I know we are months away from the start of the college football season, but that doesn’t mean Vegas is sitting around doing nothing — the Week One lines are out. Opening weekend usually brings us a few matchups that set the tone for the rest of the season, and this year is no different.
Based on the lines put out by Caesars Sportsbook App, the SEC will play a prominent betting role on opening weekend, but other Power Five matchups have some interesting numbers as well. So, let’s take a look at what Vegas is thinking for some of these games.
Nebraska (-10.5) vs. Northwestern
It’s one of the first games of the college football season, so just sit back and see whether Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers come out of the gates on fire. If not, the pitchforks could come out for Frost before Week Two.
West Virginia (+7.5) vs. Pittsburgh
The Backyard Brawl is the opener for both of these teams, and I love it. Give me this type of rivalry to open the college football season every year. Have to wonder how this Pitt team will look without Kenny Pickett throwing darts all over the field. The Mountaineers and head coach Neal Brown will look to start off 2022 with a bang, and Georgia transfer JT Daniels could gets reps at QB.
Cincinnati (+7.5) vs. Arkansas
Good luck to the Bearcats in this one, especially now that QB Desmond Ridder has left for the draft. This won’t be the same Cincinnati team without him, and they are walking into a hornets nest in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks return quarterback K.J. Jefferson and a hard hitting linebacker crew. Expect Sam Pittman and the Hogs to make a statement in the 2022 season opener.
Utah vs. Florida (Pick’em at -110)
If you are extremely confident in Utah, then lay down some money right now. But you might as well hold off on this one until we see what Florida does in the transfer portal, which could drastically change this team. We’ll see what the Utes have in store for their trip to Gainesville.
I would bet Urban Meyer makes an appearance at the game. He has the time.
Oregon (+15) vs. Georgia
The defending national champions open the season with an interesting matchup against the Oregon Ducks. Former Auburn QB Bo Nix recently transferred to Eugene, which means he could face the Dawgs once again.
Does it really matter what the Oregon offense looks like right now? Not really, according to Vegas. The return of Stetson Bennett and Brock Bowers on offense for the Dawgs, along with other playmakers on both sides of the ball, should set the tone for Georgia in 2022. But don’t forget that former Georgia DC Dan Lanning is now the head coach at Oregon, so I imagine he’ll have a stellar defensive plan for the Dawgs.
Memphis (+10) vs. Mississippi State
This has revenge game written all over it. The Bulldogs took a tough loss to the Memphis Tigers in 2021, so I’d put a lot of money on Mike Leach running up the score in Starkville with his quarterback Will Rogers slinging it around the field. It feels like a beatdown is brewing, but we’re still months away. Take the Bulldogs right now though.
Notre Dame (+13.5) vs. Ohio State
Now this game in Columbus should be absolutely “LIT,” as the young ones say. I want all the smoke from this one. Marcus Freeman will lead the Fighting Irish into a hostile environment against his alma mater. Both teams should be ranked in the top 10, and the Buckeyes have talented QB C.J. Stroud leading the way. This could end up being the best non-conference game of the season, but Vegas is currently giving the Buckeyes a whole lot of love. This will be an incredible test for both teams to start the year.
Florida State (+3.5) vs. LSU
If you’re looking for one of the craziest environments to be at for the opening weekend of college football, the Superdome in New Orleans might be the spot. Now I am not saying that Florida State and LSU are going to light the world on fire in 2022, but from an atmosphere standpoint, this matchup should bring the noise. LSU is working to establish an identity right out of the gates, and the Seminoles really don’t want to start the 2022 season on the wrong foot. It’s already gotten a little wacky in Tallahassee, so FSU head coach Mike Norvell really needs to keep this game close. Either way, Brian Kelly’s first game as an LSU Tiger takes place in New Orleans, so it should be entertaining.
Clemson (-21.5) vs. Georgia Tech
Good luck to Georgia Tech. The 2022 season feels like a redemption tour for Dabo Swinney after the debacle last year. This team should be much better on offense, and I don’t think the Yellow Jackets are ready for the smoke. But that’s why we play the game, so Geoff Collins should start preparing today for this matchup in Atlanta.
There it is, all of the early lines that have been released for the 2022 season openers so far. The college football season can’t get here soon enough.