Handicapping Week 1 of the College Football season is a tricky proposition. It is the only sport where you are handicapping games that are very important with regards to the outcome of the season without any current form available.
In Week 1 of College Football, you will see a great difference between the top teams at the FBS level to the bottom teams of the FCS level. There are plenty of games this week featuring plenty of mismatches.
With the difference in class between a lot of these teams taking the field this weekend, you will see a lot of blowouts. When I was a novice, I was always suckered into betting big dogs this opening weekend. After all, the “handicapping experts” touted to look for teams with returning starters and fade teams with inexperienced coaches. After all, this was the first game for each team, so teams have to be a little rusty.
Well after piling up losing Week 1 after losing Week 1 in College Football, I started to understand that none of that “handicapping from a magazine” mattered. Each year the difference in class between the major conferences and minor conferences was growing larger.
Since 2000, double digit favorites in game 1 of the season are 281-254-8 ATS, 53%, +1.6 units against an opponent playing in game 1. Not a great betting system, but a very good guide in understanding the class differences between these teams. This is the only situation in sports where I can find that double digit favorites are a winning play with over 500 occurrences.
Looking at the rationale behind the theory, when the power teams head into game 1 of the season, they have been practicing for weeks against each other. Therefore, SEC offenses are facing SEC caliber defenses, Pac 12 offenses and are facing Pac 12 defenses in practice. Conversely, Sun Belt and MAC teams are facing each other in practice for weeks leading up to game 1. Now when the teams step on to the field in game 1, the power teams are able to move the ball (or stop the ball) a lot easier by facing lesser athletes in the game then they did in practice, and the lower conference teams find it harder to do that.
If you find your Week 1 College Football card full of double digit dogs, you may be in for a rough week.
1* FLORIDA STATE -17.5 over Oklahoma State
Florida State returns a lot. Oklahoma State does not.
FSU returns 13 starters which includes 4 of 5 offensive linemen and the Heisman Trophy winning Quarterback. All five offensive linemen are seniors.
Oklahoma State returns only 8 starters with only two on the offensive line and a new starting QB. There are only two seniors on the two deeps for Oklahoma State’s offensive line. The two deeps at wideout consist of three sophs and a junior. The two deeps in the secondary consists of one senior who does not start. Both safeties are sophs and both CB’s are juniors with only one returning starter in the secondary.
Tough opener for a very young Cowboys squad who struggled on defense at the end of last season allowing 33 to Oklahoma and 41 to Missouri in the bowl game.