FanDuel and DraftKings have posted lines for six different Week 1 games to start the 2021 college football season.
On Friday night (Sept. 3), Virginia Tech will host North Carolina at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. FanDuel has the Tar Heels installed as 5.5-point road favorites, while DraftKings has UNC at -6.5. The Hokies are +180 on the money line at DraftKings.
Mack Brown might have the nation’s top returning quarterback in true junior Sam Howell, who has thrown for 7,227 yards with a 68/14 touchdown-to-interception ratio through two seasons. Howell also has six career rushing TDs.
UNC returns 18 starters from a team that finished last year with an 8-4 straight-up record and a 5-7 against-the-spread mark.
In what will be a crucial campaign for sixth-year head coach Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech will be seeking to avenge a 56-45 loss to UNC in Chapel Hill last season.
Alabama will begin its quest to repeat as national champions in Atlanta for a 3:30 p.m. Eastern kick on ABC against Miami. FanDuel has the Crimson Tide listed as an 18.5-point ‘chalk,’ while DraftKings has Nick Saban’s bunch at -17.5. DraftKings has the Hurricanes with +575 odds to win outright.
Lots of key pieces like QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris, WR Jaylen Waddle, WR DeVonta Smith, center Landon Dickerson, OT Alec Leatherwood, cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. and LB Dylan Moses are gone, but Saban will be just fine with new QB Bryce Young and host of younger players ready for their turn.
Miami is hoping QB D’Eriq King will be healthy after suffering a knee injury late in the 2020 season. The Hurricanes started 8-1 in Manny Diaz’s second year as head coach, but they finished the year with a 62-26 home loss to UNC and a 37-34 loss to Oklahoma St. at the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando.
The game with the biggest line discrepancy is LSU at UCLA on Saturday (9/4/21). FOX will have the telecast at a to-be-determined time.
FanDuel has the Tigers as 1.5-point road favorites, while DrafKings has Ed Orgeron’s club as a 4.5-point road ‘chalk.’ The Bruins are +155 on the money line at DraftKings.
The burning question in Baton Rouge is who will be under center against the Bruins. There’s a heated QB competition taking place between Myles Brennan and rising true sophomores Max Johnson and TJ Finley. Also, will TE Arik Gilbert return or take his talents elsewhere?
According to Bill Connelly, UCLA is ranked second in the nation — behind only Louisiana — in returning production. (By the way, Diaz’s Miami Hurricanes are third in returning production.)
DraftKings has Wisconsin installed as a 3.5-point home favorite vs. Penn St. on Saturday at Camp Randall. The Nittany Lions have +123 money-line odds.
FanDuel has the Badgers favored by 4.5 points.
Clemson and Georgia will renew their old-school rivalry on a neutral field in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the Carolina Panthers. FanDuel has the Tigers as three-point favorites, while DraftKings has Dabo Swinney’s squad as a four-point ‘chalk.’
With Trevor Lawrence now a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars, it’s DJ Uiagalelei’s turn to be the Clemson starting QB. He’ll be opposed by Georgia’s JT Daniels, who had a 10/2 TD-INT ratio in four games to close out the 2020 season.
Then on Sunday night (9/5/21), FSU will play host to Notre Dame at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. DraftKings has the Fighting Irish as a 9.5-point favorite with the Seminoles at +285 on the money line.
FanDuel has Brian Kelly’s team at -9. The Fighting Irish have to replace several key member of a stellar offensive line, star QB Ian Book and many others.
FSU is hoping an influx of transfers can bolster its talent base after four consecutive seasons of utter ineptitude and losses galore.