With college football finally underway across the country this weekend, most preseason quarterback battles have been decided. There are still a few of these bets that won’t be decided until we see who runs out onto the field after kickoff, but for the most part, coaches either have officially named a starter or one quarterback was listed alone atop his team’s first depth chart this week.
Of the battles that will go right up to gameday, the most notable is at defending champion Alabama. The situations at UCLA, Tennessee and Maryland also are still undetermined.
Jump to the bottom for an updated list of winners in these college football quarterback battles.
Alabama starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Tua Tagovailoa -250
Jalen Hurts +165
Perhaps the most publicized quarterback battle in college football is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the defending national champions. Tagovailoa, who entered the CFP National Championship Game in the second half in place of Hurts and rallied the Crimson Tide to an overtime victory over Georgia, has become a big enough favorite that he’s also mentioned among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy.
All momentum appears headed toward Tagovailoa as the choice, but beware of the price dropping too far on the rising sophomore. Hurts did lead Alabama to a 12-1 record before a bad first half in the final game of the season. The choice is Tagovailoa, but only at the right odds.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Tagovailoa
Ohio State starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Dwayne Haskins -600
Tate Martell +370
When J.T. Barrett was injured last season against rival Michigan, Haskins won the right to replace him and played well, completing 6 of 7 passes for 94 yards and rushing for 24 yards. That makes him a heavy favorite to start for the Buckeyes this season, especially since Joe Burrow, perhaps Haskins’ main competition for the job, transferred to LSU after spring practice.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Haskins
Oklahoma starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Kyler Murray -600
Austin Kendall +370
The quarterback battle to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield seems one-sided. Murray completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards backing up Mayfield last year. The only question as to whether Murray would start is whether he would play professional baseball instead after the Oakland Athletics drafted him in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Murray signed a contract with the A’s but reached an agreement to finish his college football career first. Expect him to take the first snap of the season for the Sooners.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Murray
Clemson starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Kelly Bryant +130
Trevor Lawrence +160
Hunter Johnson +510
Chase Brice +820
In what appears to be a fairly wide-open race, Bryant gets a slight edge in the odds because he’s the returning starter from a College Football Playoff team, and coach Dabo Swinney has said that if the quarterback battle is even, his senior will get the nod.
However, it’s telling that Bryant hasn’t already held off his freshman challengers, especially Lawrence, who was regarded as one of the best high school quarterbacks ever. If Lawrence doesn’t start the season under center, he’ll get there soon.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Lawrence
Texas starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Sam Ehlinger -250
Shane Buechele +180
Both of these quarterbacks saw significant action last year, and this appears to be an open race. The +180 betting odds next to Buechele’s name are tempting, but be careful. Ehlinger was playing more by the end of last season, especially in the Longhorns’ Texas Bowl victory over Missouri, and he’s more of a running threat. That fits better with coach Tom Herman’s offense.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Ehlinger
Florida starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Feleipe Franks +105
Emory Jones +130
Kyle Trask +820
New Florida coach Dan Mullen is known as a quarterback whisperer, and it’s possible more than one of these choices sees time under center in 2018. However, Franks is the clear choice to be the Week 1 starter, mostly because Jones is a 6-foot-3 freshman who weighs only 192 pounds and will need time to put muscle on his frame to compete in the SEC, and Trask missed all of the 2017 season after foot surgery. Franks, once a highly touted recruit, wasn’t successful when he started games last season, but he is the most ready to step in for Mullen right away.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Franks
USC starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Matt Fink -120
J.T. Daniels +130
Jack Sears +825
This is yet another blueblood program that might turn to a true freshman. But Daniels is not your typical freshman; he was the Gatorade player of the year at nearby Mater Dei High School and spent much of spring practice at USC even though he hadn’t graduated high school yet. Fink is the oldest player listed here and is the safe choice, but at USC, flashy rules. Especially when flashy is as talented as J.T. Daniels.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Daniels
Michigan starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Shea Patterson -190
Brandon Peters +270
Joe Milton +820
Dylan McCaffrey +1740
Peters is technically the returning starter here, as he played the final five games of the season for Michigan in 2017. And that makes his +270 betting odds tempting. But Patterson, who transferred from Ole Miss, is one of the most talented newcomers you’ll ever see. He should start here, assuming he’s fully recovered from knee surgery — which he appeared to be in spring practice.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Patterson
Florida State starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
James Blackman -120
Deondre Francois +130
Bailey Hockman +820
Blackman started last year after Francois was hurt in the season opener, and even though he threw for four touchdown passes in the Independence Bowl against Southern Miss, he finished with just 19 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in one of FSU’s worst seasons in a long time. New coach Willie Taggart says Francois is healthy for fall camp, so take advantage of those +130 betting odds.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Francois
