NCAAF Week 1 Betting Previews for Saturday Featuring Favorites Oklahoma and Baylor

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Jadrian Taylor #11 of the UTEP Miners tackles Jordan Mims #7 of the Fresno State Bulldogs during the first half of the PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl. Sam Wasson/Getty Images/AFP

There are some massive dogs on the Week 1 NCAAF odds board, but it might be worth eating the chalk on some of these cupcake contests.

Football? Real-life, actual football? Yes, please! We’ve got four very interesting matchups to look at for our Week 1 NCAAF picks:

  • UTEP vs. Oklahoma
  • Bethune-Cookman vs. Miami
  • Rice vs. USC
  • Albany vs. Baylor

So without further ado, let’s get these wagons in a circle.


UTEP Miners vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Memorial Stadium

Week 1 is all about the cupcakes. Our first mismatch pits the world-famous Sooners (Big 12) against the not-so-famous Miners (Conference USA), who finished 7-5 SU and ATS before gamely bowing out to Fresno State at the New Mexico Bowl.

That was UTEP’s first bowl game since 2014, and their first under head coach Dana Dimel. They’ll have a hard time getting back given this year’s schedule, but as far as Saturday is concerned, you have to like what the Miners have to offer as 31.5-point road dogs at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). That’s if you weren’t one of the early-bird shoppers who snapped them up at +39 when they first hit the NCAAF odds board in mid-May. If you did, well done.

Dimel has brought in some more talent for 2022, making good use of the transfer wire to add WR/KR Marcus Bellon, who should help their anemic return game immensely. The Miners have a really, really good offensive line as well. Sharps are always looking at those two facets of the game when they make their college football picks.

Oh yeah, and they’re playing the Sooners, where Brent Venables is taking over as head coach from Lincoln Riley. More on him later. Venables is a solid choice, but it’ll probably take a while for him to put his defensive stamp on this offense-heavy juggernaut.

NCAAF Pick: UTEP +31.5 (-110) at BetOnline

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UTEP +31.5 (-110)
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Bethune-Cookman Wildcats vs. Miami Hurricanes

Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium

We’re still waiting for the college football odds to hit the board, but you’ll probably want to put the Hurricanes in your portfolio. Here’s a quick look at the betting history for this matchup:

  • 2019: Bethune 0, Miami 63 (MIA –41.5)
  • 2017: Bethune 13, Miami 41 (BET +46)
  • 2015: Bethune 0, Miami 45 (MIA –38.5)
  • 2012: Bethune 10, Miami 38 (BET +34.5)
  • 2011: Bethune 14, Miami 45 (BET +42.5)

Yes, that’s 3-2 ATS for Bethune, who are based in Daytona Beach and now represent the SWAC – which is a decent step up from their previous home in the MEAC.

But the more recent results have favored Miami, and the ‘Canes are aiming for big things in Year One of the Mario Cristobal-Tyler Van Dyke regime.

NCAAF Pick: Miami -49.5 (-110) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Miami -49.5 (-110)
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Rice Owls vs. USC Trojans

Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 06:00 PM EDT at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Remember that Lincoln Riley guy we mentioned earlier? Here’s where he landed. The Trojans have been looking for their mojo ever since Pete Carroll went back to the NFL, and Riley is definitely the right man to bring USC back to prominence in the Pac-12 – and eventually the Big Ten.

The thing is, Riley has quite a lot of work to do. And the Owls, like UTEP, are a Conference USA team on the rise under fourth-year head coach Mike Bloomgren.

Okay, Rice only went 4-8 (3-9 ATS) last year, but that was their best win total since 2015. And the Owls are getting 34 points at Bovada Sportsbook (visit our Bovada Review). They’ve covered both their games under Bloomgren thus far as road dogs of 30 points or more. Take the points.

NCAAF Pick: Rice +34 (-105) at Bovada

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Rice +34 (-105)
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Albany Great Danes vs. Baylor Bears

Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at McLane Stadium

Here’s another FBS-FCS battle with no betting lines attached as we go to press. But this time, we don’t have any past results to work with – this will be the first time the Great Danes (representing the CAA) have ever faced Baylor.

If that weren’t daunting enough, Albany has never faced any ranked team before. And the Bears are 22-1 SU and 13-10 ATS since 2011 when laying 30 points or more.

This will be the second such game for Baylor under third-year head coach Dave Aranda. The first was a 66-7 thumping of Texas Southern (+44.5 away) in Week 2 of the 2021 season, a season that ended with a big upset win over Ole Miss at the Sugar Bowl.

It seems likely that Baylor will slip a little after enjoying the best season in the program’s history, but we’re still putting out an early recommendation for the Bears. It’s the FBS vs. the FCS. That’s like Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor in the squared circle.

NCAAF Pick: Baylor -43 (-110) at Heritage Sports

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Baylor -43 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.