College Football Week 1 Model Projections: Austin Mock Best Bets

After seeing no value in an entertaining Week 0 of the college football season, we’re back with a handful of bets on Week 1 (the “real” start of college football). My college football betting model returns this year after going 52-43-3 last season with a 4.7% ROI. It’s early in the season and there’s a lot of change going on all over the college football scene, so I’m a little conservative going into the season compared to how things will be in a few weeks. However, our Saturdays will be full of sweat, heartbreak and joy for the next four months, but we will be spending the time of our lives.

My college football betting model takes a blast of different metrics and creates a projection for each team. Those projections are then used to project a margin and a total for each game. From there, my model can find the possibility of a game covering the spread or the total. I use an “edge threshold” to determine what to bet on, so there will be some games where you see a smaller edge but won’t bet, here’s why. If there is another advantage game and there is no bet, it is probably due to injury or some other circumstance that I am not sure my model can capture.

The best bets of week 1

All bets are to win one unit with the favorites and risk one unit with the underdogs. All odds are from BetMGM and locked in when the selection was made.

Illinois +3 (-110) at Indiana

Wrong team favored? Well, not exactly how my model makes this game a pick ’em, but the point remains. Illinois is coming off an impressive rout in Week 0 and I firmly believe that they will have the best defense and coaching staff in this game. Offense-wise, Illinois has a slight edge there as well, according to my model. After adjusting for opponent, my model believes that Illinois is superior to Indiana in yards per play, hit rate, and EPA/play. So, worst case scenario, you’re giving me an equal offense, a better defense and a better coaching staff. Sure, Illinois is on its way here, but I can’t get through on this number. Illinois is on the up with Bret Bielema and I’m not sure if the betting market expects Indiana to bounce back to 2020 levels, and maybe the Hoosiers will, but I certainly don’t think so.

Worst price to bet: Illinois +3 (-120)

Model Projection: Indiana 23.2, Illinois 22.9

Notre Dame +17.5 (-110) at Ohio State

Ok, time to sweat. Marcus Freeman’s hype train has been rolling through South Bend and has landed them as high as No. 5 in the preseason AP poll. Now my model certainly isn’t that high on the Irish, I think they should have a pretty good defense, coincidentally they’re ranked 5th on my model, and that’s going to be the backbone of this team. Of course, the Buckeyes, led by Heisman hopeful CJ Stroud, will get theirs, but I think Notre Dame can stop enough and/or limit explosive plays to slow this game down. Defense should be key, but offense will be more like Freeman, an unknown. Tyler Buchner, a former top-tier recruit, will be under center and it’s unclear how efficient he can be. If he plays to his potential, sure, the Irish could live in Columbus, but that’s a big if. One potential upside here is that Notre Dame will face new Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ scheme for the second straight game. Combine that with the Buckeyes learning a new system and maybe Buchner can find some easy plays.

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Worst price to bet: Notre Dame +17 (-110)

Model Projection: Ohio State 37.9, Notre Dame 22.6

Boise State ML +120 in Oregon State

This is similar to the previous Illinois/Indiana game. I’m getting +120 in a game that my model has rated closer to a pick ’em. Boise State’s defense should be fantastic again after giving up just 19 points per game in 2021, ranking 12th in the country. My model isn’t that high on his offense, but luckily he’s also not too high on the Oregon State drive. Oregon State has a slight edge here, but not enough to close the gap between defenses. I’m not too excited to bet on a poor road offense in Week 1, but Boise State does return with its quarterback and offensive coordinator for the first time in years. The defense must live up to its end of the bargain, so it will be up to the offense to get this ticket out the window.

Worst price to bet: Boise State +115

Model projection: State of Oregon 26.2, State of Boise 25.9

Houston at UTSA Over 61.5 (-110)

Two good offenses and two average or worse defenses? And the tempo should be slightly above average? Give me the over all day, please. My model ranks both offenses in the top 35, while neither defense ranks in the top 50. Clayton Tune, who threw for 30 touchdowns last season, returns to Houston while Frank Harris, who had 27 TD passes last season, returns to UTSA. Both quarterbacks are leading offenses that have high hopes this season and should be among the best in the Group of 5. The outcome of this game will likely come down to which defense gets more stops, so being under here would be quite a sweat.

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Worst price to bet: Over 62 (-110)

Model Projection: Houston 34.6, UTSA 31.8

Full Week 1 Model Projections

The app’s dark screen theme interferes with the look of the table. If you’re in the app, switch to light mode by tapping the Aa button at the top to see it properly. XSPREAD is the model projected point spread for the game with the BetMGM spread at the time of publication shown to the right. XTOTAL is the combined projected point total with the BetMGM total (over/under) listed at the time of publication to the right of that number.

Equipment xSpread BetMGM x TOTAL BetMGM O/U

-30.8

-34.5

65.7

67.5

-20.3

-twenty-one

61.5

59.5

-9.2

-7.5

54.6

51

-4.2

-3.5

51.2

53.5

-18.5

-19.5

61.5

60.5

-35.3

-36.5

52.1

53.5

-6.7

-8.5

50.8

49.5

-21.2

-21.5

54.7

54.5

-3.9

-7

54.7

51.5

-0.3

-3

46.2

48.5

-12.5

-13.5

57.6

55.5

-25.9

-30.5

58.5

61.5

-0.8

-1

58.3

55.5

-11.3

-11.5

54.9

54.5

-7.5

-7

46.4

48.5

-19.3

-23.5

66

63.5

-22.6

-24.5

61.5

57.5

-4.9

-6

54.1

52.5

-9.1

-6.5

44.8

46.5

-15.2

-17.5

51.7

52.5

-2.8

-4

66.4

61.5

-4.8

-6

47.7

44.5

-28.3

-31.5

53.4

56.5

-21.9

-22.5

54.2

57.5

-13.9

-12.5

56.1

57.5

-4.6

-1

56.8

52.5

-0.7

-4

51.7

49.5

-31

-33.5

62.7

61.5

-7.1

-5.5

61.9

57.5

-23

-3.5

50.1

49.5

-25.4

-29.5

63

58.5

-1.9

-2.5

57.9

53.5

-18.9

-16.5

53.5

52.5

-1.6

-3

52.7

50.5

-15.3

-17.5

60.5

58.5

-8.4

-10.5

71.3

68.5

-16.5

-15.5

55.5

55.5

-38.1

-41.5

65.6

62.5

-10.9

-12.5

55.2

56.5

-4.9

-4.5

57.4

56.5

-35

-37.5

68.2

64.5

-19.6

-21.5

59.6

59.5

-0.3

-2.5

52.1

56.5

-16.2

-16.5

71

67.5

-2.7

-3

52.4

51.5

-22.2

-21.5

51.7

48.5

(Tyler Buchner Photo: Darren Yamashita/USA Today)

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