Viewing guide for Thursday’s Week 1 NCAA football games, betting info

Welcome to Week 1 of the 2023 college football season. Last week, several teams started their season with Week 0 contests, including No. 6 USC demolishing San Jose State, 56-28. Thirteenth-ranked Notre Dame traveled to Ireland and blasted Navy, 42-3.

While Thursday’s slate doesn’t have any matchups with opponents both ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, there are some games that stand out among the nearly 30 on the schedule.

We’ll get into the games, how to watch and betting information for Thursday’s games to kick off the season.

Viewing guide for Thursday's Week 1 NCAA
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on during the second half in a game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on October 8, 2022, in Pasadena, California. Nearly 30 college football games are on tap Thursday, with Utah vs. the Florida Gators as a standout battle. Newsweek lays out the matchups and more.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Florida at Utah is Thursday’s game of the night

With only one game on Thursday with a ranked team, it shouldn’t be shocking that we picked No. 14 Utah hosting Florida as the game most worth watching.

There’s a history here: An unranked Florida team defeated then-No. 10 Utah, 29-26 in last season’s opener. Former Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson rushed for three touchdowns in a win that was a bright spot in an otherwise unremarkable 6-7 season. Utah overcame the season-opening loss and finished 10-4. The Utes ended the year ranked 10th after a 31-25 loss against Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

QB Graham Mertz transferred to Florida after several seasons under center at Wisconsin. His stats won’t blow anyone away, but his pocket presence fits what Gators head coach Billy Napier wants to do on offense. His progress within the unit will be worth the watch.

The status of Utes starting quarterback Camron Rising is in doubt. Coming off a knee injury suffered in Utah’s Rose Bowl loss, Rising still hasn’t been medically cleared for the game, according to KSL Sports. If he does play, expect the Gators to blitz Rising early and often to test his mobility.

Rising ran for 91 yards on seven carries last season against the Gators. If he’s hampered, that could create an advantage for Florida.

The Gators are a 6.5-point underdog and could be a tempting play with the questions surrounding Rising’s recovery from the ACL tear. A $100 money line bet on the Gators to win would pay out $305 and the over/under is 44.5 points.

How to watch the first Thursday of NCAA football

While the Florida vs. Utah game may steal the show, there’ll be plenty of additional action Thursday night. If you’re hungry for NCAA football, you’ll get more than your fill. All kickoffs are listed in ET.

Charleston Southern vs. North Greenville: 6 p.m. ESPN+

Indiana State vs. Eastern Illinois: 6 p.m. ESPN+

Morehead State vs. West Virginia State: 6 p.m. ESPN+

Samford vs. Shorter: 7 p.m. ESPN+

Wake Forest vs. Elon: 7 p.m. ACC Network

UCF vs. Kent State: 7 p.m. FS1

Georgia State vs. Rhode Island: 7 p.m. ESPN+

Western Michigan vs. St. Francis (PA): 7 p.m. ESPN+

Nicholls vs. Sacramento State: 7 p.m. ESPN+

Furman vs. Tennessee Tech: 7 p.m. ESPN+

Kennesaw State vs. Tusculum: 7 p.m. ESPN+

Campbell vs. William & Mary: 7 p.m. FloFootball

Stony Brook vs. Delaware: 7 p.m. FloFootball

UConn vs. NC State 7:30 p.m: CBSSN

Youngstown State vs. Valparaiso: 7:30 p.m. ESPN+

Minnesota vs. Nebraska: 8 p.m. FOX

Missouri vs. South Dakota: 8 p.m. SEC Network

No. 14 Utah vs. Florida: 8 p.m. ESPN

Tulsa vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 8 p.m. ESPN+

UAB vs. North Carolina A&T: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Lamar vs. Idaho: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Abilene Christian vs. Northern Colorado: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Texas A&M-Commerce vs. UC Davis: 8 p.m. ESPN+

South Dakota State vs. Western Oregon: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Weber State vs. Central Washington: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Lindenwood vs. Wisconsin-Stevens Pointe: 8 p.m. ESPN+

Arizona State vs. Southern Utah: 10 p.m. Pac-12 Network

Betting info on Thursday’s Week 1 games

If you want to do more than watch the games, there are odds for some of the contests. All betting lines listed are accurate as of Tuesday afternoon on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Kent State at University of Central Florida: UCF is a 37-point favorite and the over/under is 55.5 points. As of this writing, the money line bet is off the board.

North Carolina State at UConn: The Wolfpack is favored by 14.5 points and the over/under is 46.5 points. Betting $100 on a UConn upset would pay $625 on a winning ticket.

Nebraska at Minnesota: Nebraska is a 7-point underdog against Minnesota, with the over/under at 46.5 points. A $100 money line bet on Nebraska pays out $315.

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