Our 7 best bets for Week 1 of the college football season

Tua Tagovailoa

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Tua Tagovailoa.

  • College football is back!
  • After a great start to the year, the first full slate of games will begin this weekend, with action both Friday and Saturday.
  • Below we put together our best bets to make some money this weekend, including a few big favorites to cover against inferior opponents.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

College football is back!

After a thrilling "Week 0" matchup between Florida and Miami started the season last week, the college football calendar kicked off in full on Thursday night with games across the country.Advertisement

This Friday and Saturday, football fans will be served their first full slate of games of the year, with all of the top teams in the country back in action.

To celebrate the start of the season, we're back once again with our best bets of the college football weekend.

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Alabama (-33) over Duke

Alabama (-33) over Duke

Under Nick Saban, Alabama has been relatively unstoppable in the first week of college football season.

He's 12-0 in his opening games as Alabama's head coach, including six wins over other ranked teams, all of which came by double-digits. Last year, the Crimson Tide through Louisville 51-14.

With quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hoping to bounce back after a disappointing performance in last year's title game, expect Alabama to come out and make a statement.

Illinois (-18) over Akron

Illinois (-18) over Akron

This week there have been reports out of Las Vegas about a mystery bettor that has now placed at least $80,000 on Illinois at sportsbooks across the city. From a gambling perspective, this is objectively hilarious.

Illinois has an over/under win total of 4.5 games this year. Simply put, they are not expected to be a force of nature, and one should be wary of betting them to cover any number. While Akron went an unimpressive 4-8 last season, that campaign did include one upset victory over Northwestern early in the season.

But we're backing the Illini here. I'm not one to bet the don't pass line, and if this mystery bettor has enough faith in Illinois to put down a mortgage on them covering 18 points, I'll ride with them.

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Penn State (-44) over Idaho

Penn State (-44) over Idaho

Last year, the Nittany Lions barely survived a scare at the hands of Appalachain State to start off the season in Happy Valley, winning their first game of the season 45-38 in overtime.

Because of last year's debacle, look for Penn State to come out firing this weekend against Idaho. 40 points is a lot to cover, but with Sean Clifford making his first start for the school, it feels like a good spot for the home team to run their opponents out of the building and let their new quarterback settle in with a comfortable win.

Northwestern (+6.5) over Stanford

Northwestern (+6.5) over Stanford

Northwestern has proven time and time again over the past two seasons that they are not to be underestimated.

While head coach Pat Fitzgerald lost more than a few key starters from last year's 9-3 team, he knows how to motivate his players to step up for a big game. An early trip across the country is no easy task, but even if the Wildcats can't win the game outright, I think Fitzgerald and his players find a way to keep it close enough to cover.

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Georgia (-22.5) over Vanderbilt

Georgia (-22.5) over Vanderbilt

Georgia is back with quarterback Jake Fromm at the helm and once again should be considered a title contender.

While Clemson and Alabama have dominated the College Football Playoff over the past four years, the Georgia Bulldogs have been right there, and this year could finally be the year they break through.

Georgia won this game by 28 points last year, and have given no reason to think they won't be as dominant again against the Commodores in 2019.

Oregon (+3.5) over Auburn

Oregon (+3.5) over Auburn

Quarterback Justin Herbert spurned a potential job in the NFL and decided to return to Oregon for another season.

The Pac 12 is in desperate need of a statement win against an out of conference opponent, and a win over Auburn would vault Oregon into the rightful flag-bearers of the conference.

Last year, Auburn was able to scrap out a win against No. 6 Washington in the opening game of the season, but this year it feels like the Ducks can get the better of them.

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Louisville (+18) over Notre Dame

Louisville (+18) over Notre Dame

Notre Dame got off to a 12-0 start last season and for much of the year was ranked the No. 3 team in the nation, but despite their dominance in terms of wins and losses, just six of those 12 wins came by more than 10 points.

Meanwhile, Louisville had about as bad a season as a team can imagine, losing their opening game 51-14 to Alabama to begin a campaign that would end with a 2-10 record including going 0-8 against ACC opponents.

New head coach Scott Satterfield will have his work cut out for him with the Cardinals this year, but they should do enough stay within three scores of the Irish.

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