College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 1: Alabama, Clemson open as favorites vs. Miami, Georgia

Written by on August 29, 2021

The schedule for Week 1 of the 2021 college football season is absolutely loaded as the sport packs in six consecutive days of action starting Wednesday with UAB hosting Jacksonville State and concluding on Monday night with Ole Miss and Louisville facing off in Atlanta. That’s also six straight days of opportunities to wager on college football, so it’s time to dig in on the betting lines for Week 1. 

The weekend is highlighted by a top-five matchup between Clemson and Georgia in Charlotte and Alabama’s 2021 debut in another neutral-site showdown against Miami (FL) in Atlanta. But these top-tier nonconference games aren’t the only must-see showdowns on the slate as Ohio State-Minnesota, Penn State-Wisconsin, Indiana-Iowa all continue what is already an eventful Big Ten conference schedule and North Carolina gets its ACC Coastal campaign started in a tough road spot at Virginia Tech

There’s tons of games to choose from across the extended week, so we decided to highlight the odds from some of the best ones below. 

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook 

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson (-3) — Charlotte: No game will draw more intrigue than the Saturday night showdown between two national champion hopefuls. While both teams could potentially rebound from a loss an still accomplish of their goals, the winner emerges as the first contender to have proven themselves against an elite opponent. The Tigers opened as a 4-point favorite this summer, and the line has been every so slowly creeping in Georgia’s direction. That might be more of a reflection of value in a game that many expect to be a one-possession contest late into the fourth quarter.    

No. 1 Alabama (-18.5) vs. No. 14 Miami (FL) — Atlanta: We have seen Alabama really run away with games in Week 1 against Power Five opponents, but in terms of AP Top 25 rankings, this is one of the “tougher” matchups the Crimson Tide have faced in these neutral-site kickoff games. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King is looking to show full recovery from a knee injury suffered in the bowl game, and if he’s got the Hurricanes offense rolling like it was at its best in 2020, the underdog might have a chance to make it interesting. Bryce Young and the Alabama offense, now under the guidance of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, is a big unknown; however, it’s generally believed that the Tide will be anchored by one of the best defenses in the country. 

No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin (-4.5): The Big Ten has done a great job of delivering intriguing games here in the first seven days of the season, starting with Nebraska-Illinois in Week 0 and continuing on into Ohio State’s 2021 debut on Thursday at Minnesota and these two top-20, cross-division showdowns on Saturday. Penn State’s visit to Madison is the star of the early Saturday kickoff window, and this betting line combined with the total (50) tells you everything you need to know about what should be a tough and physical battle decided at the line of scrimmage. 

No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa (-3.5): Tom Allen’s Indiana program has been surging the last two seasons, and now, the Hoosiers enter the year with real expectations. Those expectations will be tested immediately with one of the tougher road trips in the Big Ten. Iowa is replacing a ton on defense, but few are ready to downgrade a Hawkeyes team that was seven combined points from an undefeated regular season, division title and shot at the Big Ten championship in 2020. 

No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas (-8): This line has been dropping through the summer as momentum continues to build for what Louisiana can accomplish this year. There’s also some healthy skepticism for the Longhorns in Steve Sarkisian’s debut. In naming Hudson Card the starter, Sarkisian put to rest one of the big unknowns about the offense, which will be needed to put up points against an experienced Ragin’ Cajuns team that wants to get right back to its 10-win ways with an upset of a Big 12 team.  

Who will win every college football game, and which teams will sink your bankroll? Visit SportsLine now to get college football picks for every FBS game, all from the model that simulates every game 10,000 times and went 56-36 on top-rated picks last season.

Best of the rest 

No. 4 Ohio State (-13.5) at Minnesota — Thursday

No. 10 North Carolina (-5.5) at Virginia Tech — Friday

No. 2 Oklahoma (-26.5) at Tulane

Fresno State at No. 11 Oregon (-20)

Miami (OH) at No. 8 Cincinnati (-23)

San Jose State at No. 15 USC (-14)

FAU at No. 13 Florida (-24.5)

Kent State at No. 6 Texas A&M (-29.5)

No. 16 LSU (-3.5) at UCLA

No. 9 Notre Dame (-7.5) at Florida State — Sunday 

Ole Miss (-9.5) vs. Louisville — Monday (Atlanta)

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