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Clemson, Notre Dame, and Texas all look to cover big college football betting lines on Saturday

A few ranked teams from around the country open up their seasons on Saturday, and will have some hefty betting lines to navigate

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

This season won’t be nearly as fun for Money, Cash, & Joes since there won’t be any Ohio State football. Even though we won’t have the Buckeyes or Big Ten action, there is still some money out there to be made. We might as well try and fill the void left by not watching Justin Fields and the Buckeyes with money.

Last season was solid, as we were able to finish over 10 games over .500. This year with less games to pick, we have less margin for error. MC&J always loves a challenge, so stick with us throughout the year to see how things play out.

Last season: 123-108-4 (National: 65-56-3, B1G 58-52-1)

Arkansas State v. Kansas State (-11.5) - 12:00 PM EST - FOX

Arkansas State already has a game under their belt this season, falling 37-24 last weekend to Memphis. The Red Wolves used both Layne Hatcher and Logan Bonner at quarterback against the Tigers, with the duo combing to go 27-43 for 299 yards, a touchdown, and two picks. Dahu Green was the preferred target through the air of the quarterbacks, with the Oklahoma transfer grabbed five passes for 99 yards.

Kansas State will pose a different challenge for Arkansas State than Memphis did. The Wildcats like to play a little more deliberate style of football, where Memphis isn’t quite as methodical. Skylar Thompson is in his third season as starting quarterback for Kansas State, so he knows exactly how head coach Chris Klieman wants to operate.

The Wildcats should win this game, but with it being Kansas State’s first game, they could have some early kinks to work out. Also, Kansas State has had some issues with positive COVID-19 tests, as at least 10 players had tested positive within the last few weeks. It’s a recipe for Arkansas State to stay within 7-10 points of the Wildcats.

Kansas State 33, Arkansas State 23

Syracuse v. No. 18 North Carolina (-23) - 12:00 PM EST - ACC Network

If Syracuse can keep quarterback Tommy DeVito upright in this game, they have a shot of at least making things interesting. Last season DeVito was sacked 44 times, but he was good when he didn’t have defenders breathing down his neck, tossing 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Mack Brown already has things trending in the right direction in Chapel Hill. In his first season back at North Carolina, the Tar Heels went 7-6 and crushed Temple in the Military Bowl. Freshman quarterback Sam Howell was outstanding last year, tossing 38 touchdowns. Howell should be in for an even bigger sophomore season, as 1,000-yard receivers Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown also return.

I like this North Carolina team to make some noise this year, but I think this spread might be a couple ticks too high. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers will have a plan ready to at least let his team hang around and allow DeVito to make some plays. The Tar Heels aren’t threatened really in this game, but they also don’t run away from the Orange.

North Carolina 38, Syracuse 21

Louisiana v. No. 23 Iowa State (-11.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN

Matt Campbell is one of the best young coaches in college football and he has a returning starter at quarterback in Brock Purdy. Should be an easy win for the Cyclones in Ames, right? Not so fast. Last year the Cyclones struggled to beat Northern Iowa in the season opener in overtime, so nothing is a given.

The Ragin’ Cajuns also have a pretty good head coach/quarterback combo. Billy Napier is in his third season in Lafayette, with his squad posting an 11-3 record last season and winning the LendingTree Bowl. Levi Lewis chucked 26 touchdowns last season for the Ragin’ Cajuns, and will look to cap off his college career with a bang.

Louisiana is going to have a lot to play for in this one. Not only do the Ragin’ Cajuns want to continue the momentum Napier has started, but they’ll want to give Lafayette some excitement after Hurricane Laura hit the area hard a few weeks ago. Expect another Iowa State opener that comes down to the wire.

Iowa State 34, Louisiana 31

Duke v. No. 10 Notre Dame (-20.5) - 2:30 PM EST - NBC

Even though they start the season ranked 10th, expect Notre Dame to be in the CFP race at the end of the year. The Fighting Irish have Ian Book returning at quarterback for a third season, so there shouldn’t be any hiccups in running the offense. Former Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees takes over as offensive coordinator but I wouldn’t expect to see many growing pains.

Duke’s 2019 season left a lot to be desired, with David Cutcliffe’s team finishing 5-7. Things won’t start off great for the Blue Devils in 2020, as they’ll be tasked with facing a stout Notre Dame defense, all while trying to adjust to life with Clemson transfer Chase Brice at quarterback. This feels like one of those games where Notre Dame jumps out to an early lead and leaves no doubt in the result.

Notre Dame 41, Duke 17

Georgia Tech v. Florida State (-13) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC

I really want to find a reason to take Georgia Tech here, but I’m not finding it. The Yellow Jackets return a lot of skill position players from last year’s team which transitioned to the spread from the triple-option. Having said that, Georgia Tech didn’t exactly light things up on offense, and asking them to do that against a Florida State defense that includes the likes of Marvin Wilson and Asante Samuel Jr. is asking a lot.

James Blackman is back at quarterback for Florida State and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly he adapts to what Mike Norvell wants him to do. Norvell showed at Memphis his teams can put points on the board, and now he’ll have even better athletes to work with. Not saying Florida State is immediately going to be back to when they were one of the most feared teams in the country, but they let the rest of the country know the Seminoles shouldn’t be slept on.

Florida State 37, Georgia Tech 20

No. 1 Clemson (-34) v. Wake Forest - 7:30 PM EST - ABC

Clemson is looking like the team to beat this year. Even though the Tigers lost Tee Higgins to the NFL and Justyn Ross to injury, they still have Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. You know Dabo has a sour taste in his mouth after getting smacked around by LSU in the title game, as well as because of what has gone on during the offseason.

With Jamie Newman no longer at Wake Forest, I had to see who was going to quarterback the Demon Deacons this year. The answer is Sam Hartman, who was solid in nine games as a true freshman in 2018 before a broken leg ended his season, and Newman took over the reigns. Wake Forest will also be without wide receiver Sage Surratt, who decided to opt out of this season.

I know Ohio State fans will be rooting against Clemson all season long. Buckeye Nation will be disappointed on Saturday night though, as the Tigers will have way too much for Wake Forest, even with the game being played in Winston-Salem. Lawrence and Etienne go off early and start to state their case for the Heisman Trophy.

Clemson 48, Wake Forest 10

UTEP v. #14 Texas (-43) - 8:00 PM EST - Longhorn Network

No disrespect to Stephen F. Austin (please don’t hit me with a stunner) but UTEP was only able to beat the Lumberjacks 24-14 in the season opener. If UTEP can barely put Stephen F. Austin away, just imagine what the Longhorns are going to do to the Miners. Texas and UTEP have played three times since 2008, with the Longhorns winning those games by a combined score of 147-27.

Prior to this season, UTEP has gone 2-34 over the past three season. Tom Herman and Sam Ehlinger know how critical this season is for the program. Will Texas finally really be BACK? This game won’t decide that, but a huge performance will give them confidence ahead of their Big 12 opener in a couple weeks. Expect the Longhorns to score early and often.

Texas 58, UTEP 10