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FBS vs. FCS matchups with betting value in Week 1 of college football

Nov 14, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5) looks to pass against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the 2021 college football season is finally here, and opening week always includes plenty of FBS vs. FCS matchups. These games don’t usually have a lot of intrigue, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find betting value in some of them. There are a few matchups on this week’s slate that look appealing, both from a spread and total perspective. 


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Colorado State Rams -2.5 vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

South Dakota State made its way to an appearance in the FCS Championship game in the spring, but having the Jackrabbits within a field goal on the road against a Mountain West team is optimistic. The strength of this SDSU offense is the running game, which plays right into Colorado State’s biggest strength as a team.

The Rams’ defensive front led the nation in line yards last season, also ranking second in stuff rate and fifth in rushing success rate allowed. The front returns several key pieces in 2021, including two of the Mountain West’s best defenders in interior lineman Manny Jones and former Miami Hurricane Scott Patchan on the edge. 

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Colorado State’s offense will need to improve in 2021, but it has two bonafide passing game weapons in tight end Trey McBride and wide receiver Dante Wright. McBride has the third-highest receiving grade among all returning tight ends this season, and Wright’s 85.0 receiving grade in 2020 ranked second in the Mountain West at the position. Each player was named to the first team in our preseason All-Mountain West selections.

South Dakota State does not have anyone of this caliber on the other side of the ball, and the duo should have no trouble getting open on Friday. There is a lot of talent on this Colorado State team, and getting a price shorter than a field goal here is a good opportunity. 


SMU Mustangs -30.5 vs. Abilene Christian Wildcats

There were 105 teams in the FCS that played in the spring or fall, and Abilene Christian ranked 104th in team coverage grade. The Wildcats graded lower than 60 in five of their six games, with the one exception coming against Division 2 Angelo State. Meanwhile, SMU is not a team you want to play with such concerns in the secondary.

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