By Dan Kilbridge | | 11 mins
College Football Week 1 Odds, Picks & Predictions
Let’s get this party started. College football betting is finally back after an excruciating seven-month absence, with Georgia fans basking in the glow of a national championship and successful bettors longing for the days of endless kickoffs and nonstop gridiron action.
Week 1 in college football is always an incredibly exciting time – the marquee nonconference matchups are dialed in based on past accomplishments, but roster turnover, coaching changes and the transfer portal can make a huge impact from year-to-year. You never really know what to expect until the stands are packed and the players hit the field.
This year’s opening weekend slate features a historic matchup with Notre Dame taking on Ohio State in Columbus for the first time since 1995. It’s only the third-ever trip for the Fighting Irish to the Horseshoe, and the Buckeyes are favored on betting apps by more than two touchdowns despite failing to reach the College Football Playoff in 2021.
The defending champions have a juicy matchup as well, with Georgia hosting Oregon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulldogs are favored on betting sites by more than two touchdowns, as the Ducks have an opportunity to make a serious statement from the get-go.
We’ve also got our eyes on Pac-12 favorite Utah heading to The Swamp to take on Florida, another exciting nonconference matchup in a weekend filled with intrigue and potential for bettors to kick off another college football season in style.
College Football Week 1 Odds
Let's take a look at the latest college football odds for Week 1 of the 2022 season. Don't forget to shop around at sportsbooks for the best price.
And don't forget to keep reading down this article for our best college football picks for Week 1.
Thursday, Sep. 1
West Virginia at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET
The Backyard Brawl is back, baby! One of the oldest rivalries in college football, these two teams annually played this heated rivalry game when both were members of the Big East. While the landscape has changed drastically since their last meeting in 2011, this is the perfect time to bring these foes back together.
Pittsburgh is coming off its best season since 1982, but the Panthers will be tested from the jump as they look to replace last season’s ACC Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Kenny Pickett. We’ll see what coach Pat Narduzzi can do for an encore after finishing 13th in the AP Poll in 2021.
The Mountaineers finished below .500 for the third consecutive season, but the offense should be much improved with Georgia quarterback transfer JT Daniels ready to take the helm. However, West Virginia has won with defense in recent years and there are a lot of holes to fill on that side of the ball.
The Pick: Pittsburgh -7
Penn State at Purdue, 8 p.m.
The Big Ten gets right into it with a big-time road test for Penn State, with the Nittany Lions coming off another disappointing season under James Franklin. They were No. 4 in the AP Poll after a 5-0 start and finished unranked after winning just two of their final eight games. The offense was a mess and senior quarterback Sean Clifford has not met expectations.
Purdue finished in the top 25 for the first time since 2007 and looks to make even more noise under Jeff Brohm coming off a 9-4 season. The Boilermakers retain a lot of key pieces on defense and should give Penn State problems in pass protection, and the Thursday night crowd will be raucous – this is one of the biggest games Ross Ade Stadium has seen in years, and it’s a good matchup for the home team.
The Pick: Purdue +3
Saturday, Sep. 3
Cincinnati at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.
How ‘bout those Bearcats? Cincinnati became the first non-Power Five team to make the College Football Playoff a year ago, improving to 44-7 the last four seasons under coach Luke Fickell. They lose seven starters on defense but have the talent to rebuild quickly, and the Bearcats should cruise through the AAC once again. But there’s a serious challenge waiting in Week 1 as Cincinnati travels to Arkansas for the opener.
The Razorbacks are coming off their best season since 2011, finishing No. 21 in the nation after an Outback Bowl win over Penn State – a great sign for coach Sam Pittman entering his third season. There’s a lot of returning talent on both sides of the ball, including quarterback KJ Jefferson and four offensive linemen. This should be an extremely close matchup and we’ll take the points.
The Pick: Cincinnati +7
Oregon at Georgia, 3:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs finally got over the hump of all humps in beating Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide in the national championship. The party continues in Week 1 with Stetson Bennett back at quarterback and, of course, an excellent group of running backs in the fold. One of the best defenses in college football history will have to replace several starters, but Georgia’s recruiting prowess makes it easier to fill the gaps.
