X
Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


LINEUP RESOURCES

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts

College Football Betting Picks for Week Zero (8/28/2021)

After a shorter-than-usual hiatus, thanks to the FCS' spring season, college football has returned. This week, and every week, we will analyze some of college football's best available money-line and over/under bets on the board.

Last season's record for our expert betting picks were 32-16, finishing with a 2-1 split on the January 1 bowl games. We'll monitor our progress this year in the hopes of reaching loftier heights in 2021.

This week brings the first games for the ACC and Big 12 conferences in this 2020 fall college football season. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite betting picks for Week Zero of the 2021 college football season.

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!

 

Nebraska at Illinois (+7)

O/U: 55

It does not get much more exciting than a Big Ten conference matchup to kick off the 2021 college football season. Nebraska enters the season in a bit of a tumultuous situation, with head coach Scott Frost under investigation for allegedly skirting NCAA practice limits by having analysts and other assistants hold off-campus informal practices. These alleged practices did not help the Cornhuskers much last year, as they struggled to a lousy 3-5 record and are just 12-20 in Frost's three seasons. To right the ship, quarterback Adrian Martinez has to play more like the promising freshman 2018 campaign which feels like distant history. Martinez's top receiver from 2020, Wan'Dale Robinson, jumped ship for Kentucky, which will leave a vacuum of targets to be scooped up by tight end Austin Allen (18 receptions), speedy sophomore receiver Zavier Betts (12 receptions) and Montana transfer receiver Samori Toure. The inconsistent offense, paired with a defense that allowed 29.4 points per game and gave up 41 points to Illinois last season, must be better if Nebraska has any hopes of reaching their lofty goals this year.

Bret Bielema, the one-time coach at both Wisconsin and Arkansas, returned to the Big Ten West division when he was hired to replace Lovie Smith this offseason. Smith had gotten Illinois to its first bowl game since 2014, but the 2019 Redbox Bowl loss to California was not enough to keep his job. Last year's Fighting Illini squad experienced a rollercoaster of outcomes, with several blowout losses sandwiching a two-game stretch with road wins over Rutgers and Nebraska. Both the offense and defense rated poorly, 112th and 97th by points for and points against, respectively, in 2020. Luckily, change is coming to Champaign, yet with consistency and experience built from the prior regime. The Illini return 88 career starts from their offensive linemen, and have 9 starters back on both offense and defense. Quarterback Brandon Peters, who transferred in from Michigan in 2019, has been a difference-maker when healthy, but missed large chunks of last season with COVID-19 and other related protocol absences. With Peters back in the fold, alongside leading tackler Jake Hansen back on the other side of the football, there should be improvement to this year's Illinois squad even if it doesn't show up in the win-loss column.

Nebraska ended last year with a 4-0 run in favor of the under. For years now, highly-rated recruiting classes and institutional hype have been pumping Nebraska as a top-25 team, but the dust is starting to settle on Scott Frost's tenure. He's a good coach, as evidenced by his undefeated "championship" season with the UCF Golden Knights in 2017, but he might be in over his head in the Big Ten. Bettors should be skeptical of both teams' middling offenses until otherwise proven. A small wager on Illinois on the money line (+200) might also be in the cards.

Pick: Under 55 / Illinois ML +200

 
Want some CFB DFS tools? If you like what you see here, don't forget to sign up for your RotoBaller CFB DFS Premium Pass. Use code BALLER and receive 10% off your purchase! You'll love the College Football DFS Lineup Optimizer, DFS Cheat Sheets and Premium Slack Chatrooms to help you out in real-time.
 

Texas-El Paso (UTEP) at New Mexico State (+10.5)

O/U: 56

Dana Dimel has undoubtedly endured severe struggles in El Paso, to the tune of a 5-27 record, with 3 of those victories coming in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Last year's wins, over Stephen F Austin, Abilene Christian and Louisiana-Monroe, are unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of many, but there are signs of life finally in the otherwise forgotten Miners' program. With seven returning offensive linemen with starting experience, and promising redshirt freshman running back Deion Hankins back this season, expectations for improvement are in place. All eleven offensive starters, including quarterback Gavin Hardison, are back for coach Dimel's squad, which should see a boost from familiarity. The defense, led by coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, allowed 31 points per game last season, but gets eight starters back including promising sophomore defensive end Praise Amaewhule, who just might have an NFL future and notched 5.5 sacks, while also knocking down eight passes at the line of scrimmage last season. The team still has a long way to go, but it does seem like Dimel's core is finally starting to turn the corner.

