There are four games on the college football betting board for what a lot of us refer to as “Week 0”. The season officially kicks off with two FBS vs. FBS matchups and a couple of FCS vs. FBS battles. Hawaii vs. Colorado State and Wyoming vs. New Mexico State are the FBS games, with Duquesne vs. UMass and Prairie View A&M vs. Rice as the FCS vs. FBS contests.
With only four games, this is a good time to talk about what the Opening Line Report actually is. Every week at BangTheBook.com, we’ll bring you some thoughts on the opening lines that are out there in both the college football market and the NFL market.
The Week 0 and Week 1 lines have been up for forever, but as we get into Week 2 and beyond, we’ll be able to talk about line moves that happened on Sunday and also break down some injury situations that are keeping games off of the board or are holding bettors back. We’ll look at those lines that have pushed through key numbers and those that could continue to be on the move. Just think of it as an analysis of the opening market.
While the numbers for Week 0 and Week 1 have been up forever, and bettors have taken their initial positions, betting limits increase as the games get closer, so we’re still going to see some moves from those that haven’t spoken yet or those that want to dig in a little bit deeper with their positions.
With that, let’s take a look at the Opening Line Report for Week 0:
Wyoming (-4, 46) at New Mexico State – While this is the late game on Saturday, we’re always going to sort by rotation number here with FBS games, so keep that in mind as you look at the screen. Wyoming popped to as high as a -6 favorite at Pinnacle and a 6.5-point favorite at Bookmaker over the summer. BetOnline hit the offshore market first with a line of pick ‘em on May 19, which was definitely off, but it was based on the overreaction of the loss of Josh Allen. The Independent Aggies also lost their second-leading passer in Tyler Rogers, so they have some questions, too. As Saturday’s late game, we’ll see a lot of public interest from people dying to bet “games that matter”, even if those bettors know very little about the two teams.
Hawaii at Colorado State (-14, 58) – We won’t see Colorado State in a favorite role all that often this season as they replace Nick Stevens, Dalyn Dawkins, and Michael Gallup. Head coach Mike Bobo has also been undergoing treatment for a medical issue. Normally, a trip to the mainland, especially to altitude, is a tough one for Hawaii, but they’ll have plenty of time to get situated in Fort Collins. And, yet, with the losses for the Rams, the Bobo situation, and the lessened travel concerns for the Rainbow Warriors, they’re still a two-touchdown underdog here. That tells you all you need to know about Hawaii for this season. Bookmaker opened 13.5 back in May. Most of the market opened 14 and has sat there. We’ll see money move this line later in the week with only two games on the FBS vs. FBS board, but there won’t be a lot of pros looking to lay 14 with Colorado State given what they lost.
Duquesne at UMass (-23.5, 67.5) – We don’t have a market-wide number for this game, but 5Dimes has had a number posted for a little while and UMass is more than a three-score favorite against Duquesne. The Dukes aren’t a pushover by any means, as they’ve won four Northeast Conference titles in the last seven years under Jerry Schmitt. We’ll have to see where the rest of the market comes in. Duquesne last played an FBS team in 2014 and lost to Buffalo by 10. UMass beat Maine 45-31 last season and Wagner 34-10 in 2016. They failed to cover against Maine, but covered -21 against Wagner.
Prairie View A&M at Rice (-18.5, 58) – The Mike Bloomgren era begins in Houston as the Rice Owls get set for the only game in which they’ll be favored this season. The Owls are laying a healthy number here at 5Dimes for the rematch of the 2016 game that Rice won 65-44. No, that isn’t a basketball score. PVAMU was 6-5 last season, but they also have a new head coach in Eric Dooley. Once again, we’ll see where the market ends up going. These FCS vs. FBS lines can be extremely inefficient and will often move several points as they get added to the board, so keep an eye out for that over the first few weeks of the season.