CFB Week 1 line movements: USC, Rutgers among public favorites
Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With college football's kickoff just two weeks away, the early money is skewing toward the favorites - including action on multi-touchdown favorites like Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

Sharps are pushing back against the favorites in some spots, though, while a few surprise doormats are garnering public favor. We break down five notable line movements ahead of Week 1:

Odds courtesy of Westgate LV SuperBook; public betting data courtesy of Sports Insights.

USC (-13.5) vs. Fresno State

Opened: USC -9.5

No Week 1 contest has seen more movement than this one, with bettors moving the line by four points in only the fourth-ever meeting between these two teams.

This matchup will always conjure memories of the 2005 epic, but it's been one-sided of late, with USC winning the two most recent contests by a combined 64 points. Bettors expect more of the same this year, as 67 percent side with the Trojans.

USC is coming off its first losing season since 2000, while Fresno State is fresh off a 12-win campaign under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford. Yet the Bulldogs return the second-lowest production of any FBS team, while the Trojans return 79 percent of their offense around budding star JT Daniels.

Utah (-5) at BYU

Opened: Utah -6.5

The Holy War is pitting Pros versus Joes this year, with sharps betting down Pac-12 favorite Utah despite a steady stream of Ute money from the public.

So far, 69 percent of spread bets and 59 percent of moneyline tickets are on Utah, which is narrowly ahead of Washington and Oregon in the conference futures market and a 50-1 dark horse for the national title.

The public may be onto something here. The Utes have won eight straight against BYU, including four of five by at least six points. They also return 90 percent of their offensive production and bring back much of a stout defensive unit, too.

Rutgers (-14.5) vs. Massachusetts

Opened: Rutgers -11

One of the biggest public plays in Week 1 is a double-digit favorite from the Big Ten. That favorite is somehow Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights were last favored in Week 1 of 2018 when they cashed as 16.5-point favorites in a 35-7 win over Texas State. That was also the last time Rutgers won a game. Nonetheless, 92 percent of bettors expect another big showing in the team's season opener.

Massachusetts won four games last year - though only two against FBS teams - and covered three of its final four, so Rutgers may have to work for its first win in 12 tries. Don't be surprised to see sharps jump on the Minutemen as kickoff nears.

NC State (-17.5) vs. East Carolina

Opened: NC State -20.5

The Wolfpack tore East Carolina apart in last year's regular-season finale, winning 58-3 as a 25.5-point home favorite. The Pirates return to Raleigh looking for revenge under new coach Mike Houston, who led James Madison to an FCS national title in 2016.

Bettors believe in ECU, which is drawing 76 percent of spread tickets to push the line in its favor. The Pirates had won the previous three meetings before last year's collapse, which came at the end of an injury-plagued season.

We mentioned East Carolina as a strong over bet in our Group of 5 roundtable. A payback spot over NC State would certainly send a message after three straight three-win campaigns.

Florida State (-4) vs. Boise State

Opened: Florida State -3.5

This game could have been a headliner a few years ago, but it's still one of the top Week 1 matchups between a Power 5 underachiever and a Group of 5 flag bearer.

Early bettors are favoring the former, betting Florida State up to -4 and even -4.5 at some shops. To reward those giving points, the Seminoles will need at least a competent offensive line - something they lacked during last year's 5-7 disaster campaign - and to make the most of a talented defense.

Boise State has a mountain to climb in replacing former starting QB Brett Rypien and workhorse back Alexander Mattison. A trip to Jacksonville against a hungry FSU team likely isn't the best way to ease in the offense, so there could be value in fading the Broncos, even at a higher number.

CFB Week 1 line movements: USC, Rutgers among public favorites
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