Week 1 Friday games include Louisville vs. Georgia Tech
The Week 1 Friday four-pack doesn’t feature many prominent teams, but we do have a standalone ACC showdown on ESPN and every game has a certain level of intrigue this early in the season. Whether you are betting on the games or not, it is important to try and get eyes on the game or at least peruse the box score to get an idea of what happened. It is early and we’re all trying to figure out this year’s versions of the teams, oddsmakers included.
As mentioned for the Thursday article, we’re writing separate previews to focus on the weekday games and any best bets that may be available. Unlike the Thursday article, I don’t have a favorite play in Friday’s action, but will write up some capsules on the games.
Week 1 Hub | College football odds | College football betting splits
(Odds as of August 30, 2:30 p.m. PT)
Opinions on Louisville seem to range from “high” to “status quo” this season. There are some who believe that the program could be in for a really strong year. Jeff Brohm returns to where he played QB from 1989-93 and the long-awaited reunion includes his brother, Brian, who was also his OC at Purdue for the last six seasons. Brian is the second-leading passer in program history. Another reunion features Jack Plummer, who was a Purdue recruit and spent some time as the starter, but transferred to Cal for last season.
So, there are a lot of deep ties with this coaching staff, as Louisville does have a lot of turnover at wide receiver with the new offense taking hold. The defense, which only allowed 19.2 points per game last season, returns seven starters, but lost last year’s top three sack men and three NFL draft picks.
Brent Key begins Year 2 in Atlanta with Texas A&M transfer Haynes King at the helm. King was a four-star recruit in the class of 2020 and will run first-year OC Buster Faulkner’s offense. The Yellow Jackets have really struggled to score points since Paul Johnson and the triple-option left in 2018. Maybe King and a lot of transfers will help.
Defensively, Georgia Tech improved from 2021 to 2022 by 5.1 points per game and a full yard per play. That defense will get stretched out and tested by Louivsille, a team that they haven’t played since 2020. The Yellow Jackets lost their top three tacklers, including Ayinde Eley (118) and Charlie Thomas (112), plus second-round pick Keion White. The top returnee had 52 tackles, so this might be a game to consider the Over 48.5. My Power Ratings do make it 10.5, but I’m not confident in my rating of Louisville (or Georgia Tech) just yet.
Other Week 1 Friday Games
Stanford Cardinal (-3.5, 58) at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: The annual question of “Is it better to have played a game or not?” is on the minds of many in this one, as Hawaii comes off a Week 0 loss, but easy cover against Vanderbilt and Stanford begins anew with head coach Troy Taylor. Stanford is replacing an underappreciated, good QB in Tanner McKee, plus a lot of last year’s defense and four of the five offensive linemen.
We’ve already got a data point for Hawaii, who was -2 in turnovers and gave up a kick return TD in the seven-point loss to Vanderbilt. It probably helps Timmy Chang that his team played, but it also helps Taylor and his coaches to have actual film on Hawaii’s schemes and tendencies. Hawaii has certainly seen a lot of love in the betting markets, going from +10.5 in the summer to +3.5 a couple days in advance of the game.
Miami (OH) RedHawks at Miami (FL) Hurricanes (-17, 45.5): In what has informally been referred to as the “Confusion Bowl” (no, really, there’s a Wikipedia page!), Miami of Ohio, which is actually in Oxford, and Miami of Florida, which is actually in Coral Gables, meet for the first time since 1987.
The Hurricanes had a thoroughly disappointing 5-7 season in Year 1 under Mario Cristobal. There is a ton of returning production, but this was a team that managed just 23.6 points per game and allowed 5.9 yards per play, the defense’s worst showing since giving up 6.1 YPP in 2012. After starting the season in the Top 25, Miami fell out by mid-October and lost four of the final six games by 24 or more points and needed four overtimes to beat Virginia 14-12.
The RedHawks are out-talented in this game, but do have a really experienced QB in Brent Gabbert and have had a feisty defense in most seasons under head coach Chuck Martin. I won’t be surprised if they keep this game close, but my line is 18.5 here, so I don’t have much line value or much desire to trust a RedHawks bunch that will have to play in extreme heat with a heat index of 95 degrees at kickoff.
Central Michigan Chippewas at Michigan State Spartans (-14.5, 45.5): One of those Little Brother vs. Big Brother games takes place in East Lansing. I’m sure students will be excited for this one with the first couple weeks of classes and a night game on a Friday, but it could be a subdued atmosphere at Spartan Stadium because expectations are not high at all for this season. The Spartans don’t have much experience at QB and have limited returning production at WR.
Central Michigan is a middling MAC team with co-starters at QB in Jase Bauer and Bert Emanuel. Both guys may be better runners than passers. Given that CMU was -18 in turnover margin last season, there are some reasons to think that they’ll be better, especially with nine starters back on a pretty solid defense, but this is a step up in class. Maybe they’ll get hammered in the non-conference visiting Michigan State, South Alabama, and Notre Dame so that we can play on them in conference play. My line here is 17, but we’ve got a really low total and that compresses the game a bit.