Betting News & Analysis

College Football 2022: Best Bets in Week 1

Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Utilizing PFF Greenline, here are the best bets to make in Week 1.

• Last week’s picks went 3-1 for +4.5 units. 

To see exact cover probabilities of every game this weekend for free, click here.

While Week 0 served as the mere appetizer for the five-course meal to come this weekend, you still feasted last week if you followed our picks.

Overall, our plays went 3-1, but the profit was even better than that. Hitting on Northwestern’s moneyline at (+375) brought the total to +4.5 units on the week.

Let’s keep the good times rolling. Using PFF’s Greenline tool (available for a one-week free trial here), here are the best bets to make for Week 1. 

Best Spread Pick: Utah State Aggies (+41.5) @ #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 

Alabama beat two schools in 2021 by 42 or more points: Southern Mississippi and New Mexico State. Those were two of the worst teams in the country last season, combining for a 5-19 record. 

Utah State isn’t close to being one of the worst teams in the country. Last year, the Aggies had an 11-3 record and won the Mountain West championship. Currently, they’re tied for 51st in PFF’s power rankings. For reference, 45% of the Power-Five schools have a ranking that’s the same or worse.

Utah State also has a game under its belt already after defeating UConn 31-20 last week. Logan Bonner was especially impressive in that game, earning an 89.5 grade that was second-highest among all quarterbacks last week. 

The Crimson Tide are still the team to beat in college football, so this game likely won’t be close. However, a nearly six-touchdown spread is too much for our liking.

Best Bet: Utah State +41.5

Best Moneyline Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies @ Old Dominion Monarchs (+240)

Back in 2018, Old Dominion pulled off a home upset over then-No. 13 Virginia Tech. History could repeat itself Friday night.

The Hokies will look very different from last season, when they finished 6-7. Virginia Tech will have a new head coach roaming the sideline in Brent Pry after losing their six most-valuable players from 2021, according to PFF’s wins above average metric. The Hokies will also debut a new quarterback in Grant Wells, who transfers in from Marshall. His 76.8 grade since 2020 ranks 76th among 150 FBS quarterbacks.

Making his transition to the Power Five more difficult is the depletion of Virginia Tech’s skill-position players. The Hokies lost their leading rusher and top two receivers from a year ago in Raheem Blackshear, Tr​​é Turner and Tayvion Robinson, respectively.

Old Dominion is almost the complete opposite. The Monarchs return 17 of their 22 starters from last season, including Zack Kuntz, who’s PFF’s No. 16 tight end in the country. He could take advantage of a Hokie secondary that had no players grade above 70 last year.

Old Dominion is the more experienced team and has a better chance of pulling off the upset than its odds would suggest. If betting the moneyline is too risky for you, Greenline also sees value in betting the Monarchs’ +7.5-point spread. 

Best Bet: Old Dominion ML (+240)

Best Total Bet: Central Michigan Chippewas @ #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys UNDER 59.5

Implied Value



Cover Probability









Last season, the Cowboys defense ranked third in the country in both team defense grade and EPA per play allowed. That defense brings back Tyler Lacy and Collin Oliver, two of the Big 12’s three highest-graded returning edge defenders. They’ll likely have a field day against Central Michigan, who has to replace both of its starting tackles from 2021 in Bernhard Raimann and Luke Goedeke

On the other side, the Pokes lost star receiver Tay Martin, who led the Big 12 with 1,046 receiving yards last season. They’ll also have to replace running back Jaylen Warren, who had the second-most yards after contact in the conference last year. 

Oklahoma State’s defense will likely have a dominant showing while the offense could take some time to gel, making the under a smart bet.

Greenline’s best bet of the weekend: CMU vs. OSU UNDER 59.5

Bonus Bet: Kent State Golden Flashes @ Washington Huskies UNDER 59.5

Washington’s offense was sluggish last season, finishing as one of the 15 worst Power Five schools in both team offense grade and estimated points added per play. While new head coach Kalen Deboer and transfer-quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (formerly of Indiana) should improve that, don’t expect any drastic changes overnight. None of the Huskies receivers graded above a 70 last year. There’s also likely to be four new starters on the offensive line on Saturday, with star LT Jaxson Kirkland missing the season opener because of a condition of his waiver approval from the NCAA.

The strength of the Huskies will likely be their defense — specifically the front-seven. Zion Tupuola-Fetui returns at edge defender after playing only five games last year before suffering a torn Achilles. When healthy, he’s one of the best pass rushers in the country. Since 2020, his pass-rush grade, pressure-rate and win-rate would rank first among returning Power-Five edge defenders if he had enough snaps to qualify. Although his long-term durability is a question mark, he’ll at least be a full-go against Kent State, who has to replace both of its starting tackles from a year ago.

Speaking of the Golden Flashes, they also must move on from one of the program’s all-time great quarterbacks in Dustin Crum. Redshirt junior Collin Schlee will attempt to fill those shoes but has fewer than 150 career snaps to his name. 

Like Oklahoma State, Washington’s defense should feast on an inferior opponent while the offense could take some time to find its footing.

BONUS Bet: Kent State at Washington UNDER 59.5

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