Notre Dame starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Brandon Wimbush -150
Ian Book +130
Phil Jurkovec +1740
The Fighting Irish used Wimbush as their starter for most of last season, but Book came into the Citrus Bowl and led a stirring comeback victory over LSU. Still, it’s hard to see Wimbush being dismissed for one bad game. He’s the smart money to at least start 2018 at quarterback.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Wimbush
LSU starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Joe Burrow +130
Myles Brennan +270
It’s been a long time since the Tigers, a power program by any other measure, have had an established returner at quarterback. Burrow, the Ohio State transfer, could change that with a strong fall camp. He’s the most sure thing a group of unknowns.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Burrow
UCLA starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Devon Modster +200
Austin Burton +265
Wilton Speight +360
Matt Lynch +510
Dorian Thompson-Robinson +810
The quarterback battle to replace Josh Rosen is wide open, with returners Modster and Burton joined by Michigan transfer Wilton Speight. In perhaps the most unclear race on the board, there’s value in betting Speight, who was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2016, at +360.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Speight
Texas A&M starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Nick Starkel -300
Kellen Mond +210
This quarterback battle is a classic example of a more athletic player (Mond) against a more experienced, cerebral player (Starkel). In Jimbo Fisher’s first year, expect him to make the safer choice, especially in his chosen offense where a quarterback is expected to make plenty of decisions.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Starkel
Nebraska starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Adrian Martinez -120
Tristan Gebbia +105
In new coach Scott Frost’s offense, either Martinez or Gebbia could put up big numbers even though neither has taken a collegiate snap. Here’s a vote for Martinez, who missed his senior season in high school with injury but looked explosive in Nebraska’s spring game and has the dual-threat capabilities that have characterized the biggest stars at Frost’s previous stops.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Martinez
Arkansas starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Cole Kelley -180
Ty Storey +135
Kelley has the edge in college football experience, but Storey ran a system similar to that of new coach Chad Morris while in high school. It’s a good opportunity to place a bet on the underdog.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Storey
Tennessee starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Keller Chryst -185
Jarrett Guarantano +165
Guarantano played extensively last season, throwing for 997 yards and four touchdowns while sharing time at quarterback, but, at another program with a new coach in Jeremy Pruitt, it’s hard to ignore the presence of Keller Chryst, who went 11-2 at Stanford last year before making a graduate transfer to Knoxville.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Chryst
Oklahoma State starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Spencer Sanders +105
Dru Brown +130
Taylor Cornelius +815
Keondre Wudtee +1730
One of the country’s most intriguing quarterback battles shapes up as a battle of experienced — if little used — returnees Cornelius and Wudtee against newcomers Sanders (a highly touted high school recruit) and Brown, who transferred from Hawaii. This one is tough to predict, but given that coach Mike Gundy proclaimed Cornelius the favorite entering training camp, it’s certainly worth a flyer on his better than 8/1 odds.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Cornelius
Iowa starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Nathan Stanley -2570
Peyton Mansell +835
Mansell was impressive in the Hawkeyes’ spring game and appears to be a solid backup, but it’s hard to imagine Stanley losing his starting gig as a captain before the first kickoff. At these odds, though, it’s hardly worth betting.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Stanley
TCU starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Shawn Robinson -320
Michael Collins +1740
Collins is interesting at those odds, and Rogers could start fairly quickly out of high school. But don’t overthink this one: Robinson won a road game at Texas Tech as a fill-in starter last year and, barring injury or a huge drop-off in performance, should begin the season as the starting quarterback.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Robinson
BYU starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Tanner Mangum +270
Zach Wilson +360
None of the options in this quarterback battle has enjoyed a lot of success, so the best bet might be to go with Critchlow, who played a fair amount as a freshman and could be given the opportunity to grow into the job instead of one of his older competitors.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Mangum
Maryland starting quarterback Week 1 of 2018 regular season
Kasim Hill -120
Tyrrell Pigrom +210
Both Hill and Pigrome are coming off of significant injuries, so health will play a big role in this quarterback battle. The slight edge goes to Hill, who was successful in spurts last year and better fits the offensive scheme of new coordinator Matt Canada.
Quarterback Battle Pick: Hill
Winners of the quarterback battles
Ohio State QB Battle Winner — Dwayne Haskins
Oklahoma QB Battle Winner — Kyler Murray
Clemson QB Battle Winner — Kelly Bryant
Notre Dame QB Battle Winner — Brandon Wimbush
Oklahoma State QB Battle Winner — Taylor Cornelius
Iowa QB Battle Winner — Nathan Stanley
TCU QB battle winner — Shawn Robinson
Michigan QB battle winner — Shea Patterson
Texas QB battle winner — Sam Ehlinger
Florida QB Battle Winner — Feleipe Franks
USC QB Battle Winner — J.T. Daniels
Florida State QB Battle Winner — Deondre Francois
LSU QB Battle Winner — Joe Burrow
Texas A&M QB Battle Winner — Kellen Mond
Nebraska QB Battle Winner — Adrian Martinez
Arkansas QB Battle Winner — Cole Kelley
BYU QB Battle Winner — Tanner Mangum