Amazingly, New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin enters his ninth year ahead of the program. With a record of 23-64, only one bowl appearance, and little to no progress being made, the fact that he can find Las Cruces, New Mexico, on a map might be why he still has the job. The Aggies did play two games in the spring, splitting the games against FCS opponents Dixie State and Tarleton State in dramatic fashion. Quarterback Jonah Johnson was picked off three times in an embarrassing 43-17 loss to Tarleton State, who was in their first year of FCS football stepping up from Division II. Fellow Division I FCS newcomer Dixie State, meanwhile, would have toppled the Aggies if it weren't for a drive down the field to win the game with less than a minute remaining by freshman quarterback Weston Eget. While Johnson and Eget are mired in a battle for the starting job, with the game just a few days away, neither quarterback can fix the myriad of other problems for this program. Located in a relatively remote location, with little access to recruiting tools and no conference affiliation, New Mexico State is unlikely to get out of this losing spiral anytime soon unless they face the fact that they'd be better off reclassifying down to FCS.

It was wise for UTEP to schedule such an easy opponent in week zero to boost morale and give the team some hope in what could be a trying year for the Miners. The Miners did show some promise in 2020, are recruiting better, and have a conference affiliation to lean on. In an alternate timeline, New Mexico State might be able to beat teams not named UMass or UConn, but sadly, that's not the timeline that we are in. It would be a surprise to see UTEP gain bowl eligibility this year, but expecting a couple of wins and not embarrassing themselves in conference play might be within the realm of possibilities this season.

Pick: Under 56

 

Hawaii at Univ. of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) (-18)

O/U: 68

Coach Todd Graham's Rainbow Warriors had one of the program's better defensive teams of late on the scoreboard, but not by the underlying metrics. The team was outrushed, outpassed, and outpenalized by its opponents, but still only allowed 27.6 points per game, ranking 54th in the nation. With some expected regression, and all eleven starters, the team will likely be back to allowing 30 points per game on a typical night. That's a bad recipe against an offensive juggernaut like UCLA. For the Rainbow Warriors' offense, signal caller Chevan Cordeiro is back after tossing 14 touchdowns to only six interceptions last year. Cordeiro is also a force on the ground, leading the team with 483 rushing yards and seven more scores. All-purpose athlete Calvin Turner is one of the most entertaining and difficult-to-guard players in football, with 60 rushing attempts and 33 receptions in his first year at Hawaii after his previous school (Jacksonville U.) shut down its football program entirely. Graham's high-octane offense is a good fit for Cordeiro gun-slinging style, and I expect Hawaii's offense to be much improved in year two under Graham.

Coach Chip Kelly has plenty of reason to be excited about the 2021 UCLA Bruins, and it all starts with his dynamic dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson ("DTR"). DTR has started the majority of the past three seasons, and had his best statistical season in 2020 on a per-game basis. The young signal-caller stands at a generous 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, but has a rocket arm as evidenced by his near-upset of USC last year. Running back Brittain Brown, a former Duke transfer, catapulted to the top of the depth chart instantly, churning 6.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns in the Bruins' limited seven game schedule. The Bruins' offensive output (35.4 points per game) ranked 20th in the country, but the team still only ended up with a 3-4 record due to touchdown-or-less losses to Colorado, Oregon, USC and Stanford. With ten starters back on both sides of the ball, the expectation is that UCLA can and should compete for the Pac-12 South title with a better defense and by closing out a few of their close games.

Traveling from Hawaii to the mainland didn't hurt or harm the team last year, as Hawaii went 2-2 in their four games away from home with two convincing wins and two convincing losses. The hope for more consistency from this year's team will be on a wait-and-see trial case. In these teams' only-ever matchup, UCLA dominated Hawaii in 2017 by a score of 56-23. While Hawaii should put up more of a fight this year, the talent levels are still not where they need to be on each respective defense which could lead to a lot of points being scored in this one.