Oregon enjoyed another 10-win season in 2021, but a pair of tough losses to Utah in conference play and the Pac-12 Championship game ultimately defined the season. The Ducks pulled off a stunning Week 2 upset at Ohio State last year and look to play spoiler again in a hostile environment in Atlanta. First-year coach Dan Lanning has a ton of returning talent to work with after Mario Cristobal left for Miami, but this is about the toughest test one can imagine for a new coach.
We expect the Ducks to stay competitive in the early going, but Georgia should ultimately impose its will and run away in the second half.
The Pick: Georgia -17
Utah at Florida, 7 p.m.
The Utes won the Pac-12 for the first time ever a year ago and gave Ohio State all it could handle in a 48-45 loss in the Rose Bowl, one of the most entertaining games of the year by far. That’s eight consecutive winning seasons for Utah and expectations are extremely high as Kyle Whittingham returns for an 18th year in Salt Lake City. This is another balanced group with talent on both sides of the ball, and Utah figures to give the Pac-12 all it can handle once more.
Florida had a miserable 2021, going 6-7 just two years removed from an 11-win season. First-year coach Billy Napier steps in with the hopes of getting the Gators back in the SEC title picture, and the schedule is extremely manageable. But the Utes are one of the toughest opponents they’ll see other than an Oct. 29 date with Georgia in Jacksonville, and we don’t think they’ve done enough this offseason to have the upper-hand.
The Pick: Utah -2
Notre Dame at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.
The national spotlight shines brightly on Columbus for Week 1, with Notre Dame heading to the Horseshoe and the Buckeyes coming off a season in which they missed out on the CFP for the first time since 2018.
The Irish are coming off their fifth consecutive 10-win season and begin a new year without Brian Kelly for the first time since 2009, as Marcus Freeman steps up as the new head man in South Bend. They’ll send a first-year quarterback out in the toughest of environments for this game, but the offensive line and skill positions are promising.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is back and joins an electric group of offensive talent in Columbus. The defense had its issues in 2021 and Notre Dame isn’t a pushover. But the Buckeyes should come out with 100% intensity after they were humbled by Oregon in a marquee nonconference matchup a year ago. This is just an extremely tough spot for a first-year quarterback and new head coach with the Irish.
The Pick: Ohio State -15.5
Sunday, Sep. 4
Florida State at LSU, 7:30 p.m.
There’s only one Sunday game on the Labor Day weekend slate, but it’s a prominent one with two storied programs looking to return to the top.
LSU hasn’t been able to regroup from a 15-0 national championship season in 2019, going just 11-12 the past two seasons. We’ll see if Brian Kelly is the right man for the job after fleeing South Bend for the big bucks and bright lights of Death Valley. But the pressure will be enormous from the second he steps on the sideline, and it could take time with just six returning starters.
The Seminoles have fared even worse lately, with four consecutive losing seasons and no bowl wins since 2017. Coach Mike Norvell is back for Year 3, as is quarterback Jordan Travis – the redshirt junior should be one of the top in the ACC this season and there’s skill to work with on offense. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them pull off the upset in Baton Rouge.
The Pick: Florida State +3
Monday, Sep. 5
Clemson at Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.
One year after Clemson opened with a 10-3 loss to the eventual-champion Bulldogs in Charlotte, the Tigers take on a more manageable opponent from the state of Georgia.
The Yellowjackets are just 9-25 under coach Geoff Collins, who enters his fourth season hoping to finally right the ship for a once-proud program. However, he only returns four starters and doesn’t appear to have much to work with on either side of the ball. The defense has been awful in recent years and has its hands full right away with the Tigers in Week 1.
Clemson looks to regroup after seeing its streak of six consecutive ACC titles come to an end in 2021. Dabo Swinney is hoping quarterback DJ Uiagalelei can make big improvements after the much-hyped Heisman candidate failed to deliver in big spots throughout the season. But the strength here is the defense, one of the scariest in the nation. And while a 10-3 season usually isn’t considered humbling, it will be for a group that expects a CFP appearance every season given the conference schedule.
The Pick: Clemson -21