College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for top 25 games Saturday in Week 1

By the time the final whistle sounds Saturday night and the day’s games come to an end, we’ll be down to just four FBS teams who have yet to play a game in the 2022 college football season. With three games featuring top-25 opponents facing one another and some other important showdowns across the country, to say there may be immediate implications by the time Week 1 is in the books would be an understatement.

Two of the day’s key games featuring Pac-12 powers traveling south to take on top-tier SEC East teams. No. 11 Oregon heads to Atlanta to face the defending national champions as No. 3 Georgia looks to take down its former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, now the Ducks’ leader. No. 7 Utah, the defending Pac-12 champions and favorites to repeat as conference title winners, travels to The Swamp where Florida hopes one of college football‘s toughest environments will aid a significant upset in coach Billy Napier’s first game with the Gators.

And then there’s the nightcap, the lone top-five matchup of the first few weeks as No. 2 Ohio State hosts No. 5 Notre Dame. With three Heisman Trophy contenders and a ton of national championship hype, the Buckeyes will look to hold off a Fighting Irish program aiming to maintain a high level of play under new coach Marcus Freeman.

While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about how these games will shake out from an odds standpoint. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games on Saturday in Week 1.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Arizona at San Diego State

Featured Game | San Diego State Aztecs vs. Arizona Wildcats

3:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App — This matchup features two programs coming from opposite directions of the competitiveness spectrum that could meet in the middle in San Diego. The Wildcats are betting big on recruiting and transfers quickly flipping the roster. San Diego State is trusting that a new transfer quarterback, Braxton Burmeister, and key returners on defense can maintain top-25 performance. The feisty Wildcats will get enough dynamic plays to keep things close in a low-scoring affair. Prediction: Arizona (+6) — Shehan Jeyarajah

No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 11 Oregon (Atlanta)

Featured Game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oregon Ducks

3:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — The hangover from last year’s title in Indianapolis is long gone. Georgia will show that it isn’t going to be complacent and dominate Oregon in what should be a de facto home game. Dan Lanning knows how to attack Georgia’s offensive personnel, but stopping it is going to be a much bigger problem. Look for Georgia to come out on a mission early, wear Oregon down and lean on the Ducks in the fourth quarter to pull away and cover. Prediction: Georgia (-17) — Barrett Sallee

No. 23 Cincinnati at No. 19 Arkansas

Featured Game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

3:30 p.m. ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — This is an odd situation for me because I don’t think Cincinnati’s drop-off in 2022 will be drastic, nor do I think Arkansas is as good as many others. Yet, here I am taking the Razorbacks against the spread because, while I expect the Bearcats to be one of the better Group of Five teams in the country, it’s the first game of the season having to replace nine NFL Draft picks, including their starting quarterback. Arkansas’ experience and homefield advantage will win out in the end. Prediction: Arkansas -6.5 — Tom Fornelli

No. 7 Utah at Florida

Featured Game | Florida Gators vs. Utah Utes

7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Utes head into a culmination year right as the Gators enter Year 1 of a rebuild, and the stakes have never been higher for the visitors. While there’s a major recruiting gap between these two programs, Utah has not shied away from recruiting stars in the past. In the Rose Bowl, it took Ohio State to the limit. The Utes also crushed Oregon twice to ruin the Ducks’ College Football Playoff case. Chalk this one up as a historic victory for the program. Prediction: Utah -3 — Shehan Jeyarajah

No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State

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

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — In a vacuum or a simulation, Ohio State wins this game by 20 points, but college football is played by humans and the stage is too big to think there will be a blowout on Saturday night. The Buckeyes are playing with all the pressure and there have been some nightmare nights in nonconference play in Columbus, Ohio. Ultimately, Ohio State is the markedly better team and will win, but this game is interesting just long enough for the Fighting Irish to cover the number. Prediction: Notre Dame +17.5 — Chip Patterson

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

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