Week 1 college football best bets
Week 0 was a great appetizer for what is sure to be an exquisite entree in Week 1, with a full slate of games from Thursday night all the way through Monday night. We split our best bets last week, going 1-1, hitting on Notre Dame -20.5 and losing on New Mexico State -6.5. For more details on how the T Shoe Index performed, you can get that information here. Enough looking back, let’s get to this week’s best bets.
We head to Blacksburg for best bet #1, where the full-on fade of Virginia Tech gets underway. I gave out the Virginia Tech season win total Under 5 as a best bet this season, and while I don’t think they necessarily lose this game (although they did last year), my T Shoe Index sees this much closer to a one-score game. The official TSI projection on this game is Virginia Tech -5.5, as these teams are rated very similar on both sides of the ball. Offensively, don’t expect many fireworks here, as both teams are ranked outside the top 100 in my offensive ratings, with the Hokies being 113th and the Monarchs being 123rd. Defensively, it’s not much better. VT is the 73rd-rated TSI defense and Old Dominion is 78th. Two somewhat even teams in a game that the ‘dog won outright last year? I’ll take the 16 points with the Monarchs.
The Pick: Old Dominion +16 (play to 14)
Speaking of a lack of offensive fireworks, best bet #2 is on a game featuring the Texas A&M Aggies and the New Mexico Lobos, two teams with uninspiring offenses. Texas A&M is ranked 51st in TSI offensive ratings, while the Lobos are 132nd (second to last in FBS). Conversely, the A&M defense projects to be stingy as the #3 TSI defense heading into the season while New Mexico is right at 100th. The official TSI projected score on this game is 40-2(!!), which likely translates to a 42-0 win for the Aggies in their first game with new OC Bobby Petrino. As a cherry on top, my totals projections tended to be slightly inflated last week given the new clock rules, so we’ll take that as added value for this play.
Pick: Under 49 (Play to 48)
Coach Jamey Chadwell makes his Liberty debut at home against Bowling Green and new QB Connor Bazelak, who transferred in from Indiana. The T Shoe Index sees a lot of value in backing the Flames here, with a projection of Liberty -17.5. Liberty projects to have the 17th-best offense and 13th-best defense in the Group of Five, while the Falcons are ranked 47th and 44th on offense and defense, respectively. Liberty is more talented and projected to be significantly better on both sides of the ball, so I will gladly lay less than 10 here.
Pick: Liberty -9.5 (Play to 10)
Follow along this college football season where I’ll have the weekend’s best bets right here every Wednesday and be sure to follow me on X @TShoeIndex. If you want to check out the full T Shoe Index ratings and projections, that is available here. Until next time, let’s cash some bets!