College Football Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Week 1’s Early Games, Featuring Maryland vs. Buffalo
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Maryland Terrapins football team at Capital One Field in College Park, MD.
- The Saturday of Week 1 is always one of the best times of the year for college football bettors, and we are no different.
- Our staff sees value in three noon games today, including Buffalo vs. Maryland and Colorado State vs. Michigan.
- Check out all three of our best bets for Saturday's noon college football games below.
We made it. The first full Saturday slate of the 2022 college football season is finally upon us.
Thursday night's games were awesome, and Friday night college football is always incredibly entertaining. But there's something special about the wall-to-wall college football action on a fall Saturday that just gets the blood pumping.
Our staff certainly feels the same way. They hand-picked 13 best bets from Saturday's college football slate, including three nonconference matchups from the noon window: Colorado State vs. Michigan, Buffalo vs. Maryland and Rutgers vs. Boston College.
But why stop there? Below, you can find our 10 other best bets for the afternoon window and the evening slate.
Now, let's get down to business. We have work to do.
Saturday's College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Colorado State vs. Michigan
It's a complete change on offense for the Rams. They will move from a ground-and-pound style under Steve Addazio – who ran the ball 56% of the time – to new offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, who threw the ball 64% of the time at Nevada last season.
Jay Norvell and Mumme also brought redshirt freshman Clay Millen over from Nevada to be their starting quarterback. Millen backed up Carson Strong last season, so he knows the system.
Mumme loves to play fast, with Nevada ranking 23rd in plays per minute last season. Millen will also have the benefit of two Nevada wide receivers coming over with him in Melquan Stovall and Tory Horton.
Michigan has a ton of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. It obviously lost Aiden Hutchinson, but it also lost its top two linebackers and three starters in the secondary.
So, the Wolverines could go through some growing pains, especially against a pass-heavy attack like Colorado State.
Jim Harbaugh hasn't made a decision on who will be the season-long starting quarterback between Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy, but we do know that McNamara will start the opener versus Colorado State.
The thing for Michigan is the only weapon it loses is Hassan Haskins at running back, along with offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Otherwise, everyone is back for an offense that averaged 6.3 yards per play (17th in FBS) and was 11th in EPA/Play. Oh, and the Wolverines get back one of their best receivers in Ronnie Bell, who tore his ACL in the opener against Western Michigan last year.
Colorado State loses its entire defensive line and both starting cornerbacks from last season, so it's hard to imagine it'll finish in the top 30 in EPA/Play Allowed, especially when the best offense it faced last season was Norvell's Nevada team.
Michigan has to replace a ton on defense but returns all of its weapons back on offense. Meanwhile, Colorado State will implement a new Air Raid system under Mumme. For those reasons, I think the market is a tad low on this total.
I have 72.1 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 61.5 and would play it to 66.
Pick: Over 61.5 (Play to 66)
Buffalo vs. Maryland
By Dan Keegan
Maryland’s passing attack – led by Taulia Tagovailoa and a fleet of NFL wideouts – is one of the better units in the sport. On Saturday, it gets to face off against a leaky Buffalo defense that has only one returning starter in the secondary.
If you’re betting on Maryland, you might have nightmare flashbacks to Taulia’s five interceptions against Iowa, or the Michigan defense completely shutting him down.
But when the Terps faced a defense that was outside the top 35 in SP+, Taulia diced his opponent up. In those games, the Terps were 6-0 and Taulia posted a 72% completion percentage, 318 yards per game, 16 touchdowns and 0 turnover-worthy plays.
Maryland has one of the deepest and most talented wide receiver rooms in the country that’s not in Columbus or Heritage Hall. Rakim Jarrett, Dontay Demus and Jacob Copeland are all productive college players with futures playing on Sunday.
Buffalo’s defense will not be able to slow down these Maryland starters. In 2021, the Bulls were 111th in defensive SP+ in Maurice Linguist’s first campaign at the helm.
In order to improve a pass defense that was so accommodating to opponents, the Bulls brought in multiple transfers and replaced everyone in the starting lineup, except safety Marcus Fuqua.
With an all-new lineup, I expect glitches and communication issues as the team gets up to speed.
Buffalo’s offense is not going to race past these turtles. The offense returns only three starters, and transfer Cole Snyder is the starter at quarterback.
Snyder was a career journeyman at Rutgers, throwing 31 mop up passes in three seasons. The Bulls finished 94th+ in offensive SP+ last year, and it’s hard to see any improvement in another transition year for the Linguist staff.
I’ll be playing Maryland in the first half minus -13.5. The Terps’ experienced starters will have their way against a rebuilding Buffalo defense playing their first live snaps together.
I’m playing the first-half number because I trust Maryland’s excellent starters in the pass game, and I avoid any randomness in a blowout or a backdoor cover.
Pick: Maryland 1H -13.5 or Better
Rutgers vs. Boston College
Rutgers travels to Alumni Stadium to kick off its season against Boston College.
Greg Schiano returns all but one starter on the offensive side of the ball for the Scarlet Knights. But the group ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten last season, putting up less than 20 points and 260 yards per game.
They utilized a run-first scheme that managed just 3.6 yards per carry. Quarterback Noah Vedral was incredibly inconsistent, tossing seven touchdowns and interceptions last season while averaging just six yards per pass attempt.
Offensively, the Eagles bring back Phil Jurkovec and his top weapons in wide receiver Zay Flowers and cowbell running back Patrick Garwo III. But the main concern comes up front, as Boston College replaces its entire offensive line.
The Rutgers defense returns all four starters in its secondary which will be crucial against Jurkovec.
Both defenses own a significant advantage against its opposing offenses in this matchup. I expect this to be a slow-paced grind of a game where the punters will be getting plenty of playing time.