The time has come folks. It's finally here. No more off-season, no more preseason magazines, no more projections, no more previews, no more talk. No, this weekend we have a real live slate chock-full of college football games. Sure, week 0 was a nice appetizer but it didn't quite fill me up.
College football being back means the return of my weekly betting column where I dive into my favorite plays each week. For the past six years, I have written this column and we’ve finished with a profit in each of those six seasons. However, this year I am hungry for more. Last year was alright finishing +5.51 units, but I know we can do better. I know there's more profit out there to be had so this off-season I have been in the lab studying up to try and make sure this is our best year yet. Without further ado, let's get into week one.
All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook, the official odds provider of B5Q.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
TCU (-10.5) @ Colorado (Friday kickoff)
If you read my preseason conference futures bets you know that I am pretty high on the TCU Horned Frogs in 2022. I love what they did in the off-season by bringing in Sonny Dykes as Head Coach, and I love Dykes’ hire of defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie formerly of Tulsa. If you pay attention to AAC football you know Gillespie has had some great units at Tulsa and should be able to do even more with the athletes TCU has.
On the other sideline, I don’t love what Colorado did in the off-season. 22 players hit the portal for Colorado and Head Coach Karl Dorrell replaced almost all of his offensive assistants after ranking 129th in total offense a season ago. I understand the logic, you had a bad offense last season so let's find better coaches, but I would argue Mike Sanford Jr being your new offensive coordinator is a downgrade. Everywhere he has gone the offense has taken a downturn. Even PJ Fleck decided to move on from the guy after two years at Minnesota.
To me, I think these programs are headed in opposite directions. TCU feels like they have some fresh air in the program after 21 years under Gary Patterson, and I think that will get the roster to buy back in after looking like they had quit a season ago. Colorado was horrendous a season ago and it only feels like they got worse in the off-season. I’d be shocked if the Buffs win more than two games all year. Due to that, I think 10.5 is too small of a spread. I make TCU a 15.5-point favorite, so I see good value on the Frogs in this spot.
Georgia State (+13.5) @ South Carolina
There’s serious attention on South Carolina for the first time in ages. The Gamecocks are coming off a winning season and they enter 2022 with Spencer Rattler now under center. Optimism is high, and the season gets on them quick with two road trips to Arkansas and a contest with Georgia in weeks two and three. One might think South Carolina could be looking ahead, but Georgia State is NOT a team you want to overlook.
Last year, Georgia State finished the year 8-5 but they really hit their stride in Mid October when quarterback Darren Grainger took over full time. Under Grainger, the Panthers went 7-1 to finish the regular season. This year, Grainger is back, along with a dynamic duo at running back in Tucker Gregg and Jamysest Williams. Both players ran for over 850 yards and nine scores each. Additionally, four starters return on the line after the offense finished 8th in the nation in rushing a season ago.
South Carolina also returns their entire offensive line, but that line opened very little in the run game and gave up 31 sacks to opposing defenses a season ago. Rattler is much more mobile, but that line was still a major problem last year and his feet can only bail them out of so much. Additionally, they’ll be going up against a defensive front from Georgia State that set a school record for sacks in a season last year and returns much of their production.
Traveling to SEC stadiums is always a disadvantage for teams, especially from the group of five, but this Georgia State team is very battle-tested. They return 10 super seniors who are back for their extra COVID year so they’ve played plenty of football. In 2021 Georgia State traveled to Auburn and North Carolina, and in 2019 they went to Knoxville and won. I love this spot for them and might even put a little sprinkle on an upset.
Utah (-2) @ Florida
Since May I have been waiting for this number to creep back toward Utah’s favor, but it now seems to be doing the opposite. Why? Because people are realizing that this Utes team should be a damn good football team in 2022. They should be so good that oddsmakers have a PAC-12 team traveling TO GAINESVILLE and they are still slight favorites. That seems crazy, but honestly, I don’t think it is. In fact, I show quite a bit of value for Utah here. On a neutral field, I would have Utah as almost a two-touchdown favorite.
Utah brings back a tremendous amount of talent starting with quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas. The skill positions are great, but Utah is always known for their play in the trenches and they have plenty of talent on both sides. Additionally, they return some great players in the secondary.
Florida on the other hand returns very little, especially on offense. Returning players scored just 13 of the team's 53 touchdowns a season ago. Yes, they have Anthony Richardson at quarterback, but is he really as great as we're making him out to be? As a runner, no doubt, but can he be that same guy consistently as the lone quarterback and develop as a passer? I’m not sure. Having to face Utah to start, while also working in a new offense, is tough.
I think Utah is the more talented team, the more experienced team, the better-coached team, and the more physical team. If they can handle the weather in the swamp (88 degrees, 75% humidity) this team should be able to pull away and leave Florida with a win.
West Virginia @ Pitt Under 54: I bet this at 54, but this is now down to 51. Still shows some value. Both teams working on new offenses and Pitt has said they’ll be back to focusing on a heavy ground attack.
Troy (+22.5) @ Ole Miss: Troy was a top 25 defense a season ago and they return most of their key pieces. Additionally, Troy ranked 2nd in sack rate a season ago. Ole Miss ranked 98th in sack rate allowed and lost a lot of key pieces from last year including quarterback Matt Corrall.
Oregon (+17) @ Georgia: I haven’t officially played this one yet, but I make this Georgia +10 so some value is there.
Houston (-4) @ UTSA: This feels like a very trappy game but my numbers make this Houston -19 so it might be too much value to pass up, especially as the spread creeps lower and lower. I doubt it gets much lower than 4 but I am waiting to see where this line moves.
All odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.