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Here come the Week 1 college football lines

An early preview of eight marquee matchups taking place on opening weekend. Joe Fortenbaugh

May 02, 2013
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Offshore shop 5Dimes became the first sports book in the business to post lines for 2013 college football games this past week, as 14 Week 1 games are now available for your betting pleasure.

Today we’re going to take a look an early look at eight of those matchups. As many of you could have guessed, some of these lines are already on the move.

Thursday, August 29

North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks

Open: South Carolina -14.5
Current: South Carolina -13.5

Steve SpurrierAt South Carolina, Steve Spurrier is 8-0 in season openers.

Analysis: The first meeting between these two schools since 2007 (UNC 21-15) features a Tar Heels team that went 1-4 ATS on the road last season against a Gamecocks squad that went 5-2 ATS at home. South Carolina is 8-0 in their season openers under Steve Spurrier, winning by an average of 15.8 points per game while second-year head coach Larry Fedora dropped his season opener in 2012 to Georgia Tech, 27-21. Take note that the early money backed UNC, pushing the line through the key number of 14 to -13.5.

Mississippi Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores

Open: Vanderbilt -4
Current: Vanderbilt -4

Analysis: Vandy closed out the 2012 campaign on a six-game ATS winning streak which included a straight-up and ATS win over Mississippi on November 11. In addition, after going 1-6 against the Rebels from 2000-2006, the Commodores have rebounded to emerge victorious in five of their last six outings against Ole Miss. Vanderbilt went 5-2 ATS at home in 2012 while Mississippi went 4-1 ATS on the road.

Saturday, August 31

Rice Owls at Texas A&M Aggies

Open: Texas A&M -28
Current: Texas A&M -28.5

Analysis: College football’s most electrifying quarterback takes the field as a four-touchdown favorite in Texas A&M’s home opener against the Rice Owls. With Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel under center, the Aggies went 8-5 ATS in their first year in the SEC, with a 3-3 ATS mark for home games. Rice got off to a sluggish start last season, dropping five of their first six contests. But the Owls rounded into form and bounced back later in the year, going 6-1 both straight-up and ATS down the stretch. Expect the public to be all over the Aggies come kickoff.

Oklahoma State Cowboys at Mississippi State Bulldogs (in Houston, TX)

Open: Oklahoma State -11.5
Current: Oklahoma State -11.5

Analysis: After a 9-4 campaign in 2009, it appeared as if Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen was about to turn the Bulldogs into a legitimate SEC contender. But MSU went 7-6 in 2011 and after a 7-0 start last season, the Bulldogs dropped five of their final six games. Okie State brings one of the nation’s most prolific offenses to Houston for this SEC-Big 12 showdown and looks to keep the momentum going after a strong finish last season that saw the Cowboys go 4-1 ATS over their final five games.

Penn State Nittany Lions at Syracuse Orange (in East Rutherford, NJ)

Open: Penn State -5
Current: Penn State -5

Bill ObrienUS PRESSWIREBill O'Brien looks to keep Penn State's momentum from last season rolling into 2013.

Analysis: After a shaky start to the post-Joe Paterno era in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions found an identity and ripped off eight wins over their final ten games to finish the year 8-4 with an ATS mark of 9-2-1. Both teams enter this matchup with new quarterbacks under center, but Syracuse will also have a new head coach manning the sidelines, as Scott Shafer takes over for Doug Marrone. We like what Bill O’Brien has cooking in State College and will be backing the Lions in this one.

Virginia Tech Hokies at Alabama Crimson Tide (in Atlanta, GA)

Open: Alabama -22
Current: Alabama -24

Analysis: Alabama has played in a marquee matchup in either the first or second week of the season in each of the last five years. And in those five games, the Crimson Tide are 5-0 both straight-up and against the spread. This is a big number, but do you really want to bet against a team that has won three of the last four national championships?

Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers

Open: Clemson -2
Current: Clemson -3.5

Analysis: Despite the return of quarterback Aaron Murray for the Bulldogs, the early money has made its presence felt on behalf of the Clemson Tigers, as this line has already moved through the key number of 3 to -3.5. Georgia went 6-1 ATS over their final seven games of the 2012 season, but was just 2-2 ATS on the road for the year. That might say something if not for the fact that Clemson was just 4-4 ATS at home last season.

LSU Tigers at TCU Horned Frogs (in Arlington, TX)

Open: LSU -6.5
Current: LSU -7.5

Analysis: The last time the LSU Tigers opened their season in a neutral-site, marquee matchup, Les Miles’ and company concluded their evening with a 40-27 ass-kicking win over the Oregon Ducks (2011). However, take note that LSU went just 5-8 ATS in 2012 despite a 10-3 campaign. This is a public-friendly team that should see plenty of action before kickoff. In fact, the early money has already moved the line through the key number of 7 to -7.5.

THE REST…

Thursday, August 29

USC Trojans at Hawaii Warriors

Open: USC -19
Current: USC -19

Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Bowling Green Falcons

Open: Tulsa -4
Current: Tulsa -4

Saturday, August 31

Washington State Cougars at Auburn Tigers

Open: Auburn -12
Current: Auburn -12

Temple Owls at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Open: Notre Dame -21
Current: Notre Dame -21

Colorado Buffaloes at Colorado State Rams (in Denver, CO)

Open: PICK
Current: PICK

Florida State Seminoles at Pittsburgh Panthers

Open: Florida State -8.5
Current: Florida State -8.5

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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