College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 1: Ohio State, Georgia heavy early game favorites

Finally, the first full week of college football is here, as the schedule changes from Week 0 and its showing of action to Week 1 and a full menu of tasty contests. For action-hungry sports fans, this Saturday’s slate may be reason to cancel all other obligations for the sake of enjoying the games on a multi-TV setup.

Really, though, Week 1 is more than just what happens on Saturday, as the action kicks off on Thursday and doesn’t stop until Georgia Tech hosts Clemson on Monday night. With a renewal of the Backyard Brawl rivalry between Pittsburgh and West Virginia among the contests scheduled for Thursday, we’re in for a five-day straight series of power conference action.

For many fans, it’s time to start taking the betting front seriously. But even for those who have no interest in betting, point spreads provide a good perspective on what is expected to happen.

Caesars Sportsbook has posted odds for Week 1 action, so we’ve decided to highlight the spreads for the week’s biggest games to see how things are shaping up for what should be a glorious week of college football.

Odds through Caesars Sportsbook

West Virginia at No. 17 Pittsburgh (-7), Thursday: Backyard Brawl will be revamped for the first time since 2011, when West Virginia makes the 75-mile trip to Pittsburgh for a bitter regional rivalry that should provide a captivating start to the Week 1 festivities. West Virginia won the last three meetings in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but the Panthers have a 61-40 series lead and are the defending ACC champions. Despite losing star quarterback Kenny Pickett and Bilentnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison at wide receiver, Pitt should once again be among the best in the ACC. West Virginia is looking to finally break through after fourth-year coach Neal Brown, and this will be our first look at former USC and Georgia transfer quarterback JT Daniels in a Mountaineers jersey. Pitt’s viciousness up front on both sides of the ball should give him a great chance to cover this gap.

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No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State (-17): Welcome to the ranks of head coaches, Marcus Freeman. For his first assignment, he must face an offense that could be the best in college football. With the trio of quarterback CJ Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Buckeyes have three Heisman Trophy contenders. The Fighting Irish are coming off five straight 10-win seasons, but this is a tough way to start a new era as Freeman steps down as defensive coordinator to replace Brian Kelly. You can’t rule out the possibility of a back cover with such a big line, but Ohio State can score enough to cover it.

No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 3 Georgia (-17.5), Atlanta: Last season, Dan Lanning was coordinating an all-time great Georgia defense as the Bulldogs clinched their first national title since 1980. Now, he’s coaching against the Bulldogs while taking over an Oregon program that still has a lot of talent. talent of the Mario Cristóbal Era. Georgia lost 15 NFL Draft picks, including a bevy of riches on defense, but seventh-year coach Kirby Smart has drafted so well that Georgia is a heavy favorite for this game anyway. With Auburn’s transfer of Bo Nix at quarterback and enough front-line talent to contend for the Pac-12 title, the Ducks should be able to hold this one closer than this line suggests.

No. 23 Cincinnati vs. No. 19 Arkansas (-6): Only Georgia and LSU had more players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft than Cincinnati, which parted ways with nine draft picks from last season’s College Football Playoffs team. Despite the attrition, the Bearcats can immediately reassert themselves on the national stage with a road win over an SEC West foe. The Razorbacks had their best season in a decade last year, going 9-4 with a ranking of No. 21 in the AP Top 25. But if they’re going to match or exceed that win total in 2022, this could be a must-win. game as Arkansas faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Although you may not recognize a lot of names from this Cincinnati team, the Bearcats should be able to gain yards on the ground behind a veteran offensive line and keep this tight in the fourth quarter.

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No. 7 Utah (-2.5) at Florida: When Urban Meyer left Utah for Florida after the 2004 season, Kyle Whittingham took over as head coach of the Utes and never left. Florida is now on its fifth coach in the same term that Billy Napier takes over after a successful four-year run at Louisiana. Coming off a Rose Bowl appearance, Utah can make a statement about the legitimacy of its CFP hopes with a win here. But the Gators will have significant home-field advantage and enough talent to prove that last season’s 6-7 record under former coach Dan Mullen was just a fluke. In the end, it’s hard to trust Florida’s defensive front enough to stop what should be a ferocious running game from Utah.

the best of the rest

Central Michigan at No. 12 Oklahoma State (-21), Thursday
Penn State (-3.5) at Purdue, Thursday
Western Michigan at No. 15 Michigan State (-20), Friday
Colorado State at No. 8 Michigan (-27)
No. 13 State of North Carolina (-11) in East Carolina
No. 24 Houston (-4) at UTSA
UTEP at No. 9 Oklahoma (-31.5)
Troy at No. 21 Ole Miss (-22)
No. 25 BYU (-12) at USF
Rice at No. 14 USC (-34.5)
Utah State at No. 1 Alabama (-40)
State of Florida vs. LSU (-3), Sunday
No. 4 Clemson (-21) at Georgia Tech, Monday

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