College football opening weekend best bets: Don’t mess with Texas…El Paso

Praise Amaewhule of the UTEP Miners
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NCAAF· 1 month ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The college football season is here. No it’s not an especially intriguing slate for what we will call Week Zero (we have to wait until Labor Day Weekend for most of the big boys to take the field), but it’s the college football regular season nonetheless. Let’s get things started by taking a look at some of Saturday’s best bets.

UTEP Miners -10 over New Mexico State Aggies

The Miners will travel less than an hour to take on rival New Mexico State. UTEP played 8 games last year and was victorious in 3 of them, whereas NMSU cancelled its season entirely due to COVID-19. The Aggies did play in 2 games this spring, going 1-1 against FCS competition. And while the Miners certainly aren’t Alabama, they are definitely an upgrade from what the Aggies saw in those outings. UTEP defensive end Praise Amaewhule has a legitimate shot to play in the NFL and will probably wreak havoc on a fairly inexperienced New Mexico State offensive line. Returning QB starter Gavin Hardison is also better than anything the opposition has to offer. Given that NMSU hasn’t played a real game in two years, UTEP should be on its way to a season-opening win — and probably in convincing fashion.

Check out our full game preview

UCLA Bruins -18 over Hawaii Warriors

UCLA went 3-4 last season in Chip Kelly’s third year as head coach, but you chalk that up to to COVID and also some extremely bad luck. Heck, the Bruins could have gone 7-0; losses were 48-42 to Colorado, 38-35 to Oregon, 43-38 to USC, and 48-47 in double-overtime to Stanford. UCLA is one of the teams we think could be in line for major improvement this year. Kelly is returning 20 starters and will have a strong veteran presence on both offense and defense. Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns for his fourth year; he will likely keep the offense scoring points with a strong receiving corps in support. Leading receiver Greg Dulcich is back, as are all 5 starters on their offensive line. The Bruins averaged 35.4 ppg in 2020. Hawaii, on the other hand, is only returning 7 starters on offense.

Check out our full game preview

Illinois Fighting Illini +7 over Nebraska Cornhuskers

Last week the NCAA announced that it was opening an investigation into the Nebraska football program over practice violations, putting into question whether or not head coach Scott Frost will be on the sidelines for the Cornhuskers’ opener. Despite that off-field news, the Cornhuskers are still -7 road favorites and they return 8 players on defense plus senior quarterback Adrian Martinez. They may have enough to get a win, but this team probably isn’t that good even when it isn’t dealing with distractions so a touchdown should be enough for the Fighting Illini to cover. Bret Bielema is beginning his tenure at Illinois with a roster that features a ton of senior experience. For example, the offensive line that has a combined 132 starts. An experienced backfield will have plenty of time to go to work and keep up with a mediocre at best Nebraska offense.

Check out our full game preview

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

See All
DraftKings

$200

Bet $1 On Any NFL Football Game & Get $150 In Free Bets Instantly!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $1 on any Pro Football game

Instantly get $150 in free bets

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

Caesars Sportsbook

$5,000

Get a $5,000 Risk Free Bet + a free NFL Jersey!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $5,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $5,000 + a free NFL Jersey

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$150

Bet $5, Win $150 in cash if the Cowboys or Eagles win!

Bet $5 on the Cowboys or Eagles to win

Win $150 in CASH if your team wins!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account to claim

Must be 21+ to play. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign Up Bonus with TwinSpires Racebook!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code BET200

Make a deposit and start wagering on horse racing

Earn $100 in bonus cash for every $400 wagered!

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.