NCAA Football Predictions: Week 0 Opening Line Report and Picks
After months of hype and hoopla, spring games and transfer portals, college football is back. In a creation that only the NCAA could come up with, Week 0 features a handful of games to get you primed for the upcoming season. Since they usually play in the final regular season game against Army, it's only fitting that Navy kicks off the season taking on No. 13 Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland. Elsewhere in Top 25 action, No. 6 USC begins their final season in the Pac-12 when they host in-state rival San Jose State. One of the big questions of the preseason is if Trojan QB Caleb Williams can win a second Heisman and join Buckeye great Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner.
This is set to be a historic season for college football in many respects. As previously mentioned, the Pac-12 has split apart, with USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington headed for the bright lights (and big money) of the Big Ten, while the "Four Corners" schools of Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah join Colorado in moving into the Big 12, which is hoping the addition of these schools will offset the loss of Texas and Oklahoma's move to the SEC.
Not only will the conferences go through a radical shift next season, but the College Football Playoff will triple in size. Starting in the 2024-25 campaign, the playoff field will expand from its current format of four teams to an exciting 12-team tournament.
I have often been accused of using hyperbole in my descriptions, but I feel safe when I say that college football will never be the same after the final whistle blows on January 8, 2024, in Houston, Texas. So, enjoy this season, folks, it will never be the same again.
However, what will always remain the same is the top-notch handicapping advice you have come to count on from Doc's Sports. Regardless of which teams transfer to whatever conference, Doc's has got your back with all of the inside information and analysis you need to prosper in any sports landscape.
Here, each week of the college football season, on Mondays, we will go over the college football opening lines and give out a couple free predictions based on early line value.
Doc’s Sports offers college football expert picks for every game on our college football predictions page.
Navy vs. (13) Notre Dame (-20.5/50.5) in Dublin, Ireland 2:30 P.M. EST
In a makeup game from the messed-up Covid season, Navy and Notre Dame travel to Ireland for a third time to do battle. This will technically be a home game for the Irish, so they'll be in their dark Navy blue uniforms. The Irish finally realized the best way to prepare for Navy's vaunted triple-option is to play the game at the very beginning of the season. This line opened up at 21.5 points and was bet all the down to 19.5, before slowly rising again. These perennial rivals played a helluva game last year, with Notre Dame holding on for a 35-32 victory. The Irish return six starters on offense, and Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman is a significant upgrade from last year's QB rotation. Navy returns eight offensive starters, although there is some question as to whether their projected starting QB, Tedros Gleaton, will play due to an academic issue. However, Navy's backfield is deeper than it has been in quite some time, and their offensive line is twice as experienced as they were at the beginning of last season. The projections call for Navy to cover the 20.5-point spread as the main wager and for the total to go over as a lesser investment.
San Jose State at (6) USC (-30/64.5) 8:00 PM EST
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams, launches his bid to make history against in-state rival San Jose State Spartans. This line opened at 29.5 before money started pouring in on the Trojans, inflating it to 30.5 and back down to the current 30. USC, which is always a popular team, becomes even more so with the personnel they have. But while all of the attention is focused on USC, a deeper look reveals that San Jose State is the play here. They return nine offensive starters themselves, along with their starting QB, from an offense that averaged 27.4 PPG and 273 yards passing a game. The Trojans' weak spot last season was a secondary that gave up 264 yards passing every game. In their last six home openers, USC is 6-0 SU but only 2-4 ATS. It takes nerves of steel, but sharp bettors know the money is made on the underdog.
Ohio University at San Diego State (-2.5/49.5) 7:00 PM EST
In an interesting nonconference matchup, the Bobcats of Ohio University take a working vacation to sunny San Diego, home of Ron Burgundy and also the San Diego State Aztecs. Brady Hoke, the head coach of SDSU, sees six starters return on each side of the ball and hopes that this experience can improve on an average 7-6 campaign from a year ago. The Bobcats, return nine starters on offense, including both QBs, from a unit that averaged 31.8 PPG and 421 yards of total offense. This line opened at San Diego State favored by 4 and has steadily gone down to 2.5. Part of the reason is that Ohio was a money-making machine last season, going 10-4 ATS, to go along with their 10-4 SU record. I like the short dog here as Ohio returns the majority of the runners-up in the MAC last season. I would also take a small play on the under.
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