2022 College Football Week 1 Picks

by Aaron Ogdahl
2022 College Football Picks

The 2022 College Football season officially kicks off this weekend and I am here to bring you my Week 1 Picks!

We have a few top 25 ranked teams facing off to begin the year, but I am only focused on the Georgia (3) / Oregon (11) game. Other matchups include Ohio State (2) vs Notre Dame (5) and Arkansas (19) vs Cincinnati (23).

The number one team in the nation, Alabama, is 41.5-point favorites over Utah State to start the season. Clemson (4) plays on Monday Night on the road against Georgia Tech.

Make sure you read all of my Power Five Conference previews and betting guide!

2022 College Football Week 1 Picks

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Oregon (11) @ Georgia (3)

Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs are the reigning national champions and will open their 2022 campaign at the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game. After defeating Lord Saban and bringing the championship back to Athens, the Bulldogs will welcome the Oregon Ducks to Georgia in what should be a matchup of marquee programs.

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The public loves Georgia. Recency bias looms large in the minds of bettors as people see Georgia as the 2021 team with the best defense to pretty much step foot in the college football arena. This is where we as bettors need to capitalize because Joe Public is failing to recognize how much Georgia has lost. They rank 122nd out of 130 college football teams in returning defensive production. Losing 5 starters to the first round of the draft is going to be incredibly hard to replace, even for the 5-star players coming in to fill those shoes.

Not to mention, their defensive coordinator and mastermind behind that once-in-a-century defense is also gone. Dan Lanning has been named the head coach of the…Oregon Ducks!

If there is one person who knows where holes exist in the D, it’s the person calling all the plays last season.

Dan Lanning replaces Mario Cristobal. Cristobal was decent overall, an outstanding offensive line coach, but a QB killer. I think the QB play for the Ducks comes back in a big way as former Auburn QB Bo Nix has transferred in and will run a Kenny Dillingham offense whom he has familiarity with.

Additionally, they’ll bring in RB Bucky Irving from Minnesota as a transfer, an electric back in space. Now, put the athletic Ducks skill positions behind the best offensive line in the nation with a Head Coach who knows where the Georgia holes are, and you have a recipe for an upset.

Now, that being said, familiarity works both ways. Kirby Smart and his coaches will know how to beat the newly installed defense the Ducks will run as well.

Stetson Bennett will once again man the Georgia offense after the Georgia faithful clamored for JT Daniels (now at West Virginia). After losing Zamir White and James Cook (Dalvin’s brother), he’ll rely on Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton at RB and find ways to get the ball to a speedy group of receivers in Ladd McConkey, AD Mitchell, and Kearis Jackson. The passing game is nothing special by SEC standards, however, it will get a boost from one of the top tight ends in college football, Brock Bowers. Behind an offensive line that returns three of five starters, Bennett and Todd Monken should be able to put points on the board against almost any team.

This powerful offense will attempt to run over Dan Lanning’s new defense, who should be better, even with Kayvon Thibodeaux gone. Lanning will have his work cut out for him, however, as the Ducks D gave up 27 points a game last season. The number will drop, but by how much?

Market Analysis: The consensus lines have mainly hovered between 17 and 18 points. Money initially came in on Georgia, and this now has stabilized. For the last push before Saturday, when most novice bettors will log bets, I anticipate the money to come in on Georgia.

The more interesting and meaningful line movement has actually been on the total. The line opened up at 50.5 and has since moved all the way to 53, indicating sharps are on the over.

The Play: The total over value is unfortunately gone. I’ll be passing there, but it’s not a bad idea to align yourselves with sharp money on the over. I’ll be playing the spread. Oregon +18 is the number I grabbed (and I like it down to +17). It’s too many points for programs that, even being thousands of miles apart, have a lot of inside familiarities. Not only this, Oregon has an athletic and older QB at the helm with an incredible offensive line. Georgia’s defense is going to be good, but they’re not going to be legendarily good. They’re mortal and I’ll also be playing the big moneyline at +592.

The Pick: Oregon +18 - Sprinkle the Oregon ML

TCU @ Colorado

Market Analysis: Incredible steam has taken place here and for good reason. The number opened at -7.5 to the Horned Frogs and is now at -13.5. Big bettors and sharps found a liability in a Vegas Line and it was on the Horned Frogs.

Here’s why...Colorado is bad. They’ve lost some of their better players to the transfer portal including their best running back. Fortunately, they’ve brought in JT Shrout from Tennessee at QB in 2021 to help Brendon Lewis and R.J. Sneed from Baylor at WR. Unfortunately, they’ll have Mike Sanford as the new OC in Boulder. The team only averaged 18 points a game last season, and Sanford showed moments of confusion, odd persistence to run the ball, and no creativity. The Buffaloes are in for a long season and it starts against a team returning the most offensive and defensive production in the Big 12.

