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College football Week 1 picks, predictions against the spread

We love college football, and we love gambling. Here’s our staff’s favorite plays on the board this week.

Oregon Spring Game Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

College football isn’t just one of the best sports to watch on a Saturday afternoon, it’s also one of the best to find ways to make plenty of cash as a sharp sports bettor. Each week we’ll find the best value for NCAA football games against the spread, total, and on the moneyline so you can make plenty of cash. No touts, no fees, and just the best numbers we can find.

Here are our best picks on the board to get all the dollars in Week 1 of FBS football. All lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

Collin Sherwin: 2022 Record 1-2

Utah -3 at Florida

Billy Napier was a terrific hire by the Florida Gators, if they stay out of his way. But giving him enough time to build the program in his image, and he just didn’t inherit the kind of talent he needs to succeed.

Utah isn’t your typical Pac-12 team in that they can actually run the ball in the 4th quarter. Cam Rising is really good, but it’s the balance they have in offense, as well as plenty of returners from last year’s Pac-12 champions.

Temple +9.5 at Duke

In a battle of bad teams, one returns more players from 2021. Owls D’Wan Mathis is a huge talent, and with two new coaches in a complete rebuild mode, we’ll take the points on the road.

South Florida vs. BYU Over 58

The Bulls bring in the starting quarterback from last year’s Big 12 champion Baylor Bears in Gerry Bohanon. And the Bulls should be better offensively, but there’s not a lot of upgrade in the defense.

Meanwhile BYU returns a truly potent offense that can compete with anyone in America. Jaren Hall is back, and so are 17 of 22 starters from last year. The Cougars bring back the second-most players of anyone in college football, and

Nick Simon: 2022 Record 0-0

Temple +9.5 vs. Duke

Temple and Duke facing each other to open the season on a Friday night is a real Sickos Game for Week 1. Both teams are breaking in new coaching staffs after horrendous 3-9 seasons a year ago with Stan Drayton making his debut for Temple while Mike Elko roams the sidelines at Duke. Temple, in particular, is starting fresh after dumping former head coach Rod Carey last November following allegations of abuse. For that reason, their players may be starting the season in a more positive move and have former Georgia quarterback D’Wan Mathis once again starting. I’ll take the Owls to cover in Durham, NC, here.

Boise State ML (+120) vs. Oregon State

It’s surprising to see Boise State as a road underdog against Oregon State here. Both teams are almost identical in returning production heading into the season and while the Beavers have a second-year starter in Chance Nolan back under center, the Broncos will have Hank Backmeier back for his fourth season as the starter for Boise. I trust that the Broncos will get back to national relevance this season and it starts with a victory in Corvallis, OR, on Saturday.

Georgia Tech +22 (-110) vs. Clemson

Most college football pundits have left Geoff Collins for dead this offseason and have chalked this Labor Day night matchup as an automatic blowout. Lest we forget that the Yellow Jackets hung tough with the Tigers last season, falling 14-8 on the road. The most important returnee for Tech is quarterback Jeff Sims, who has been an effective dual-threat QB in his two years as the starter in Atlanta. He’ll have to face a vicious Clemson defensive line but with the Tigers still dealing with quarterback questions of their own, I’ll say GT puts up juuussstt enough points to cover.

Grace McDermott: 2022 Record 1-2

Notre Dame +17 (-110) vs. Ohio State

It’s a dangerous game to bet your own team against the spread with the chance to be doubly heartbroken (losing both the game and money), but I really do believe that the Irish are not going to lose by 17 points, bar a last-minute pick six or something of the sort. This feels like a harsh spread made by a world that insists that Notre Dame is overrated every year, but the Irish are 10-3 against the spread in their last 13 regular season games against ranked teams. This Buckeyes team is very, very good, but I don’t think they’re 17-point-spread against a top-ten team good.

Appalachian State +1 (-105) vs. North Carolina

I am obsessed with this one-point spread and firmly believe that the Mountaineers are going to be able to pull off this home win against a Tar Heels team that didn’t exactly impress against a severely depleted Florida A&M in Week 0. With QB Chase Brice returning after setting App State’s single-season record for passing yards in 2021, I don’t think the UNC defense is going to be able to shut him down.

Utah-Florida over 51 (-110)

I think this is going to be a tight game, but the strengths of both teams lies in their offensive power. Billy Napier is ready to hit the ground running (literally) in the Swamp, and Utah QB Cameron Rising should be ready to surpass his 20-touchdown 2021 season. I’m predicting a 31-27 finish for the Gators, but I’m much more confident in the over than in the winner.

Chinmay Vaidya: 2022 Record 2-1

Notre Dame +17 (-110) vs. Ohio State

In the CFP era, there’s always an unexpected games Ohio State gets stuck in. Virginia Tech in 2014. Northwestern and Indiana in 2015. Penn State in 2016. Iowa in 2017. Purdue in 2018. Northwestern again in 2020. Oregon, and to some extent Michigan, in 2021. Notre Dame is highly overrated at No. 5 in the polls, but that’s par for the course every season. I expect the Irish to keep things tight and frustrate Ohio State, to the point where they potentially pull off a shocking win. They are not 17 points worse than the Buckeyes.

Oregon-Georgia under 52.5 (-110)

Dan Lanning gets to go up against the defensive system he helped build and he’s going to find out what that’s like when you don’t have the same level of talent to counter. I expect Georgia to win this game convincingly and keep Oregon’s offense largely in check. A 28-10 or 31-13 scoreline seems about right for this one, which goes way under the current total at 52.5.

Florida State ML (+135) vs. LSU

The Seminoles got comfortable with a Week 0 game and even though they’re technically the road team here, this is a neutral site game. LSU is prone to upsets early in the season, including last year’s shocker to UCLA. Brian Kelly’s team has talent but Florida State is the more prepared team. Take the Seminoles to win outright.

Teddy Ricketson: 2022 Record 2-1

South Carolina ML vs. Georgia State (-460)

Do I care that the Gamecocks are heavily favored? Nope! I am going straight homer with this pick because I am all-in on Beamer Ball adding Spencer Rattler under center. South Carolina is going out to make a statement win and to start off year 2 of the Shane Beamer era. They do so against Shawn Elliott, who was the interim coach after Steve Spurrier retired mid-season. Much respect to ya, Shawn, but the Gamecocks roll in this one under the lights at Williams Brice.

Army vs. Coastal Carolina -2 (-110)

Sure, Army will run their 11-person option the whole game, but this is Grayson McCall’s time to shine for mullets everywhere. He threw for 27 touchdowns with only three interceptions last season. Braydon Bennett and Reese White combined for 1,151 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and look to improve on that mark with Shermari Jones no longer on the team. Army will control the game clock, but the Chanticleers easily cover the two-point spread.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas -6.5 (-115)

No Treylon Burks, no problem. KJ Jefferson is back for his redshirt junior season and has sophomore running back Raheim Sanders by his side. In addition to Warren Thompson, the Razorbacks added transfers Matt Landers from Toledo/Georgia and Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma. The Bearcats are going to take a huge step back without Desmond Ridder and Alec Pierce leading the way and I think Arkansas covers easily in Week 1.

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