show on LSU, and it did. But they’re coming back on UCLA now. We’re pretty even.”

The total is down to 64.5 from the Aug. 30 opener of 66.5. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.

No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at No. 19 Texas Longhorns

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Opening line/total: Texas -9, Over/Under 58

UPDATE 9:30 P.M. ET FRIDAY: This could be a sneaky-interesting Top 25 clash, and Andrews actually likes the underdog in this spot.

“This is a really good game. Remember, Louisiana beat Iowa State in the season opener last year,” Andrews said, alluding to the Ragin’ Cajuns 31-14 upset as 13.5-point road underdogs. “The first bet on this game was on Texas, and I went to -10. Then they took the +10 with Louisiana.”

Andrews agreed with the latter action, primarily because  Texas has a new coach in Steve Sarkisian.

“As a general rule, I don’t like new coaches,” he said. “I think Louisiana is the right side. I’ve got money both ways, but I think the sharper side is Louisiana.”

The total is stable at 58 for this 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Florida State Seminoles

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Opening line/total: Notre Dame -6, Over/Under 56

UPDATE 9:30 P.M. ET FRIDAY: In another of South Point’s Games of the Year, Notre Dame shot up from its -6 opener all the way to -9.5. But that line steadily dropped over the past three weeks and is now -7 for a Sunday night prime-time kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“We’re almost back to the original number,” Andrews said. “It’s not a huge need either way right now. It’s a good-action game, and that’ll be a heavily bet game by Sunday night.”

The total is down a tick to 55.5.