Week 1 College Football Odds: Title Contenders Start Season by Scheduling Cupcakes

Posted on: August 31, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: August 30, 2019, 12:14h.

Of all the traditions in college football, none is more sacred than the annual parade of title favorites playing overmatched opposition in Week 1 of the season. That’s a trend that won’t change in 2019, as each of the top five ranked teams in the country are favored by 20 points or more in their openers, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Week 1 College Football
No. 2 Alabama is expected to start the 2019 college football season with a comfortable victory over the Duke Blue Devils (Image: Adam Hagy/USA Today Sports)

Despite those likely blowouts, there’s still plenty of reason to tune in for first full slate of games following the two “Week 0” contests last weekend. Here’s a look at five of the must-watch games taking place across the country.

No. 2 Alabama (-32.5) vs. Duke

While other teams may have their say before all is said and done, the 2019 college football season begins the way the last few have: revolving around Alabama and Clemson. After the Tigers had their chance to show off against Georgia Tech on Thursday, Alabama will look to answer back with an even more emphatic win against the overmatched Blue Devils.

Duke has a solid defensive core, and Alabama has some injury and suspension issues, meaning the Blue Devils have a chance to cover the spread. But make no mistake: Alabama will win, and win big.

No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (-4)

Not every good team starts the year by avoiding competitive opposition. Oregon and Auburn will meet in a matchup that could give the winner a lot of momentum in the early season, while the loser will be on the verge of being out of the playoff picture (such is the brutal nature of college football’s regular season).

Fair or not, this game could also be important to the reputation of the Pac-12. Having been shut out of the College Football Playoff for two straight seasons, the conference is already off to a poor start, with Arizona being upset by Hawaii 45-38 last weekend.

Northwestern vs. No. 25 Stanford (-6.5)

Speaking of the Pac-12, Stanford will play host to a Northwestern team that may not be ranked, but is coming off four straight winning seasons, including a 9-5 mark last year that included an appearance in the Big Ten championship game. Stanford is hoping to step up into the top tier of Pac-12 contenders, and a win against a pesky Wildcats squad that shouldn’t be quite as strong as the 2018 Northwestern team would go a long way toward establishing the Cardinal as a force.

Boise State vs. Florida State (-6.5)

What was poised to be a classic battle between one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in the country and a Florida State team looking to re-establish itself as a powerhouse has been overshadowed by the encroaching danger of Hurricane Dorian.

The storm has forced the game to be moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, which may not feel any impact from the hurricane. In addition, the game will now take place at noon rather than in the 7 pm primetime slot. While the new venue makes this a true home game for the Seminoles, Boise State doesn’t seem worried about the change.

To me, it doesn’t matter,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin told reporters after the move was announced on Thursday. “We’ll play in a parking lot. We’ll do whatever. We just want to go play.”

Virginia Tech (-5) vs. Boston College

There aren’t many in-conference matchups in Week 1 of the college football season. But the ACC battle between Virginia Tech and Boston College is one. While neither team figures to factor heavily into the ACC title picture, both will be circling this as a critical game if they want to make a bowl game at the end of the year. The Hokies should have the edge in talent, but they also have the pressure of knowing that a loss will lead to questions about the direction of the program after a 6-7 campaign in 2018.