Week 1 of the 2021 college football season is finally upon us. With Labor Day Weekend providing a Week 1 college football buffet after eight months of anticipation, it’s time for fans to get their Week 1 college football picks in. While No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson and No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami are the headliners for Week 1 college football picks, the schedule is jam-packed. Caesar’s Sportsbook lists Clemson as a three-point favorite and Alabama as an 18.5-point favorite in the latest Week 1 college football odds.
Elsewhere in Week 1 college football spreads, LSU is a three-point favorite at UCLA, and Wisconsin is a 5.5-point favorite over Penn State. But getting the most out of your Week 1 college football bets means diving deep to track Week 1 college football lines for games like Marshall (-2.5) at Navy, Army (+2) at Georgia State and everything in between. Before making any Week 1 college football picks or bets, be sure to see the latest college football predictions from SportsLine’s proven model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Week 1 of the 2021 season on a 57-37 run on all top-rated college football picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Top Week 1 college football predictions
One of the top college football picks the model is recommending for Week 1: No. 16 LSU (-3.5) covers on the road against UCLA in an 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. After one of the worst title defenses in recent college football history, the LSU Tigers enter 2021 with a bit more pressure — and a bit more talent. While Max Johnson is stepping in at quarterback for the injured Myles Brennan, new offensive coordinator Jake Peetz has weapons to work with in receiver Kayshon Boutte and a stable of running backs led by Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery Jr.
UCLA is one of the teams that enters 2021 with the same kind of range of possibilities LSU does. In Chip Kelly’s fourth season with the program, it’s becoming put-up-or-shut-up time. The Bruins opened their season in Week 0 with a 44-10 thrashing of Hawaii, but it’s tough to tell how much that means. While it’s tempting for college football fans to jump on the Kelly bandwagon, SportsLine’s model doesn’t like that option.
While UCLA was able to run all over Hawaii, that won’t be the case against an LSU defense with significantly more heft and experience up front. The model likes LSU to cover, with the Tigers winning by more than three points in 60 percent of simulations.
Another one of the college football predictions from the model: No.18 Iowa (-3) covers the spread against Indiana in a 3:30 p.m. ET matchup in Iowa City on Saturday. The Hoosiers put up almost 30 points per game last season and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. returns to lead that side of the ball. But Iowa returns eight starters from a stout defense in 2020, and the Hawkeyes will look to limit Indiana’s big-play capabilities.
The model sees Iowa controlling the tempo and keeping this game in the low 40s, helping the under (46) clear in well over 60 percent of simulations. Iowa leans on star running back Tyler Goodson, who picks up almost 100 yards in the simulations, offensively. The Hawkeyes win by five points, helping them cover in more than 50 percent of simulations.
How to make Week 1 college football picks
The model has also made the call on who wins and covers in every other game on the Week 1 college football schedule, and it’s calling for a national title contender to go down hard. You can only get every pick for every game at SportsLine.
So what college football picks can you make with confidence? And which national title contender goes down hard? Check out the latest college football odds below, then visit SportsLine to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned $3,600 in profit over the past five-plus seasons, and find out.
Week 1 College football odds (via Caesars)
Here are the college football lines for some of Week 1’s most notable matchups
Thursday, Sept. 2
Boise State at UCF (-5.5, 68.5)
Featured Game | UCF Knights vs. Boise State Broncos
Ohio State at Minnesota (+14, 65)
Featured Game | Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Friday, Sept. 3
North Carolina at Virginia Tech (+5.5, 64)
Featured Game | Virginia Tech Hokies vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
Michigan State at Northwestern (-3, 45)
Featured Game | Northwestern Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans
Saturday, Sept. 4
Tulane at Oklahoma (-26.5, 69)
Penn State at Wisconsin (-4.5, 50)
Featured Game | Wisconsin Badgers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Alabama vs. Miami (+18.5, 62)
Featured Game | Miami (FL) Hurricanes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Indiana at Iowa (-3, 46)
Featured Game | Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Louisiana at Texas (-8, 58)
Featured Game | Texas Longhorns vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Georgia vs. Clemson (-3, 51.5)
Featured Game | Clemson Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs
LSU at UCLA (+3.5, 66)
Featured Game | UCLA Bruins vs. LSU Tigers
Sunday, Sept. 5
Notre Dame at Florida State (+7.5, 56)
Featured Game | Florida State Seminoles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Monday, Sept. 6
Louisville vs. Ole Miss (-9.5, 75.5)
Featured Game | Ole Miss Rebels vs. Louisville Cardinals