Pick: Over 68



Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy football app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, rankings, starts/sits & more. All free!




Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

More College Football Analysis

More Betting Picks

LINEUP RESOURCES

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts

ROTOBALLER PLAYER NEWS

Dejounte Murray1 hour ago

Expected To Miss Two Weeks
Jake Mangum2 hours ago

Marlins Acquire Jake Mangum From The Mets
Josh Jacobs2 hours ago

Will Play Versus Rams
Mike Williams2 hours ago

Upgraded To Full Practice
Saquon Barkley3 hours ago

Limited On Thursday
Silvino Bracho3 hours ago

Reds Sign Silvino Bracho To Minor-League Deal
Austin Allen3 hours ago

Signs With Marlins
J.P. Feyereisen3 hours ago

Has Shoulder Surgery
Kris Letang3 hours ago

Skating With Regular Jersey Again
Logan Stanley3 hours ago

Back In Action Thursday
Spencer Knight3 hours ago

Out With An Illness
Aleksander Barkov4 hours ago

Ready To Return Thursday
Pavel Buchnevich4 hours ago

Remains Unavailable
Torey Krug4 hours ago

Sits Out Another Game
T.J. Brodie4 hours ago

Returns For Toronto Thursday
Josh Richardson6 hours ago

Probable For Thursday's Matchup
Keita Bates-Diop6 hours ago

Ruled Out For Thursday
Jae'Sean Tate6 hours ago

Still Out Thursday
Max Strus6 hours ago

Listed As Probable For Thursday
Pascal Siakam6 hours ago

Leads Raptors To Win On Wednesday
Brandin Cooks6 hours ago

Expected To Miss Another Game
Terance Mann6 hours ago

Out Thursday
Nikola Vucevic6 hours ago

Gathers Double-Double Against Washington
Zion Williamson6 hours ago

Scores Game-High 29 Points In Win
Kawhi Leonard6 hours ago

Won't Play Thursday
Jrue Holiday6 hours ago

Drops 31 Points Against Sacramento
Kyle Lowry6 hours ago

Rested On Thursday
Domantas Sabonis7 hours ago

Puts Up Strong Stat Line Against Bucks
Ja Morant7 hours ago

Collects Second Triple-Double This Season
Joe Mixon7 hours ago

Has Cleared Concussion Protocols
Bruno Fernando7 hours ago

Questionable On Thursday With Illness
Josh Christopher7 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable Against Spurs
Nikola Jovic7 hours ago

Available To Play Against Clippers
Duncan Robinson7 hours ago

Probable For Thursday's Game
San Francisco Giants8 hours ago

Giants Acquire Blake Sabol From The Reds
Austin Brice8 hours ago

Diamondbacks Sign Austin Brice To Minor-League Deal
Jason Heyward8 hours ago

Dodgers Sign Jason Heyward To Minor-League Deal
Trevor Williams8 hours ago

Mets Could Reunite With Trevor Williams
Baker Mayfield9 hours ago

Expected To Be Active, Could Start
Marcus Mariota9 hours ago

Benched For Desmond Ridder
Andrei Kuzmenko12 hours ago

Heating Up Again
Josh Jacobs12 hours ago

Expected To Play Thursday Night
Mika Zibanejad12 hours ago

Enjoys A Three-Point Night Versus Vegas
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins12 hours ago

