Tuley's Takes on College Football Week 0

August 25, 2023 07:01 PM

While the NFL exhibition/preseason wraps up this weekend, we finally get "real football" with Week 0 in college football.

While we know most of our followers and VSiN subscribers are excited about betting these early-season games, there are still some skeptics who say "I'm not comfortable betting on these teams without the benefit of preseason games."

At this time of year, I always reminisce about when I played high school football (has it really been 40 years this fall?) and how we didn't have preseason games and we had to be ready right out of the gate. It's the same thing with college football, and a team can make or break its season in the opener.

We trust that all our readers have been preparing for the season with the VSiN College Football Betting Guide and the daily updates on our shows and website and are as ready as the players.

With the short seven-game CFB card on Saturday, I have just two underdogs that I like as I'm mostly relying on the "pass" part of my "dog-or-pass" approach. I also considered Navy +20.5 vs. Notre Dame in Dublin and San Jose State +31 at USC, but I almost always avoid games with really huge spreads like these as the favorite usually gets a big lead anyway and it comes down to a coin-flip as to whether the dog is able to get in the back door. In these particular cases, even though I'm usually love backing the military academies in the underdog role, I don't trust Navy to have the air attack needed to keep up with Notre Dame, plus I'm not so sure we should be fading the Irish on a "neutral site" in the home of the Irish. Meanwhile, I don't see how defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and the USC offense doesn't put up 40-50 points before benching the starters.

So, instead, let's kick off with these two (hopefully) live dogs.

Hawaii (+17.5) at Vanderbilt

Yes, we know Hawaii was blown out 63-10 by Vandy in last year's season-opener and the Rainbow Warriors had a woeful 3-10 season. But there is reason for optimism with coach Timmy Chang in his second year trying to build the program up to the hey-day when he was the QB in the early 2000s. His current QB, Brayden Schager (13 TD passes, 10 INTs) went through a lot of growing pains last year, but played better at the end of the season as Hawaii actually finished an admirable 9-4 ATS as they were more competitive in most games than most people realize.

That's why I believe this line is set too high as the Rainbow Warriors just have to stay with two TDs and a FG.

In addition, while Vanderbilt is definitely better than we've seen in recent years (and decades), it's still Vandy, which is 5-10 ATS as favorites of two TDs or more (14+ points), losing the last four. The Commodores did upset Kentucky and Florida last season, but that was with Mike Wright, who has transferred to Mississippi State, and they're now led by the less-talented AJ Swann.

Lastly, if you're a fan of the Betting Splits at VSiN.com, you should be encouraged that 76% of the bets and 69% of the money at DraftKings is on Vanderbilt as we love to fade when the public is loading up on the favorite.

Ohio +3 at San Diego State

As Week 0 was approaching, I like my Hawaii play much better than Ohio, but I'm liking the Bobcats more as the line has been climbing in this game (San Diego State -2.5 at most books, but up to -3 at DraftKings and William Hill as of early Friday morning). In addition, while the Betting Splits show 65% of the bets on SDSU, 74% of the sharper money is on Ohio.

As for the actual handicapping of the teams, I did the Mid-American Conference previews in the VSiN College Football Betting Guide and had Ohio winning the MAC East. Granted, the Bobcats do have a tough nonconference schedule starting with this game, but they should be competitive with QB Kurtis Rourke (3,256 yards passing, 25 TDs, just four INTs) returning from an ACL tear last last season in which he was still named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year.

San Diego State has a solid program that seems to reload every year in the Mountain West, but I'll certainly take Rourke over the Aztecs' QB, former defensive back Jalen Mayden (12 TDs, 10 INTs) as we're calling for the minor outright upset.

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