The Gary Patterson Era is over. For TCU fans, this could lead to a pessimistic outlook for 2022. However, I tend to think the opposite for the Horned Frogs. Newcomer Sonny Dykes will take his pass-heavy Air Raid scheme to the Big 12 and he’ll have the talent to put up points.

At 5-7 last year, the Horned Frogs weren’t good. But I’m a believer in QB Max Duggan. He can sling it, and when you put him in the Air Raid offense, his numbers are going to skyrocket along with his confidence.

The defense was the primary culprit to TCU’s woes primarily last year. To remedy this, Dykes hit the transfer portal to plug holes in a defense that averaged almost 35 points a game to opponents. He also took Joseph Gillespie from Tulsa as a D Coordinator, who had quite a bit of success, albeit an inferior conference he coached against.

I expect TCU to have a major turnaround this season. Max Duggan is going to be a DFS star. TCU is going to average 35 points a game. The defense is probably not going to be terrific, but with so much experience coming back and a new DC, they’re going to be average, at minimum. This team is laying in the weeds ready to pounce this season

The Pick: TCU -8

Note: The number continues to skyrocket. I still like it below 14, but the vast majority of the value is gone. One way to bet this game would be to live bet it after an initial Colorado score.

Another Note: Follow me on Twitter @OgdahlAnalytics or through the action network (Ogdahl_Analytics) to see when I bet each game to maximize your closing line value.

Western Michigan @ Michigan State (15)

The game has steamed towards Michigan St -22.5 after opening at -18.5. Western Michigan lost their two most dynamic offensive weapons from last year in Kaleb Eleby and Skyy Moore. Defensively, they’ll return a strong core of linebackers which should anchor their defense, enough for MAC opponents

Sparty will have to replace Kenneth Walker III and his 1600 rushing yards if they want to win 11 again. They’ll once again try their luck at the RB position in the transfer portal as they’re bringing in Jarek Broussard from Colorado and Jalen Berger from Wisconsin. Mel Tucker has his work cut out for him if he wants to replicate that 11-2 record from last year, resulting in a win against Pitt in the Peach Bowl and finishing #9 in the final polls.

On defense, they return stability but question marks still reside in the porous secondary. They’ve brought in Ameer Speed from Georgia and return all 5 starters from last year in the secondary which indicates we should see improvement there. Tucker has brought in Khris Bogle from the Gators to add edge pressure for their defensive line as well. Two athletic transfers in addition to two more athletic transfers from UNLV and Mississippi St should have the Michigan State defense ready.

The strength of Michigan State’s defense and the rebuilding the Broncos will need to do offensively creates a mismatch in Saturday’s contest. Western Michigan will struggle to put up points and if Michigan St can get to 35 or more, they’ll cover the spread.

The Pick: I grabbed Michigan St -18.5 before the steam move because of the Broncos’ loss in offensive talent a couple of weeks ago. The line sits at -22.5 which has lost virtually all value. If Western Kentucky can get the first score, the line should become manageable on a live bet.

North Carolina @ Appalachian State

North Carolina and App State play in their "Game of the Year."

Drake Maye, a RS freshman, will look to replace Sam Howell who has since departed to the NFL. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, will be starting Chase Brice, who is now in his 6th year at QB and started his career with the Clemson Tigers. He’s got talent.

The offense for North Carolina didn’t disappoint last year. They averaged 35 a game, largely because of the QB play of Howell. The offense isn’t going to average 35 a game this year and what’s worse is that they’ll be trotting out a defense that surrendered 32 ppg to opponents last season.

Boone, NC is going to be electric come Saturday and the Tar Heels are in rebuild mode. The line opened with North Carolina as -3.5 point favorites and this has since shot down to a pick ‘em.

The Pick: Appalachian State ML +104

Check out Tomlin's NFL Season-Long Prop Bet Picks!

Illinois @ Indiana

I’ll admit, this one is largely driven by the eye test of last week, but Illinois looked good. Yes, it was against Wyoming who got hammered by the transfer portal last year, but the QB play of transfer. Isaiah Williams, Brian Hightower, Tommy Devito, and Chase Brown actually looked electric in watching the game.

The market has agreed with what I saw. The line opened with Indiana at -5.5 and is now down to Indiana -2. The Hoosiers are going to have to search for answers and hope to find it in Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak, who actually has significant arm talent. But other than that, Indiana doesn’t have much to offer.

The Pick: Illinois +3.5. If you can’t find this line, play the ML instead of the 2 points.

Utah (7) @ Florida

This might be the best game of the Saturday slate. Utah opened up as slight favorites against Anthony Richardson and the Gators. The line has since moved to -3 to the Utes.

Remember, sharps move lines, not you.

Align yourself with Cameron Rising and the Utes who have a ton of talent returning and play an incredibly tough brand of football. This team is a legitimate CFB team and they’re getting overlooked early in the season, regardless if the Swamp may be the hardest place to play in the entire country.

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If you'd like to read more about each team, check out my SEC Preview and my Pac 12 Preview!

The Pick: Utah -2. I like it up to -3.5

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