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Betting Week 1 of the New College Football Season

Heading into the Labor Day Holiday weekend is one of the best times of the year for anyone who loves to bet on college football. The NFL is still mopping up the exhibition portion of its season with Week 4 of the preseason. This gives college football center stage with just about every program in Division IA (FBS) ball in action to start the new season of games.

All the best online bookmakers are back in the game with a complete set of betting lines for all the Week 1 matchups. College football offers multiple touchdown spreads and total lines nearing 80 points to add some serious spice to the betting action.

A quick glance at the Week 1 board at one of the top online sportsbooks for college football reveals No. 4 Wisconsin as a 35.5-point home favorite against Western Kentucky for Friday night's opener in Madison following a 73-point total in Thursday's AAC matchup between No. 21 Central Florida and the Connecticut Huskies.

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The books pride themselves on sharp lines, but there are any number of variables that come into play in the first week of a new season. Mass changeover in the college ranks is a big part of the game and a big part of the handicapping process. You may want to focus your attention on a few teams that do have most of their starters back from the 2017 campaign. In sports betting, familiarity leads to better predictability.

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The quarterback position in the college ranks does not carry the same weight as the NFL, but anytime a college team has a new face under center it changes the dynamics of the offense. Many bettors will focus their attention on the change over from one season to the next for a team's skill positions on offense. More attention needs to be put on any team's situation with its front five on offense and its front seven on defense. A young line on either side of the ball can cause some major issues right out of the gate.

Week 1 of the college football season also offers some big showdowns such as this Saturday afternoon's No. 6 Washington Huskies at No. 9 Auburn Tigers game. The SEC's Tigers are set as slight 2.5-point home favorites against the Huskies, who come in with the best betting odds to win the Pac-12 this season. Getting a top-tier SEC team at home, while only giving less than a field goal appears to be a valuable play on paper. The question in this matchup is how good is Washington this season?

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Another intriguing Week 1 matchup on Saturday night is the Big Ten's No. 14 Michigan Wolverines on the road against the No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish as slight one-point underdogs. A loss to the Irish would raise some immediate concerns for high-profile head coach Jim Harbaugh as far as his future with the program. This long-running rivalry favors Notre Dame at home with a 6-2 mark both straight-up and against the spread in its last eight home games against the Wolverines.

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No matter where you find value on the board for Week 1's slate, you also have to keep in mind that it is a long season. There are far more unknowns for quite a few teams heading into the season opener that will take some time to work things out. The picture becomes much clearer by the time October rolls around. It is fun to create some betting action this time of the year, but taking a wait-and-see approach for the first few weeks of games is still the best way to improve your overall college football winning percentage for the whole season.