Way Too Early Bets for Must-Watch Games: Will Michigan-Washington Rematch Live Up to Hype?

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Colston Loveland #18 of the Michigan Wolverines runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Some teams are licking their wounds while others are licking their chops after the latest round of transfer portal movement, yet another chapter in the adage, “To the victor go the spoils.”

Yet another adage reminds us that, “The early birdy gets the worm. And in that vein, some bettors are already placing their bets for games in the upcoming college football season, while others are sitting idly by just marking off days on their calendars waiting for Week 1.

Top sportsbooks have already for Week 1 and beyond for some games that are must-see for fans, and must-wager for bettors. Here are three that provide some value several months ahead of kickoff.

Week 1 (Aug. 31) – Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M

One of the marquee matchups in Week 1, and a contest that very well could see the line move from Texas A&M being favored by 1½ currently at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) to Notre Dame being favored by as many as 3 points by the time the Fighting Irish and Aggies kick things off at Kyle Field.

The contest certainly presents a tough debut for Texas A&M’s new head coach Mike Elko. At least Elko has some experience with the culture in College Station where he served as defensive coordinator under Jimbo Fisher from 2018-21.

There’s always pressure on the Notre Dame sidelines, but for Marcus Freeman, who is entering his fourth season running the Fighting Irish show, things should be a little calmer and it should feel more like just another season opener instead of a debut for a new employer.

Adding more pressure for Elko and the Aggies is the fact this will be an elimination game of sorts for them. Given the tough SEC schedule Texas A&M has to negotiate, a loss to Notre Dame could all but kiss the Aggies’ chances of a CFP invite.

Both sides will be led by outstanding quarterbacks, Riley Leonard in the Gold helmet and Conner Weigman decked out in Maroon, so the game should be entertaining. But the value is with Notre Dame at this time.

Week 6 (Oct. 5) – Michigan vs. Washington

It has been a rare occurrence in the past to get a National Championship rematch during the following regular season. Then again, it also used to be rare for schools to switch conferences as frequently as Taylor Swift used to change boyfriends.

It is also rare for any such rematch to live up to the hype that surrounded the previous meeting, and we had plenty of hype going into the CFP Championship this past January between Michigan and Washington.

The Wolverines and Huskies are Big Ten rivals now, and Michigan is currently going off as 10½-point chalk on the early NCAAF odds. That is about double the spread when the Wolverines popped the Huskies 34-13 in Houston a few months back.

To be honest, except for being reminded this is a rematch of last year’s CFP Championship game by the broadcasters for whichever network ends up televising the game, very little will resemble the collision in January. Sherrone Moore takes over for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan while Jedd Fisch is Kalen DeBoer’s replacement at Washington.

One thing that will be the same is the final score staying ‘under’ the total like the CFP title tilt, the scoreboard target presently sitting at 51½ at Bovada.

Week 11 (Nov. 9) – Alabama vs. LSU

Speaking of coaching changes, there were none bigger this offseason than Alabama where Nick Saban decided to call it quits due to the headaches caused by the dizzying transfer portal and accounting woes from NIL money.

Making a huge step up into the blinding national spotlight that goes with being the Crimson Tide coach is Kalen DeBoer. There’s no question that DeBoer worked wonders the past few years at Fresno State and Washington, but the job in Tuscaloosa is a whole ‘nother beast.

Much like the coaching story in the Notre Dame-Texas A&M matchup, Brian Kelly has had a couple of seasons to settle in with LSU, plus he will have the fans behind him with the Crimson Tide having to travel to Baton Rouge for this year’s scrap between the old rivals.

One might think that a big reason behind LSU being favored by 2½ at sportsbooks is because the game is being played in Tiger Stadium. Home teams have won the last three meetings, but visitors won 13 of the 21 contests prior to that.

Both teams sit close on current college football futures markets, with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) listing Alabama at +1600 to win the CFP Championship and LSU at +1800. DeBoer faces his first real SEC test in Week 5 when the Crimson Tide hosts preseason favorite Georgia, and Kelly’s biggest tests before this game will be interconference matchups with USC and UCLA. DeBoer will have some consistency under center with Jalen Milroe returning to Tuscaloosa, and that should be the difference in this one with the smart pick being Alabama plus the points.

*The line and/or odds in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.