20 Underdogs to Bet on in Week 1

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20 Underdogs to Bet on in Week 1
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The beauty of college football is that on any given week any team can win. Truly.

It’s what drives us all to tune in even when our team is favored by 21 points; you just never know for sure until that final second has ticked off the clock.

I’ve always been intrigued by the oddsmakers who set the point spreads months before fall camps even start. What criteria do they use to decide how much one team should be favored over another? How do they figure that Oregon, for example, is a 37-point favorite over Arkansas State in Week 1 when no one even knows yet who the Ducks’ starting quarterback will be?

How many points is home-field advantage worth? Does it vary from stadium to stadium and from tradition to tradition?

Do the oddsmakers take into consideration how many returning starters a team has? Do returning skill positions like running back and QB weigh more than an experienced safety or cornerback?

I have absolutely no idea how their formulas work. But I do know ridiculous point spreads when I see them, and I’m telling you here and now that there are some doozies in Week 1.

I’m not much of a betting woman—unless you happen to count the occasional hand of blackjack in Las Vegas—but even I am tempted to put down a buck or two on some of the Week 1 underdogs that follow.

I'm not your mother, but my caution is that betting real money on teenage boys playing games is likely a fool’s errand. And you’re not a fool, are you?

Still, it is tempting to give some love to these Las Vegas-decided underdogs.

Odds via beyondthebets.com.

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