College Football Picks, Schedule: Anti-Spread Predictions, Odds For Key Week 1 Games On Thursday

Week 0 was the warm-up for the upcoming 2022 college football season, but for many, Week 1 means the true start of the marathon. From Thursday through Labor Day, we’ll have five intense days of college football, wall-to-wall (or screen-to-screen) action that will have a little something for everyone.

Setting things off is the return of a top 10 rivalry in college football: the backyard brawl between West Virginia and No. 17 Pitt. The old Big East rivals haven’t played since 2011, a 21-20 win for the Mountaineers in Morgantown, West Virginia, but the passage of time hasn’t lowered the stakes.

However, the kickoff frenzy to start Thursday’s action doesn’t end in Steel City. No. 12 Oklahoma State hosts Central Michigan in the first meeting between the programs since a miraculous, if not controversial, Chippewas 30-27 victory in Stillwater, Okla., in 2016. Tennessee, meanwhile, opens its season against foe from MAC, Ball State, with the Volunteers carrying high hopes from the off-season through the fall. Then, a Big Ten cross-divisional game between Penn State and Purdue keeps the entertainment going with the Nittany Lions hoping to start 2022 on the right foot after back-to-back disappointing seasons.

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the night for college football coverage from kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games on Thursday of week 1.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All Eastern Times

West Virginia vs. No. 17 Pittsburgh

featured game | Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

19:00 | ESPN, fuboTV (Free Trial) — It’s not called Backyard Shootout, it’s called Backyard Brawl. The fabric of this rivalry is made of rock fights; every yard is gained and defenses rule the day. While two former USC quarterbacks — JT Daniels for WVU, Kedon Slovis for Pitt — will dominate the conversation, both teams are stronger on the defensive side of the ball. There’s also the matter of the evolution of Pitt’s offense through the loss of Kenny Pickett, Jordan Addison and OC Mark Whipple, and the implementation of a new offense. The signs point to a team that will run the ball a little more than it did in 2021, rely on its advantage at the line of scrimmage and, for our purposes, play a style that sets up well for the bass. Choice: Under 51 –Chip Patterson

Central Michigan vs. No. 12 Oklahoma State

19:00 | FS1, fuboTV (Free Trial) — There was a time when Oklahoma State was the king of non-conference shootouts, but it’s a new day in Stillwater. The Cowboys allowed just 18.1 points per game in 2021 and limited opponents to just 2.71 yards per carry. There’s turnover on defense, but the Cowboys should still be able to bottle up the Chippewas and star running back Lew Nichols. Expect a slow, low-scoring game. Choice: Less than 59.5 — Shehan Jeyaraja

Ball State vs. Tennessee

19:00 | SEC Network, fuboTV (Free Trial) — Ball State’s last seven game point total against Power Five opposition failed to reach 68 points. In fact, the average point total over the Cardinals’ last 10 games of that variety is just 50.9. Tennessee’s offense is explosive, yes, but the Volunteers have a big game in Pitt coming up in Week 2 and they can write off the Dogs relatively early if they can. The Vols are certainly suspect defensively, but they allowed only six points against MAC foe Bowling Green in last year’s opener. Choice: Under 68 –David Cobb

Penn State vs. Purdue

featured game | Purdue Boilermakers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

20:00 | Fox, fuboTV (Free Trial) — I’ve painted myself in a corner here. I spent the offseason talking about Penn State being the Big Ten’s most underrated program based on the past two seasons, while also saying that Purdue was overrated after underperforming last season. Well, it looks like my two opinions will collide on Thursday night, and I don’t see any reason to retract them just yet. I have legitimate concerns about Purdue’s ability to quickly replace key parts it lost from last year’s team, and Penn State should have a clear talent advantage. There’s a reason the Nittany Lions are the favorites on the road after a lackluster season. Don’t think about it too much. Pick: Penn State -3.5 –Tom Fornelli

Which college football picks can you confidently make in Week 1 and which heavy favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has generated nearly $3,600 in profits over the last six seasons and find out.

Leave a Comment