Early Season College Football Lines Are Out - First Glance at the Best Bets
Incredibly, today, May 26th, 2022 marks exactly 100 days until the start of the first big college football Saturday of the season on Labor Day weekend.
Among the notable games that will take place over the holiday weekend include a trip from Georgia facing its former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks in Atlanta, Utah traveling to Notre Dame, and to cap off Night 1 of the season, Notre Dame facing Ohio State in the Horseshoe. Later in the weekend we get Florida State vs. LSU on Sunday night, and Clemson vs. Georgia Tech to wrap Labor Day weekend.
With that early loaded slate, our partners at DraftKings have officially dropped opening Week 1 lines, in addition to some lines for some big games late in the season as well.
Let's take a first crack at some betting picks for Week 1 and Week 2 - although to be clear, these are far, from official picks.
Utah (-1) at Florida: Saturday, September 3rd - Time - TBD
Utah comes into the 2022 season as the potential favorite in the Pac-12. They return quarterback, Cameron Rising, and running back, Tavion Thomas who were the key pieces of the Utah offense last year and will be the leaders for the Utes this past year. The Utah defense is always good as well, so I expect Coach Kyle Whittingham to just reload that side where needed.
The Gators start Billy Napier’s first season with a lot of question marks, especially at quarterback and on most of the defensive side of the ball. I expect Utah to be one of the best teams in the country this season, and I think that while this game starts out close, the Utes are going to pull away and win comfortably.
Oregon (+16.5) vs. Georgia (Atlanta): Saturday, September 3rd, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The reigning National Champions get their season started against their former Defensive Coordinator’s new team, Dan Lanning, in Atlanta. Georgia comes into the game needing to replace a historically great defense, after 15 total players were drafted into the NFL, including five first rounders on the defensive side of the ball.
Georgia does bring back one of their main leaders from last year, quarterback Stetson Bennett, and due to their great recruiting should stay in the hunt for the College Football Playoff last year. Oregon comes in with a new face at quarterback, Auburn transfer, Bo Nix, and bring back a defensive leader of theirs with linebacker, Noah Sewell. I do think Georgia is the better team and will get a boost from playing in Atlanta as well. However, right now, I think Oregon covers the spread and loses by something in the range of eight to ten points.
Notre Dame at Ohio State (-14.5): Saturday, September 3rd - 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
This game is another early battle of two blue blood programs. Ohio State is another program that will most likely be a top three team during the 2022 season, and Notre Dame is a little bit of a question mark just because this will be Marcus Freeman’s first regular season game as head coach, and he’s visiting his alma mater to start his official tenure off.
Ohio State might have the best offense in the country coming into this season with CJ Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba all headline and either of the three could be a Heisman contender. Ohio State’s defense should be better as well with the addition of Jim Knowles as defensive coordinator, who came from Oklahoma State. I like this line for Ohio State and think this game could get out of hand easily, so take Ohio State and the points, Notre Dame is up against too much in this game.
Alabama (-14) at Texas: Saturday, September 10th - 12 p.m. ET, FOX
This is the most Week 2 game, and arguably the most notable out of conference game the entire year. These two blue bloods haven’t played each other since the 2009 National Championship game and both programs have been very different since. Texas comes into the season hoping to have a better second year under Steve Sarkisian and hoping to make a statement right out of the gate. Alabama gets a first road test, as a most likely top three team, and a chance to make an early statement on a national stage.
The Texas offense is going to be very good this year with Bijan Robinson and Quinn Ewers leading the charge, but the defense is still a question mark, and a questionable defense going up against the Alabama offense is not the best way to start off. I expect the game to be close into the third quarter and then Alabama to pull away and end of covering as well, but not until the second half.
Miami (+7) at Texas A&M: Saturday, September 17th - Time TBD
The Aggies come into the 2022 season with a ton of hype behind them thanks to a legendary recruiting class, that’s also ruffled a few feathers in the conference too. Miami comes into the season with their hometown coach, Mario Cristobal, coming home and trying to re-establish “the U.”
The Hurricanes quarterback, Tyler Van Dyke, comes into the 2022 season as legitimately one of the best quarterbacks in the country, however Miami has question marks elsewhere like the offensive line. The Aggies are the top contender to Alabama in the SEC West, but still have some uncertainty surrounding them too like at quarterback. I think with the Aggies playing at home, they’ll cover spread, but this game will be close into the second half, before A&M pulls away.
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