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What does Vegas have to say about Week 1 of Big Ten football and the spread? Will Michigan be favored over Florida?

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Florida Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Commenter ziowa9 called it to our attention in the Fanshots that there are early spreads out for betting on Week 1 action in college football. We’ve already talked over-under for each team, now let’s see what Vegas has to say about Week 1:

Thursday, August 31 (all times CT)

SUNY-Buffalo Bulls at Minnesota Golden Gophers || 6pm, BTN

While Minnesota opened as a 31-point favorite, the line has slid a little backwards to Minnesota -27 as bets against the Gopher offense likely led oddsmakers to depress the margin a little. Bill Connelly is not optimistic for the Lance Leipold turnaround project in 2017 (and maybe not even 2018), but he’s got this game right at the line: 27-point margin for the Gophers.

Fun fact: I searched “buffalo bill connelly” to find that article.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Indiana Hoosiers || 7pm, ESPN

VegasInsider has the consensus spread at OSU -20.5, and there hasn’t been much movement since this line opened, nor is there more than half a point deviation.

Friday, September 1

Washington Huskies at Rutgers Scarlet Knights || 7pm, FS1

People believe in rutger! Well, that might be going a little far, but the line has dropped from Washington -33 to just Washington -30.5. It’s the first in a long stretch of rutger proving everyone wrong, I’m sure.

It’ll stun you to hear this, but Bill Connelly just glossed over rutger when previewing Washington’s 2017 campaign. The Huskies are replacing some defensive talent, but Washington’s explosive offense should cruise over the Knights. Despite this, Connelly only has them as a 23-point winner.

Utah State Aggies at wisconsin badgers || 8pm, ESPN

The legacy of Gary Andersen is a helluva thing, isn’t it? What was once a 37-point wisconsin spread has now settled comfortably at a wisconsin -29 line, which seems like easy money given what the badgers usually do in the non-conference.

Here is Bill Connelly’s preview. You don’t actually care about Utah State. His model has the badgers by 23.

Saturday, September 2 THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR

11am Games

Akron Zips at Penn State Nittany Lions || ABC

It went from a 39-point line to Penn State -33. Terry Bowden apparently has a “weirdly-sustainable wild card thing” going for him at Akron, but Connelly still has State by 39.5.

Maryland Terrapins at Texas Longhorns || FS1

From the Longhorns by 15.5 to Texas -17. Not big, not special, about in keeping with the Tom Herman bump and Bill C’s expected 18.7 margin. Unless he hates the Terrapins like Kenpom does? I’ll need some help here, Maryland fans.

Bowling Green Falcons at Michigan State Spartans || ESPNU

A line that opened at 18 points has now risen to Michigan State -19.5. Bowling Green is rebuilding and apparently really good at it, and Bill Connelly has the Spartans as just a 16-point winner. We’ll see if the Falcons can pull off some hi-Jinks in East Lansing. Enjoy the Beth Mowins Special, Sparty fans!

Wyoming Cowboys at Iowa Hawkeyes || BTN

An 11.5-point line has risen slightly to Iowa -13, but who knows whether this is one of those mid-major cupcakes that Iowa devours or one of those cupcakes filled with razor blades. Billy C pegged this as a game that Wyoming probably won’t win but could determine how high their ceiling is...and has the Hawkeyes around the original line at 10.8-point winners.

Ball State Cardinals at Illinois Fighting Illini || BTN

I don’t want to laugh, but an 11-point Illini line has dropped to Illinois -8.5, and that’s both frightening and hilarious. In fact, Ball State...might be decent? Connelly gives them a 42% chance to win and has the margin at 3.6 points for Illinois.

2:30pm Games

Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators (in Dallas) || ABC

It’s sitting at Michigan -4 right now, having opened at -3 and rising in some places as high as Michigan -5. Connelly’s on the Whole Milk Express, but the metrics have this one only at the Wolverines by 2.

Nevada Wolf Pack at Northwestern Wildcats (Wild Cats?) || BTN

If you bet on this game, call that hotline for people with gambling addiction. We’re all here for you (also never bet on Northwestern to cover in the non-conference, a tip which I’m sure doesn’t hold up to what’s actually happened but which just seems like good sense). What was ‘Cats by 28 is now Northwestern -24.5. Nevada will be bad and Bill C has NU by 22.

Today I also learned that Floyd of Rosedale winner Jeff Horton briefly coached Nevada. The more you know.

Night Games

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Louisville Cardinals (Indianapolis) || 6:30pm, FOX

I honestly thought it would be worse than Louisville -26.5. It opened around there, too. Bill C has the Cardinals by 24.7 but gives Purdue just an 8% chance. Let the rebuild begin!

Arkansas State Red Wolves at Nebraska Cornhuskers || 7pm, BTN

Even if it’s just a Sun Belt frontrunner, a night game in Lincoln ought to be lots of fun. Vegas has Nebraska -17, a 2-point drop from the opening line, and maybe that’s because Arkansas State has a sneaky-explosive offense and above-average defense—Bill Connelly has them at a 20% chance in Lincoln, losing by 14.5.

Here are all those games, in list form:


Ohio State (-20.5) at Indiana
Buffalo at Minnesota (-27)


Washington (-30.5) at rutger
Utah State at wisconsin (-29)


Akron at Penn State (-33)
Maryland at Texas (-17)
Bowling Green at Michigan State (-19.5)
Wyoming at Iowa (-13)
Balls Tate at Illinois (-8.5)
Michigan (-4) vs. Florida
Nevada at Northwestern (-24.5)
Purdue vs. Louisville (-26.5)
Arkansas State at Nebraska (-17)

Who out of this are you picking? Where’s the easy money, and who are you staying away from? Vote in the polls and let us know in the comments.


Which game is your bet-the-house lock?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Washington to cover
    (68 votes)
  • 15%
    wisconsin to cover
    (34 votes)
  • 20%
    Penn State to cover
    (47 votes)
  • 21%
    Louisville to cover
    (49 votes)
  • 12%
    Other (comments)
    (27 votes)
225 votes total Vote Now


Which game are you staying away from betting on?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (13 votes)
  • 10%
    Ohio State-Indiana
    (24 votes)
  • 7%
    Bowling Green-Michigan State
    (16 votes)
  • 21%
    (50 votes)
  • 9%
    (22 votes)
  • 28%
    (66 votes)
  • 7%
    (18 votes)
  • 4%
    RED WOLVES-Nebraska
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    (9 votes)
228 votes total Vote Now