College Football Week 0 three-team mega parlay (+1019 odds): Illinois pulls upset

Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback quarterback Brandon Peters throws during the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the first half at Memorial Stadium
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Andrew Ortenberg

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

And just like that, we’re back! The college football season really snuck up on us, and things are about to get underway. Unfortunately the full action won’t start until next week, but we have 5 great games here in Week 0 to tide us over.

We’re going big and bold, so let’s not waste any more time. But before we dive in, don’t forget to check out our picks for the side and total on every big college football game.

Illinois ML (+210)

UCLA -18 (-110)

UTEP -10 (-110)

Parlay odds: +1019

Let’s break down each of the three legs one by one.

Illinois ML (+210) over Nebraska

To start this off and give us the big odds boost to truly make this a mega parlay, we have Illinois on the money line. Getting better than 2/1 feels like a steal. Nebraska has a ton of drama surrounding the program, as it was recently announced that the NCAA was investigating practice violations. Head coach Scott Frost is embattled at the moment, and I think there’s a good chance the distractions effect their on-field play here.

Bret Bielema is kicking off a new era in Illinois, and his guys will be extra fired up here at home to get him his first win. He has a very experienced roster, including a fifth-year senior at quarterback in Brandon Peters. Big money line upsets often happen in the first game of the season, and this is the best spot to expect one in Week 0.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

UCLA -18 (-110) over Hawaii

I’m very bullish on this UCLA team this season. The Bruins are returning 10 starters on defense and they were way better than their record last year indicates. Sure they went just 3-4, but each of those 4 losses came by 6 points or fewer. According to EPA, they were the unluckiest team in all of college football in 2020.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has gotten better in each of his three years under center, and I’m expecting a big leap in his fourth season in Chip Kelly’s system. This offense should be fun to watch, and with the tempo Kelly likes to play at, they are certainly the kind of team you want to lay this big of a spread with.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. UCLA Bruins

UTEP -10 (-110) over New Mexico State

To wrap this mega parlay up and hopefully bring us home, we have UTEP. This is more a fade of New Mexico State than anything else. The Aggies opted out of last season, and have barely taken the field since 2019. Many expect them to be one of the worst teams in D1 football, and I can’t say I disagree.

After canceling their season NMSU played 2 games in the spring against FCS competition, and they even lost 1 of those. This will be their first game against an FBS opponent in two years. UTEP has a returning starter under center in Gavin Hardison, and star defensive end Praise Amaewhule should be able to make life miserable for New Mexico State’s offense.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for UTEP Miners vs New Mexico State Aggies

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