College Football Best Bets for Week 1: Is the Georgia-Clemson line done moving?

A primetime, top-five showdown of the Georgia Bulldogs and Clemson Tigers is expected to generate the most betting handle of any game this weekend but it’s not a situation that instills fear into the oddsmakers. Sharp money has already driven this number down from Clemson -4 to -3, and now the recreational bettors will take it from here and represent a giant portion of the handle.

“It will definitely be public money,” FanDuel communications director Kevin Hennessy told ESPN. “We typically see interest starting Thursday and it then becomes a crescendo into Saturday night. You’ll see people who take their winnings from early games and play them into Saturday evening games.”

Season openers operate on a unique timeline, given the odds have been posted throughout the summer. After this weekend, a game will typically move throughout the week but for this clash, oddsmakers do not expect any more sharp action. “I think the line is just going to stay at three,” said Ed Salmons, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook vice president of oddsmaking and risk management, sharing that almost all of the SuperBook’s handle will arrive this weekend.

Georgia has encountered numerous injuries during training camp and some at key positions but that should not induce any line movement. “Teams like Georgia and Alabama, when a guy gets hurt, the guy behind him is probably better,” Salmons said. “They just recruit at such a high level. They can almost field two teams. Same with Clemson.” –– Doug Kezirian

Every Thursday during the college football season, betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Bill Connelly, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh and David M. Hale will provide their top plays across the college football landscape.

Here are their best bets for Week 1 of the college football season.

Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill as of Wednesday (unless otherwise indicated).

Thursday games

Temple Owls at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-14, 51.5), 6:30 p.m. ET

Fortenbaugh: All hail the return of head coach Greg Schiano, who took a 2-10 squad from 2019, navigated his way through a pandemic with very little offseason time to improve his roster and finished last year 3-6 with a triple overtime loss to Michigan. Schiano now has a full offseason of work under his belt and 21 returning starters at his disposal. Meanwhile, the Owls are coming off a brutal 1-6 season in which they were outscored by an average of 20.5 points per game in their six defeats. Look for Schiano and the Scarlet Knights to make an early statement.

Pick: Rutgers -14

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