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College Football Betting: Thursday Openers

The opening week of the college football season kicks off Thursday with a handful of tasty matchups to get your betting juices flowing. The Thursday slate is highlighted by a doubleheader featuring three SEC teams looking to make some noise.
South Carolina hosts North Carolina of the ACC (6 p.m. ET, ESPN) in the first game, followed by an opening SEC matchup between Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
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College Football: Sportsbook fears Georgia

Georgia, not two-time defending national champion Alabama, can do the most damage to one online sportsbook by winning the national championship. 
Bovada reported seeing increased action on both Alabama (5/2) and Ohio State (15/2), leading up to Week 1 of the college football season. But it’s Mark Richt’s Bulldogs, at 14/1, who have the book sweating the most.
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Johnny Manziel, A&M odds reappear

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel isn’t in nearly as much trouble as some expected.
Texas A&M announced Wednesday that Manziel would only be suspended for the first half of the Aggies’ opener against Rice on Saturday.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel’s eligibility was put into question after an NCAA investigation was launched after allegations surfaced that he signed memorabilia for money. 
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South Carolina vs UNC betting preview

Steve Spurrier enters his ninth season at South Carolina with potentially his best offense and as an 11-point favorite against UNC.

Senior quarterback Connor Shaw leads an attack that averaged 31.5 points last season and returns its entire starting offensive line.

The Gamecocks will be a tough matchup for a Tar Heels’ defense that has been described as a work in progress. Two UNC projected starters were lost for the season during camp, and injuries sidelined many others in August. Things got so bad that a tight end and wide receiver were forced to move over to the defensive side, just so the Heels’ would have enough to practice.

The total was sitting at 56.5 eary in the week. UNC is just 1-5 ATS in its past 6 road games.

South Carolina has lost just twice as a double-digit home favorite since 2004 (Auburn in 2011 and Vandy in 2007)

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College Football Betting Trends: Week 1

Trends must be taken with a grain of sports betting salt, but they can prove useful for handicappers looking for support for their theory - or to encourage them to steer clear of it.
So if Florida State went 0-5 against the spread on the road last season, do we worry about them at Pitt? The Seminoles have failed to cover in their last six games as road favorites.
They are 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games as double-digit favorites.
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Georgia vs Clemson Preview and Pick

Clemson capped last season by knocking off SEC power LSU. Beating another in Georgia would be a huge boost to the Tigers, who are sleeper national title contenders.

Clemson has won three of its last five against the SEC. The Tigers opened as small favorites, but Georgia is now the favorite. This will be only the third time under coach Dabo Swinney that the Tigers are home underdogs.

They are also 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in their past 8 games as a road favorite. But Clemson is a nasty underdog, going 21-9 ATS in 30 recent games in that role.

They’re 0-2 against the spread in the two previous situations. With both teams featuring senior quarterbacks and explosive offenses, a high-scoring game is expected. The total was sitting at 72.5 over the weekend.

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Alabama vs Virginia Tech betting odds pick

The Crimson Tide are 23-1 straight up and 15-6 against the spread in September under coach Nick Saban.

They were big 19 ½-point favorites over a Virginia Tech team that has taken a step back from its peak in the early 2000s. (That line has swelled to 21 at some sportsbooks as of Thursday). Alabama is 19-1 straight-up and 12-8 against the spread as a double-digit favorite over the last several years.

They are also 6-0 SU & ATS away from home as a favorite of 20 points or more since 2002.

The Hokies are 7-4 against the spread as double-digit underdogs. Hokie QB Logan Thomas needs to have the best game of his up-and-down career, if Virginia Tech is to have any chance against the Crimson Tide. The Hokies do have nine starters returning on defense.

They must contend with one of Saban’s best offenses at Alabama, led by senior QB A.J. McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper.

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Ole Miss vs Vandy Betting Preview

The Rebels of Ole Miss and the Commodores of Vanderbilt jump right into SEC play when they get together for a 2013 season opener Thursday night in Nashville (9:15 pm ET).

In the early betting Vandy, which has 13 starters back from a team that won nine games, including a bowl, last year, was getting three points as a home dog against the Rebs, who have 19 returning starters after going 7-6 last season.

Vandy is 10-2 ATS in its past 12 against Mississippi, dominating the Rebels like no other team in the SEC.

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LSU vs TCU betting preview, pick

LSU is supposedly rebuilding, but is there any doubt the Tigers still have more talent than TCU?

The Tigers return roughly 12 starters, including senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Top tailback Jeremy Hill is a question mark for the Tigers, his status undetermined due to an off-field arrest.

TCU gets senior quarterback Casey Pachall back. Pachall missed all of last season, while working through personal issues related to drug and alcohol abuse.

He’ll bolster an offense that returns seven starters. The Horned Frogs are just 1-8-1 ATS in the last two seasons in non-conference play and opened as small 4-point road favorites.

LSU is an impressive 10-1 SU in their past games 11 as a road favorite (-4.5 at Bovada).

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Wake Forest Betting Odds Preview

Although it almost seems like a dream now Wake Forest experienced a moment in the sun seven years ago, winning the ACC championship for the first time in almost 40 years and playing in the Orange Bowl.

Since then the Demon Deacons have struggled a bit, now with four losing seasons in a row. But with most of the team back for this season Wake stands a decent chance of snapping that streak and returning to a bowl.

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