The Six Pack: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Georgia vs. Oregon among top college football Week 1 picks

The smooth start to the 2022 season is over and it’s time for the real college football weekend to begin. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed last week’s dive into the tempting waters, but the limited list didn’t offer the robust menu of our gambling placement this week.

Of course, I might have enjoyed it more if I had won my Game of the Week or Lockout of the Week bets and gone 2-2. Alas, I didn’t, but I guess 2-2 is better than 0-4, right? Plus, should losses count in week 0? Just something to think about.

Anyway, there are some of the same caveats this week that we covered last week. The first weeks of the season can be the hardest to bet on because we are working with minimal information. Many coaches won’t release depth charts or tell us who their starting quarterback is as they try to gain some kind of advantage over their opponent. It worked a lot better for them than it did for us, but I still found six bets I feel good about this weekend.

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

Games of the week

Featured game | Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State: There will be four teams in the College Football Playoff, and there are probably somewhere between 10 and 12 teams that have a real shot at being one of the four when the dust settles. Both programs are in that bracket and have reached the playoffs multiple times. However, for 2022, I think there are only two teams in the country capable of winning the national title. Ohio State is one of them. Notre Dame is not.

This is not a knock on Notre Dame because the Irish can certainly make the playoff. It’s more of a statement about how much better than everyone else (except Alabama) I expect Ohio State to be. The Buckeyes have a Heisman favorite in QB CJ Stroud, a potential top-5 pick at receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, like 15 other future NFL receivers, and one of the best running backs in the country, TreVeyon Henderson. The only hole he had last season was a talented but predictable defense that hurt him against other talented teams. The arrival of new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will address that.

This is an Ohio State team that is going to put up at least 40 points a week and you have to figure out a way to keep up with that. Can a Notre Dame team with a new QB and no proven outside receiving threat pull this off? Perhaps! Michael Meyer is an excellent asset in the passing game, but you need game-breakers to keep up with the Buckeyes, and I’m not convinced the Irish have them yet. Ohio State 41, Notre Dame 20 | Ohio State -17

Featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oregon Ducks

#11 Oregon vs. #3 Georgia: The defending national champions begin their title defense against the man who helped them defend last year. Dan Lanning was the defensive coordinator of one of the most impressive units I’ve ever seen, and now he’s failing for the first time running a program at Oregon. With or without Lanning calling the shots, I expect Georgia’s defense to remain one of the best in the country, even with the players it lost. Kirby Smart and his staff have done too good of a job recruiting that side of the ball to expect a drop.

The problem Georgia faces here is that Oregon has a lot of talent on defense as well. Mario Cristobal may have left for Miami, but he hasn’t left the cupboards empty. His recruiting ability in Eugene was his biggest selling point for Miami — that and being something of a Hurricane himself — and I believe this Oregon defense will give Georgia’s offense some trouble. I’m also skeptical that an Oregon offense, possibly led by Auburn transfer Bo Nix, will find life easy. In other words, I have a hard time imagining this turning into a shootout. Georgia 31, Oregon 17 | Below 53

Lock of the week

Featured game | Oregon State Beavers vs. Boise State Broncos

Boise State at Oregon State: This is me, the guy who seems to be unreasonably high on Boise State at the start of the season. Boise State was our original Group of Five favorite, but has been supplanted in recent years by other programs like UCF and Cincinnati. After going 12-2 and winning the Mountain West in 2019, the Broncos went 12-7 over the past two seasons and fell short of the league title. They were all but forgotten, but until Andy Avalos’ first season reaches the heights Boise fans are used to, I believe Year 2 will see the Broncos once again compete for the conference title.

The first proof of that will come Saturday night when they hit the road to face an Oregon State team I’ve been high on for the past few seasons. However, the Beavers’ protective dam is too broken. The Beavs ranked 89th nationally in pass defense last season and 100th in EPA defense, allowing opponents to score on 40.1 percent of their possessions (102nd). It’s hard to trust teams as favorites when they play poorly on defense. Boise State 28, Oregon State 24 | Boise State +2.5

Personal story of the week

Featured game | Purdue Boilermakers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State at Purdue (Thursday): You can easily push yourself into a corner when working in this industry. You spend the entire offseason preparing for the fall and are constantly asked for your opinions on which teams are overrated and underrated. Well, I spent the offseason telling everyone who asked (and some who didn’t) that Penn State was the most underrated team in the Big Ten and that Purdue was the most overrated. It never occurred to me that they opened the season against each other and we would get an idea of ​​how smart or stupid I was right away.

But here we are and I’m sticking to my guns. My thought process is not particularly complicated. Penn State is too talented to continue playing at the lackluster level it has been the past two seasons. Purdue is not at the level where it can lose all of the key players from last season’s team and not expect to take a step back, even if only slightly. There’s a reason a Penn State team that went 7-6 last year is favored on the road against a Purdue team that went 9-4. Don’t overthink it. Penn State 27, Purdue 20 | Penn State -3.5

Floor of the week

Featured game | Coastal Carolina Chanticleers vs. Army West Point Black Knights

Army in Coastal Carolina: I love nothing more than going under in games between service academies because they all run the option offense that keeps the clock running and limits possessions. Coastal Carolina is not a service academy, but the same principle applies here. Coastal does the triple option, it just does a more modern and exciting version. And while it looks different, Coastal still runs the ball almost 60% of the time at the end of the day.

Also, as fun as Coastal’s offense is, its defense took a step back last season and wasn’t great against the run. This will work in Army’s favor and allow the Knights to control the clock and keep the Chanticleers offense off the field. I like Coastal to win and its cover chances. However, I don’t like either one as much as I like the bottom one. Coastal Carolina 24, Army 20 | Below 53.5

Upset of the week

Featured game | Florida Gators vs. Utah Utes

No. 7 Utah at Florida: We’re adding something new to The Six Pack this season. I have always limited the choices in this column to spread or total bets. I’m including an upset of the week where we’ll bet an underdog on the money line. For those who are not familiar, money line betting is strictly betting on the team to win. It doesn’t matter how much he wins, he just has to win.

The Florida Gators are our first choice. Listen, I love Utah. I think the Utes are the best team in the Pac-12 and if they win this game they have a legitimate shot at making the College Football Playoff. The problem is that I’m not in the habit of betting on teams that play on the road against SEC teams and win too often because it doesn’t happen often.

There are questions about Florida in its first year under Billy Napier, but while it may not be good enough to challenge Georgia in the East, it’s still a good team — a good team that plays at home in an environment. which a lot of other teams aren’t I’m not used to dealing with. It’s an advantage when Utah fans are familiar with themselves when teams visit Salt Lake City. Florida wins this game often enough to make it worth the bet. Florida 27, Utah 24 | Florida (+118)

Games of the week

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Lock of the week

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Generally

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Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1, and which heavy favorite will fall hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $3,600 in winnings over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.

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