Early College Football ATS Picks: Week 1 (2021)

As the calendar turns to July and the Dog Days of Summer kick into high gear, we begin to look ahead to the 2021 college football season, which will kick off in just over two months. As of mid-June, many of the major sportsbooks had put out lookahead lines to some of the bigger games of the 2021 slate.

While much can change between now and then, and I recommend playing small, let’s take a look at some of those games and lines and see where we can pick off some value.

Check out consensus against the spread odds for each week of the College Football season >>

Week 1

North Carolina at Virginia Tech (+6.5, -122)

The Hokies will look to avenge a shootout loss (45-56) to the then #8 Tar Heels in 2020. The seven starters who return on the defensive side of the ball will again have to go up against sophomore quarterback Sam Howell, who comes into this season as a Heisman hopeful and the likely first quarterback to go off the board in next spring’s NFL draft.

While Virginia Tech gets 10 starters back on the defensive side of the ball, Howell gets a new weapon in Tennesee transfer Ty Chandler. Despite losing two 1,000 yard rushers and his top wide receiver, I think Howell alone should be enough to beat a Hokies defense that allowed 32 points per game last season and has done little to improve.

Pick: North Carolina -6.5 

Louisville at Ole Miss (-7.5, -110)

In what will be the first meeting between the two schools, Louisville and Ole Miss will face off in Atlanta on a Monday night in a game that will start off the season on a great note for one of them. For the Running Rebels, coach Lane Kiffin starts his year two campaign with his top passer and rusher in Matt Corral and Jerrion Ealy. The two sophomores return to an offense that averaged 39 points per game last season. The defense also returns nine starters and looks to be much improved after giving up 38 points per game of their own in 2020.

For the Cardinals, dual-threat quarterback Maik Cunningham returns to lead an offense that averaged 30 points per game last season while struggling to a 4-7 record. Unfortunately for Cunningham and offensive-minded third-year head coach Scott Satterfield, Louisville will have to replace their top rusher and two top receivers from last season, along with half of their starters on defense.

While I’d love to get this at a touchdown or less, I see the Lane Train’s offense being too much for Louisville. I expect the Rebels to put a big number on the board as the tide starts to turn in Oxford.

Pick: Ole Miss -7.5

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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.

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