College Football
Bettors all in on Deion Sanders, Buffaloes vs. TCU; Week 1 betting nuggets
College Football

Bettors all in on Deion Sanders, Buffaloes vs. TCU; Week 1 betting nuggets

Updated Aug. 31, 2023 2:28 p.m. ET

Sure, the Sunday night showdown between LSU and Florida State jumps off the college football Week 1 oddsboard. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 and harbor College Football Playoff hopes.

But perhaps just as intriguing is coach Deion Sanders’ debut with the Colorado Buffaloes against a formidable TCU outfit that reached the CFP Championship Game last season. Saturday’s Colorado-TCU tilt is the first Big Noon on FOX game of the season.

Let’s dive into both those matchups, along with several more college football Week 1 betting nuggets.

Buffalo Stance


Ever since Sanders was named Colorado coach in December, there’s been a huge buzz around the program. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of public/casual bettors are buying into the Buffaloes.

Sharp college football bettor Paul Stone has no interest in betting on the Colorado-TCU game. But he’s got opinions, the first of which came in February when he pegged the Horned Frogs as 20.5-point favorites.

Fast-forward to Week 1, and the consensus number is … TCU -20.5. So Stone knows of what he speaks.

RELATED: Week 1 predictions, best bets by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica

"We haven't seen a roster makeover of this magnitude in the history of modern-day college football," Stone said of all the Buffs’ newcomers.

Indeed, Colorado has a whopping 86 new players, and only 10 scholarship players from last year are on the 2023 squad. As such, Stone put in a bet months ago on Colorado Under 3.5 wins this season.

"Colorado’s top six players could play for anybody in the nation, but Coach Prime is not going to totally rebuild the roster overnight," Stone said. "People are understandably over-the-top excited about the Colorado program, but Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will be Boulder."

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Crazy for Colorado

Perhaps Stone is correct on the rebuilding timeline. But BetMGM and other major sportsbooks report taking lopsided action on Colorado Over 3.5 wins this season. Further, the big-road-underdog Buffs are getting their share of attention for Saturday’s noon ET kickoff vs. TCU.

"The spread has held pretty strong, as the public and sharps are battling on opposite sides," BetMGM senior trader Cameron Drucker said. "We’ve received a ton of wagers on the Buffs, on both the spread and the moneyline. The public sure seems to believe in Deion quite a bit."

Along with being a 20.5-point ‘dog on the spread, Colorado is +650 on the moneyline — meaning a $10 bet would profit $65, for a $75 total payout, if the Buffaloes pull a massive road upset of the Horned Frogs.

"We will certainly be TCU fans opening week, a stark contrast to last season when we rooted against TCU almost every week of the year," Drucker said.

TCU is coming off its run to the CFP final, where it got waxed by Georgia 65-7. Still, the Horned Frogs are ranked 17th in the nation, so Drucker and the BetMGM risk room are likely quite happy to need the favorite here.

The Colorado-TCU total is also getting a lot of attention this week. Of course, fans and recreational bettors always want scoring — and in this matchup, the sharps seem to lean that way, too.

"The total has shot up 6 points from the opener of 58," Drucker said. "It would appear the sharps and the public agree on the Over being the play here."

But keep in mind the sharp bettors likely made their Over wagers at the lower end of that spectrum — 58, 59, 60. Jumping on Over 64 might not be the smartest move; the value was early this week at a better number.

LSU's Jayden Daniels vs. Florida State's Jordan Travis

Joel Klatt talks about the Week 1 showdown between No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Florida State, featuring star quarterbacks Jayden Daniels and Jordan Travis.

Neutral-Site Showdown

OK, let’s get to the matchup many have their eyes on this week: LSU vs. Florida State at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. These two teams met in the season-opener last year, also at a neutral site, contested at the Superdome.

In that contest, Florida State eked out a 24-23 victory when LSU — a 4-point favorite — scored a touchdown on the last play of regulation, but missed the extra point, which would’ve forced overtime.

Late Wednesday night, BetMGM has LSU as a 2.5-point favorite.

"Not a ton of line movement. We’ve seen pretty balanced action on this one for both sides," Drucker said. "It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, with two of the best QBs in the nation in Jayden Daniels and Jordan Travis battling it out."

LSU’s Daniels is the +1000 second choice in BetMGM’s Heisman Trophy odds, trailing only defending Heisman winner Caleb Williams of USC (+475). Florida State’s Travis is right behind Daniels as the +1200 co-third choice with Texas QB Quinn Ewers.

Stone has an opinion on Sunday’s 8 p.m. ET kickoff, laying the 2.5 points with LSU.

"LSU has that SEC pedigree, a slightly better roster and is out to atone for last year's loss in New Orleans," Stone said. "Jayden Daniels will be much improved at quarterback for the Tigers, and [linebacker] Harold Perkins Jr. is simply the best defensive player in college football."

Rising Sitting?

Another notable matchup in the college football Week 1 odds market: Florida vs. No. 14 Utah. Like LSU-Florida State, this is a rematch of a 2022 Week 1 clash. In that matchup, the Gators squeezed out a 29-26 victory as 2.5-point home underdogs.

There was a jolt of news Wednesday for this 8 p.m. ET Thursday kickoff, with Utah QB Cameron Rising — coming off a torn ACL suffered in a Rose Bowl loss to Penn State — listed as doubtful. Even before that, speculation this week was that Rising wouldn’t play.

Late Tuesday night, BetMGM dropped the line from Utah -6.5 to -4.5, with stops at -6 and -5.5 along the way. Back in June, some oddsmakers had this matchup at Utah -8.5. Drucker expects the book to need the home favorite.

"We will be rooting for the Utes on Thursday night. Surely the Rising news will bring in even more wagers on the Gators," he said.

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

OK, let’s get into some of the bigger bets out there, along with some bets that aren’t necessarily large, but could pay out well, be it this weekend or at the end of the season. Caesars Sports is holding the following college football Week 1 tickets:

— $12,000 on Colorado moneyline +600 vs. TCU. To profit $72,000, for an $84,000 total payout.

— $5,000 on Duke moneyline +400 vs. Clemson. To profit $20,000, for a $25,000 total payout.

— $11,000 on South Carolina +1.5 vs. North Carolina. To profit $10,000, for a $21,000 total payout.

And how about this gem at Caesars: Back in mid-June, a customer put $75,000 on Alabama moneyline -25000 vs. Middle Tennessee State. Provided the Crimson Tide just win the game — and they are 39-point home favorites — the bettor will cash his ticket for a whopping profit of … $300! So, a total payout of $75,300.

BetMGM noted the following wagers on aforementioned Colorado:

— $1,000 on Buffaloes 250/1 (+25000) to win the College Football Playoff. To profit $250,000.

— $4,500 on Buffaloes 100/1 (+10000) to win the Pac-12. To profit $450,000

— $1,000 on Buffaloes QB Shedeur Sanders — Deion Sanders’ son — to win the Heisman Trophy, at 125/1 (+12500). To profit $125,000.

BetMGM also took a major wager of $205,500 on Alabama +600 to win the College Football Playoff. That seems far more probable to cash than any of those Colorado bets. And if the Crimson Tide win it all, that bettor will profit $1.233 million.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, a reminder to never bet more than you can afford to lose. Have fun with this. If Colorado gets to +21 by the weekend, I’ll probably sprinkle some #ChilisMoney on my alma mater. But I won’t expect to win.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas


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