Week 0 is finally here and the underdogs are already out of the cage.
Although there aren’t a ton to choose from, there are still some intriguing lines when looking through the college football betting odds this week.
My Group of Five Underdogs went 5-4 last season, ending with a win to eclipse .500.
Hopefully we can keep that winning trend going as we roll into the start of the season.
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Navy (spread: +20.5, moneyline: +800) vs. No. 13 Notre Dame
Luck of the Midshipmen?
Some may call it lucky if Navy were to upset the Fighting Irish in Dublin on Saturday morning. It’s only right that our first G5 Underdog of the Week plays in the first game of 2023.
This game means a lot to Navy and its players, and they’re not traveling over 3,000 miles just to fold over. I’m going back to the well with this game when I chose Navy to cover against Notre Dame in Week 11 last year as 16-point home dogs. The Midshipmen came through in the second half and only lost by three.
In 2022, Navy was a double-digit underdog in six games and covered the spread in all of them. They’re going to continue with that trend here. The Midshipmen are a much-improved squad and are 6-5 ATS in the last 11 meetings against Notre Dame.
Even in Brian Newberry’s debut as head coach, he has 17 returning starters that will be prepared for the Irish. Notre Dame’s defense is among the best in the country, but players are always exhausted in the first game of the season as they’re getting back into football shape. Navy’s offense should keep the Irish defense a little worn down while extending drives behind its triple-option offense, hopefully keeping the Irish offense off the field for stretches at a time.
All of this makes for Navy +20.5 to be one of our best bets of the week.
Ohio (+2.5, +115) at San Diego State
The Bobcats ended 2022 with a win over a Mountain West squad and could start 2023 with one as well.
The biggest question here is how in tune Kurtis Rourke will be in his first game back after tearing his ACL late last year. I imagine he won’t skip a beat and that’s what I’d put my money on. SDSU was 0-4 ATS last year as home favorites and seem to be a similar — yet a little more improved — squad.
Ohio is more experienced, has reigning MAC Coach of the Year in Tim Albin, and is just the better team here. The Aztecs do get this game at home, however.
Jacksonville State (+1, -105) vs. UTEP
The new guy always has to prove himself early. That’s what Jax State is trying to do.
One of the new members of CUSA, the Gamecocks open the season with a conference outing and are a big question mark entering the year. They have won their last 11 home openers, and Rich Rodriguez should have them prepared to win their 12th.
A win here would be huge for the program, and they might be hungrier than UTEP as they search for their first win as an FBS squad. The Miners won’t go down easy, however. Jax State has been a home underdog just twice in the last 10 seasons and has won both.