College football expert picks, Week 0: Best college football bets this weekend

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 2: Defensive lineman Ty Robinson #99 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers signals to the bench against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half at Memorial Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 2: Defensive lineman Ty Robinson #99 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers signals to the bench against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half at Memorial Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Breaking down our college football expert picks for Week 0 as we break down the schedule and our best bets for Nebraska vs. Northwestern and more. 

Like mozzarella sticks while you’re waiting on your burger, welcome to the appetizer of the college football season, Week 0! There are only 11 games on the schedule to get things started on Saturday, Aug. 27, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t looking at the slate to figure out where we can attack, particularly with the opportunity to bet on college football back at hand once again.

Nebraska and Northwestern kicking off the Big Ten season in Dublin, Ireland is obviously the headliner of the week, but we also have the Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina Tar Heels, Illinois Fighting Illini and more in action this week. And lest we forget about Vanderbilt heading to play Hawaii to cap off the night.

Our college football expert picks are always fluid as some of the early lines have moved in an unfavorable direction. Thus, we won’t be taking Illinois as the line has moved four points. The same is true with Vandy where the line has moved 2.5 points or more.

But alas, we’ve scoured the slate and have our college football expert picks for the best bets in Week 0.

Note: All odds are courtesy of WynnBet. For more betting picks and advice, check out BetSided.

Week 0 college football schedule

Here’s a look at the college football schedule for Week 0 with kickoff times and TV channels listed.

  • Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky, Noon ET – CBSSN
  • Nebraska vs. Northwestern (in Dublin, Ireland), 12:30 p.m. ET – FOX
  • Idaho State vs. UNLV, 3:30 p.m. ET – CBSSN
  • UConn vs. Utah State, 4:00 p.m. ET – FS1
  • Wyoming vs. Illinois, 4:00 p.m. ET – BTN
  • Duquesne vs. Florida State, 5:00 p.m. ET – ACC Network
  • Charlotte vs. FAU, 7:00 p.m. ET – CBSSN
  • Florida A&M vs. North Carolina, 8:15 p.m. ET – ACC Network
  • North Texas vs. UTEP, 9:00 p.m. ET – Check Local Networks
  • Nevada vs. New Mexico State, 10:00 p.m. ET – ESPN2
  • Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii, 10:30 p.m. ET – CBSSN

College football expert picks for Week 0: Best bets in CFB this weekend

Nevada vs. New Mexico State (+9)

New Mexico State has perennially been one of the worst teams in the country while we’ve seen Nevada reach some nice heights. But these are two teams in which we have to wipe away a bit of the past when we look at them.

For the Wolf Pack, Jay Norvell is not only gone as head coach, but he took a host of talent with him in addition to the program losing Carson Strong and Romeo Doubs and while also having him be replaced with a first-time head coach in Ken Wilson. Meanwhile, longtime college head coach Jerry Kill takes over the Aggies and has brought in some transfers to at least raise the floor for NMSU.

I’m not saying New Mexico State is necessarily the better team, but Nevada feels as if it’s being graded on past performance and not the status quo. In the case of the latter, giving nine points is way too much.

UConn vs. Utah State (-27)

To be honest, this is the “don’t overthink it” game of the week. While there should be some consideration to the idea of an obviously superior Utah State team just letting off of the gas in the second half against a UConn team that would be doing well to win three games this season, the fact of the matter is that the Aggies return an experienced group that could compete for the Mountain West crown behind Logan Bonner. Then you have that team facing a Huskies group that is under a new head coach in Jim Mora Jr. and that has been a doormat.

It’s a bit of a gamble, to be sure, but I just believe the Aggies are legitimately four touchdowns or more better than UConn.

Northwestern vs. Nebraska – Under 51.5

With the spread being at 12 points, I don’t know what to do with that line for the game in Ireland. On one hand, the Cornhuskers dropped a 50-burger in a dominant win over the Wildcats last season. On the other, Nebraska under Scott Frost has given us a host of results that make absolutely no sense.

So, I’m staying away from the spread and targeting the total. Not only should the Northwestern offense be pretty bad once again this season, even with Ryan Hilinski taking over at quarterback, but Nebraska has a new quarterback, Casey Thompson, and several new skill pieces as well that could take time to coalesce.

When you then throw in the travel to Dublin and the potential negative performance that could spring, I just don’t see this being a game that gets into the 50s.

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