The college football season kicks off this week as teams ranked inside the Associated Press’ top 25 get on the gridiron.
And while the first week typically offers a smorgasbord of games that more closely resemble scrimmages, eight ranked teams begin their 2018-19 campaigns against ranked opponents.
The week is headlined by No. 6 Washington playing at No. 9 Auburn in a game that could have College Football Playoff (CFP) implications. The only week one showdown featuring two teams ranked inside the preseason AP top 10, the Huskies are slight underdogs playing in Alabama.
The Westgate SuperBook has Auburn spotting Washington 1.5 points on the spread. Bettors who like the Huskies can find better odds at Caesars and William Hill, where they’re being given 2.5 points.
The game will boil down to whether Washington QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin can be efficient against the Tigers, a team featuring a defense that’s expected to be one of the best in the nation.
No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 12 Notre Dame
The next ranked vs. ranked game will see the Michigan Wolverines travel to South Bend to play the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is a slim one-point favorite over the maize and blue.
It will be the first time the two teams have played since 2014. Michigan was shutout 31-0 four years ago when they arrived in South Bend.
Both teams have CFP aspirations, but a loss in week one would give each an uphill climb throughout the rest of the season.
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU
The third game goes down Sunday in the neutral site of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Miami will arrive as the favorite, with the SuperBook having the Hurricanes spotting LSU 3.5 points.
The ‘Canes hope to rebound after finishing the 2017 season with three consecutive losses. They plummeted from a No. 2 ranking in week 13 to finishing No. 13.
No. 20 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Florida State
The only in-conference ranked vs. ranked matchup is a battle of ACC squads. The Hokies travel south to Tallahassee where they will be a more than touchdown underdog (7.5 points).
It will be the Seminoles’ first game without former coach Jimbo Fisher after he departed for Texas A&M. But Florida State returns Deondre Francois at quarterback and many believe freshman running back Cam Akers is the real deal to return FSU to better form after a disappointing 7-6 season a year ago.
As for the top 5 in the AP, all should easily win their week one games. And oddsmakers say they won’t even be remotely competitive.
No. 1 Alabama plays at home against Louisville, and is favored by 25.5 points.
No. 2 Clemson welcomes Furman, and oddsmakers aren’t even taking bets on what will be a lopsided affair.
No. 3 Georgia plays at home against Austin Peay, and ditto on no bets offered at the leading sportsbooks.
No. 4 Wisconsin brings Western Kentucky to town, and spots them 35.5 points.
No. 5 Ohio State faces Oregon State in Columbus, and is giving 37 points at the SuperBook.
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