Piles Up Three Points Wednesday
Connor McDavid13 hours ago

Goes Off For Another Four Points
Linus Ullmark13 hours ago

Shuts Out Colorado
Taylor Hall13 hours ago

Grabs Three Points In Wednesday's Win
Patrik Laine13 hours ago

Nets Two Goals Wednesday
Alex Tuch13 hours ago

Posts Career-High Four Points
Kirill Kaprizov20 hours ago

Extends Point Streak In Loss
Alex Ovechkin20 hours ago

Scores Twice In Victory
Joe Jiménez20 hours ago

Braves Acquire Joe Jimenez From Tigers
Xander Bogaerts20 hours ago

Padres Agree With Xander Bogaerts On 11-Year Deal
Tage Thompson20 hours ago

Scores Five Goals In Dominant Victory
Tyler Herro21 hours ago

Probable For Meeting With The Clippers
Buddy Hield22 hours ago

Scores 26 Points In Loss
Tyrese Haliburton22 hours ago

Plays Well In Return From Injury
Dansby Swanson1 day ago

Four Teams Showing Serious Interest In Dansby Swanson
Xander Bogaerts1 day ago

Six Teams Talking With Xander Bogaerts
Pittsburgh Pirates1 day ago

Pirates Take Jose Hernandez In Rule 5 Draft
Ryan Noda1 day ago

A's Pluck Ryan Noda Away From The Dodgers
Boston Red Sox1 day ago

Red Sox Reel In Masataka Yoshida On Five-Year Deal
Cole Hamels1 day ago

Wants To Pitch In 2023
Josh Jacobs1 day ago

Questionable For Thursday Night Football
New York Mets1 day ago

Mets Remain Involved With Kodai Senga
Carlos Rodón1 day ago

Yankees Remain In On Carlos Rodon
Mike Williams1 day ago

Set To Practice This Week
Carlos Correa1 day ago

Giants Have Talked With Carlos Correa
Thad Ward1 day ago

Nationals Select Thad Ward With First Rule 5 Pick
Zach Hyman1 day ago

Set To Return Wednesday
James Van Riemsdyk1 day ago

James van Riemsdyk Returns To Flyers Lineup
Craig Smith1 day ago

Back For Bruins Wednesday
Jimmy Garoppolo1 day ago

A Long Shot To Return In Playoffs
Joe Mixon1 day ago

A Full Participant In Practice
Los Angeles Rams1 day ago

Aaron Donald Ruled Out For Thursday Night
Trevor Lawrence1 day ago

Expects To Play In Week 14
Brooks Raley1 day ago

Mets Acquire Brooks Raley From Rays
Courtland Sutton1 day ago

Unlikely To Play In Week 14
David Njoku1 day ago

Ready To Play
Buffalo Bills1 day ago

Von Miller Undergoes Surgery, Out For The Year
Mark Ingram II1 day ago

Likely Done For The Season
Trevor Lawrence1 day ago

Up In The Air For Week 14
Tua Tagovailoa1 day ago

Expected To Be Limited In Practice
Davis Mills1 day ago

Texans Going Back To Davis Mills At QB
Magomed Ankalaev1 day ago

Can Realize His UFC Dream
Jan Blachowicz1 day ago

Set For Title Redemption
Jared Gordon1 day ago

Has An Opportunity For A Huge Victory
Paddy Pimblett1 day ago

Set To Showcase In UFC 282
Dricus Du Plessis2 days ago

Hoping To Continue To Rack Up Wins
Darren Till2 days ago

Looking For A Key Victory At UFC 282
Ilia Topuria2 days ago

Meets Fellow Top-15 Undefeated Featherweight
Bryce Mitchell2 days ago

Set To Open UFC 282 Main Card
Kevin Holland3 days ago

Takes The Loss In Saturday's Main Event
Stephen Thompson3 days ago

Earns Victory In Main Event
Bryan Barberena3 days ago

Unable To Secure A Win Saturday
Rafael Dos Anjos3 days ago

Rafael dos Anjos Takes Co-Main Event By Submission
Matt Schnell3 days ago

Matthew Christopher Schnell Takes The Loss Saturday
Matheus Nicolau3 days ago

Continues Run With TKO Victory
Tai Tuivasa3 days ago

Suffers Second Straight Loss
Sergei Pavlovich3 days ago

Earns Fifth Straight Victory With Knockout Win
Jack Hermansson3 days ago

Ends 2022 With Losing Record
Roman Dolidze3 days ago

Makes Most Of Opportunity With TKO Victory
Kyle Daukaus3 days ago

Has His Night Come To An Early End
Eryk Anders3 days ago

Gets It Done With A Second TKO Performance
Kevin Holland5 days ago

Hoping To Rebound With Main-Event Victory

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP