College football is finally here, and we have two nice games in “week zero” to start off the season. I expect a lot of attention being paid to both of these games, and I think this will provide a lot of value in the betting markets. Early in the season, Vegas often struggles to identify lines and inefficiencies like they do beyond the midway point of the season, and I really like to attack the edges early in the season.
Florida (-7) vs. Miami
This game is a neutral-site game being playing in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Obviously, both teams will have large followings travel to the stadium this year, and I expect the stadium to really lean towards whichever team can gain an early advantage.
Florida and Miami are both looking like they will enter this season as better teams than they were a year ago. This is due to a lot of changes that have gone down at both programs.
For Florida, they have added offensive linemen via transfer that should be able to step in and solidify the line in front of Feleipe Franks. They also return a decent amount of talent on the defensive end with talented players filling the gap. They likely will see a lesser pass rush than a year ago, but this team is definitely improved from a season ago.
The same can be said about the Hurricanes. They switch out their head coach and their starting QB for some young and talented fresh faces. This should give them a spark to start the year on the right foot.
The question for me with Miami is just how ready is Jarren Williams. Coming out of high school, Williams was a high-end recruit that was expected to compete at a high level. Now he has earned an opportunity to live up to the hype, but is the talent the reason he is on the field right now? I think it’s very possible that we still see mistakes made by the redshirt freshman quarterback.
Dan Mullen has not been an elite recruiter in his time at Florida, but he has been an elite head coach when you look at his game planning and execution on a week-to-week basis. In a huge game like this, I expect Franks and Mullen to be very prepared heading into this game, and I think that is the difference in the game.
Florida is the more talented team, but it is not by a seven-point margin. However, I think that the preparation and experience on the Florida side will eventually win them this game by double digits.
Arizona at Hawaii (+10)
This matchup features two explosive offenses facing off against two subpar defenses in a game with a 74 total as of right now. This total has been climbing all week, and I would not be surprised if it didn’t stop at 74.
Arizona loses a lot of offensive production but returns its key player in QB Khalil Tate. Tate is a very explosive player who was very limited last season, and we expect him to get back to his running ways this season. There is no better team to attack with an elite QB than Hawaii, and I expect Tate and the Wildcats to put up a lot of points in this matchup, even though Hawaii returns eight starters.
Hawaii has really productive skill players returning, but they do have concerns on the offensive line based on their performance last season. The good news for that unit is that they return all five starters, and they will have a chance to show improvement in this matchup.
Overall, I just think that the skill that the Rainbow Warriors bring to the table with JoJo Ward and Cedric Byrd at Cole McDonald’s dispense is too good to give 10 points in this matchup. I believe that this game likely comes down to the turnover battle because these offenses should be able to score at will against this level of defense. Tate is the most impressive player on the field, but I think that the Rainbow Warriors are clearly the play in this matchup at +10.