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College Football Week 1 Best Bets

The 2022 college football season is quickly approaching. Here are some matchups to look forward to in Week 1.

It has been a long spring and summer, but college football is finally less than a month away! Being within a month basically means that it’s football season again and therefore it’s time to look ahead to some Week 1 matchups and lines.

While we’re awaiting kickoff, let’s dig deep into the facts and figures and start filling out those betslips. Let’s start by placing some early wagers on these big Week 1 matchups. It should be a very entertaining opening slate that no one will want to miss.

It can’t hurt to get mentally prepared to bet the opening weekend nice and early and perhaps even place a few futures bets before the season begins. Here are some matchups to anticipate in Week 1 and where your money should go for each.

Pitt’s Offensive Losses Tested Against West Virginia

The Pittsburgh Panthers will host the West Virginia Mountaineers on Thursday, September 1. The Panthers are favored by seven points.

This opening matchup will serve as a barometer for the 2022 Pittsburgh season, as they have a very winnable game against West Virginia. The Panthers will have to bounce back from a couple major losses on offense, as QB Kenny Pickett was a first-round pick in the NFL Draft and WR Jordan Addison was the biggest name in the country to transfer this offseason after he left for the USC Trojans.

The Mountaineers, however, also lost their starting QB Jarret Doege to graduation. The team was mediocre a year ago and it seems like a tough task to improve drastically while adjusting to a new QB. Pitt should be able to cover a touchdown here, especially at home.

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Penn State Looks to Avenge Purdue Loss

This September 1 contest should turn out to be one of the most exciting opening week matchups. The Purdue Boilermakers, who are a three-point underdog, were better than the Penn State Nittany Lions a year ago but PSU returns several key players and should improve, while the Boilermakers lost some key players and may take a step back.

Penn State returns QB Sean Clifford and running backs Keyvone Lee and Devyn Ford, who have all played major roles in this offense in the past. This will be a big factor in a Week 1 test on the road.

Purdue lost arguably its best player in WR David Bell to the NFL and will work to find traction on offense against what should be a solid Nittany Lion defense. Penn State should open what they hope to be a College Football Playoff-caliber season with a statement win in this one.

No Respect for Western Michigan

The Western Michigan Broncos, who is an 18.5-point underdog, will try and get the better of instate rival Michigan State Spartans on Friday, September 2.

This one simply comes down to a spread that’s way too big for a nationally televised opening weekend game. Western Michigan’s only loss on offense was their top receiver Skyy Moore to the NFL Draft. They are returning their QB, RB and other WRs against what was a very exploitable Spartan defense a year ago.

Michigan State, on the other hand, lost RB Kenneth Walker III, who the entire offense centered around a year ago. They also lost starting WR Jalen Nailor, who accounted for about 700 yards and six TDs.

The Spartans also were not as good as their record suggested a year ago, as they were very lucky to win a handful of close games all year long. The gap was not as wide as it seemed between these two teams last year, and it might’ve have closed some more this year. 18.5 is too many points for Michigan State to cover here.

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TCU Returns Loaded Roster

The Texas Christian Horned Frogs, who are favored by eight points, face a depleted Colorado Buffaloes squad on Friday, September 2. TCU returns basically their entire offense, which is led by QB Max Duggan. He has legitimate impact player potential. Duggan will be rejoined by his RB duo from a year ago as well as all three starting WRs.

This offense should be able to pick up right where they left off last season with minimal hiccups. Colorado, on the other hand, lost starting RB Jarek Broussard to the transfer portal and had virtually no passing game to speak of from its returning starters last season.

The potential offensive production seems bleak for the Buffaloes, especially in Week 1. The Frogs should be able to cover eight points rather easily in its opening matchup.

Michigan Ready to Dismantle Colorado State

The Michigan Wolverines are back with the goal of reaching the College Football Playoffs. Their first game should be a cakewalk against the Colorado State Rams. The Wolverines are favored by 28 points.

Colorado State lost QB Todd Centeio, who transferred to James Madison Dukes. The team also lost TE Trey McBride, who now plays on Sundays for the Arizona Cardinals.

The Michigan passing game should be ready to explode this season as QB Cade McNamara, top WRs Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, Ronnie Bell and TE Erick All are all back for another year.

RB Hassan Haskins left for the draft, but Blake Corum was a strong contributor last season and should fill in very nicely. All in all, the Wolverines look ready to put up a ton of points on the Ram defense in Week 1, which should lead to a comfortable 28-point victory.

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Can Notre Dame Fight Off Ohio State?

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish travel for its first game of the season, facing National Champion hopeful, Ohio State Buckeyes. OSU is favored by 14.5 points for the Saturday, September 3 game.

The Fighting Irish’s offseason was headlined by big-name departures. This year they will have to replace QB Jack Coan, RB Kyren Williams, WR Kevin Austin and first-round star safety Kyle Hamilton, just to name a few.

Notre Dame’s strength on offense and Ohio State’s weakness of defense both lie in the running game, but the Fighting Irish have taken a step back in that aspect and the Buckeyes appear to be the same if not slightly better than last year.

On offense, the Buckeyes return Heisman-hopeful QB CJ Stroud, RB TreVeyon Henderson and WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba. This may be the strongest QB-RB-WR trio in college football this year, but Stroud needs another big target or two to emerge if they want to win a national title.

Look for WR Marvin Harrison Jr. or perhaps a freshman or two to step up in this primetime matchup. Ohio State should ultimately be able to take advantage of a depleted Notre Dame team.

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Justin Epifanio is a sports journalist who studied TV and digital media at Montclair State University, and majored in sports broadcasting and journalism. Justin is a sportsbook writer at Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse). In addition to iGamingPlayer, Justin has contributed to online publications including WiredJersey.com, SportsArePhilly.com and Great.com.

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