College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds, top 25 games in Week 1

The final season of college football in its current form kicked off with the first full day of games Saturday as Week 1 of the 2023 campaign gets into high gear with a loaded schedule that isn’t over yet. 

In all, Week 1 lasts five days (!) with action continuing into Sunday and Monday. The highlight of the week’s final two days — and the only game between top-10 opponents in Week 1 — comes Sunday night as No. 5 LSU takes on No. 8 Florida State in the Camping World Kickoff for the second straight year. The Tigers, in Year 2 under Brian Kelly, are looking for revenge against the Seminoles, who have renewed optimism of competing for a conference and perhaps national title in Year 4 under Mike Norvell.

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports all day Saturday for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games in Week 1.

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern

No. 5 LSU vs. No. 8 Florida State (Orlando, Sunday)

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — The season opener between these two in New Orleans in 2022 was one of the best games of the whole season. For those who don’t remember, Florida State edged LSU 24-23 when it blocked an extra point that would’ve tied the game late. I don’t know if this year’s game will have as much insanity baked into it, but I expect it to be close again. I also expect LSU will be the team to come out on top. To be clear, I’m high on both of these teams and believe they’ll compete for their conference titles and the College Football Playoff berths that could come with them. However, Florida State was active in the transfer portal during the offseason, and I always worry a little more about teams working with a lot of new faces. Meanwhile, LSU has a bit more roster consistency from last year. While I have concerns about the Tigers secondary, LSU matches up well with Florida State everywhere else. The Bayou Bengals get their revenge. Prediction: LSU -2.5 — Tom Fornelli

No. 12 Tennessee vs. Virginia

Noon | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Virginia is trying to an establish a foundation under Tony Elliott following a three-win 2022 campaign that was abruptly ended. The Cavaliers should make strides this season, but this is a brutal opening matchup. Tennessee has routinely blown out overmatched foes under Josh Heupel and should have no trouble doing so here. Even if it’s not firing on all cylinders out of the gate, the Volunteers’ explosive offense can put up big numbers and put this game out of reach early in the third quarter — if not earlier. Prediction: Tennessee -28 — David Cobb

No. 3 Ohio State at Indiana

3:30 p.m. | CBS, Paramount+ with ShowtimeCBSSports.comCBS Sports App — It’s hard to form a strong opinion about anything here, given the mystery surrounding Ohio State’s QB battle. But if it is a true competition and both guys are getting an equal shot, I love the over. If Kyle McCord was the cemented starter and Ohio State built up a big lead, the Buckeyes could send out the backups to kill the clock and go home safely. But with both Devin Brown and McCord fighting it out, the Buckeyes will keep their starters in as long as possible and allow both guys to play. After all, you can’t learn about either one by handing it off repeatedly. The Buckeyes could finish with at least 50 points themselves. Prediction: Over 59 — Tom Fornelli

No. 7 Penn State vs. West Virginia

7:30 p.m. | NBC, fubo (Try for free) — The Nittany Lions are loaded, and there’s no chance the Mountaineers will be able to slow down this offense. Drew Allar will light up the porous West Virginia secondary and turn this one sideways by the end of the third quarter. The hook on the line makes this one even more attractive since a 21-point win will allow Penn State tickets to cash. Prediction: Penn State -21.5 — Barrett Sallee

No. 21 North Carolina at South Carolina

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fubo (Try for free) — Given how porous these defenses were last year, I won’t blame you for taking the over if it looks more appealing, but I prefer this route. Frankly, I’m not sold on North Carolina this season. When I look at this roster, all I see is Drake Maye and a lot of question marks. While Maye is incredible, I worry about how this squad will stack up against good teams. While South Carolina isn’t going to win the SEC East, it’s a solid team with talent on both sides of the ball. The Gamecocks have gotten the better end of this rivalry in recent years. If you bet the SEC team against the ACC team every time, you’re going to make money in the long run. Prediction: South Carolina +2.5 — Tom Fornelli

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.

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