College Football Week 1 Openers Include Notre Dame Vs. Ohio St.

Written By Brett Gibbons on May 17, 2022
college football odds

FanDuel Sportsbook released early college football odds late Monday afternoon for some of the season’s biggest games. The odds released range from early-season games like Utah vs. Florida and Oregon vs. Georgia to look-ahead lines on Auburn vs. Alabama and Michigan vs. Ohio State. With spring football in the rearview mirror, sportsbooks have posted college football openers.

The usual suspects are atop preseason college football futures, but how big of a favorite will they be in season openers?

College Football Week 1 Odds

To bet on the following games, click on the odds in the board below.

What The Early College Football Odds Tell Us

Right off the bat, the Pac-12 isn’t up to snuff in the eyes of oddsmakers in early-season matchups. Oregon is a steep underdog to Georgia (justified) and Utah is a surprising small underdog at Florida despite having a ton of cohesiveness and experience; although, bettors have started to reject that at some shops. While the Pac-12 narrative has been brewing for years, it’s really coming to light in these odds.

The marquee games this season are marquee in name only. Blockbuster matchups like Notre Dame at Ohio State, Alabama at Texas, and Oregon vs. Georgia have odds that steeply favor the National Championship contenders (two-plus touchdowns). Instead, oddsmakers are turning to Penn State at Auburn and Tennessee at Pitt for our entertaining and close ballgames.

There’s plenty of opportunity in the slate. Northwestern is a underdog in Ireland against Nebraska who went 3-9 last season. Both teams are making ridiculously-long trips and Northwestern– regardless of their 2021 finish– has the the superior coaching staff by far. Texas transfer Casey Thompson is a solid player, but didn’t give us any reason to believe he’s some world beater for the Huskers.

Also, Michigan State is just despite a long trip in Week 3 on the road against a bad Washington team with high turnover.

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College Football Week 1 Preview

West Virginia at Pitt ()

WVU and Pitt revive a defunct rivalry for the first time since 2011, dubbed the “Backyard Brawl” (first played in 1895). A pair of transfer quarterbacks and teammates– J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis– take the field in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Daniels, who now plays for WVU, is reunited with offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who recruited and coached him at USC.

The Panthers lost a ton this offseason: their star quarterback, star receiver, and offensive coordinator. While the Mountaineers bring back just 45% of production from the season before, their 6-7 finish and No. 78 rank in points per drive means turnover is necessary to move forward.

  • What I’m looking for: I think we may get a high total here and could be interested in the under with new OCs on both sides and quarterbacks with a history of underwhelming.

Utah at Florida ()

It’s a new era for Florida, who will be playing their first game under coach Billy Napier. The Gators saw a lot of turnover after a tumultuous 2021 season, but they also add solid pieces from Louisiana on the coaching staff. Utah is quite the opposite, returning 66% of their production from last year. The Utes secured their first Rose Bowl berth and finished the season with 10 wins.

The concern for Utah is the long trek to Gainesville coupled with likely hot and humid conditions in the early season. Florida is a rather surprising favorite, a line that could perhaps move away from them as kickoff draws closer.

  • What I’m looking for: The Utes are better and more experienced. Too many question marks with Florida, but a point and a half isn’t exciting. Nevertheless, it’s already a pick ’em at Caesars. Early money may agree with my rejection of Florida being a favorite here.

Notre Dame at Ohio State ()

This is the staple game of the weekend between two traditional powerhouses in Columbus. Notre Dame goes into their first season under former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and plenty of roster turnover (62% returning production is 82nd nationally). Most notably, they’ll be starting a new face at quarterback, be it Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne.

Ohio State goes into 2022 with a new defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State, who is an aggressive, blitz-happy play caller. He was reputable for exotic fronts and stunts, a potential serious disaster for Notre Dame’s inexperienced quarterback. Two touchdowns is a steep point spread, and there will likely be action on the Notre Dame front, but this may not be the nail-biter we hope.

  • What I’m looking for: Don’t undersell the importance of a clever, experienced, and aggressive DC against an inexperienced QB. Veteran QBs will be able to see what’s coming and dial up protections– in-game coaching comes secondary.

Related: 2022 Heisman Trophy odds

Oregon vs. Georgia ()

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning, formerly the defensive coordinator at Georgia, doesn’t have to wait long to make his homecoming. He leads the Ducks into Atlanta to face the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs to kick off their season. However, they’re equipped with a player comfortable to playing the SEC: Auburn transfer quarterback Bo Nix.

While Georgia watched 15 players depart for the NFL, they reload with a ton of defensive talent and potential top draft picks. Oregon turned over their full coaching staff after Mario Cristobal left for the Miami job, not a confidence-instilling trait early in the year. We can expect a more NFL-like over/under for this game given where each team stands defensively and without a true superstar QB on either side.

  • What I’m looking for: The total to get too low. A pair of defensive-oriented teams and Georgia’s likely-talented unit (despite a lot of roster turnover) will have the majority of people mashing the under. If it gets down around 45, that’s going to be an interesting over bet.
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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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