College football picks, schedule: Spread predictions, odds for key Week 1 games Thursday

Week 0 was the warm-up for the upcoming 2022 college football season, but for many Week 1 signifies the true start of the marathon. From Thursday through Labor Day, we’ll have five busy days of college football, offering wall-to-wall (or screen-to-screen) action that will have a bit of something for everyone.

The return of a college football top-10 rivalry: The Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and No. 17 Pitt, gets things started. The former Big East rivals haven’t played since 2011 – a 21-20 win for the Mountaineers at Morgantown, West Viginia – but the passage of time hasn’t lowered the stakes.

The kickoff frenzy to begin Thursday’s action doesn’t stop at Steel City, however. No. 12 Oklahoma State hosts Michigan Center in the first meeting between the programs since a miraculous, if not controversial, Chippewas 30-27 victory in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 2016. Meanwhile, Tennessee opens its season against foe MAC Ball State with the High Prospect Volunteers from the offseason in the fall. Then, a Big Ten interdivisional game between Penn State and Purdue keeps the entertainment going with the Nittany Lions hoping to start 2022 on the right foot after back-to-back disappointing seasons.

Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the evening for college football coverage from kickoff. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games on Thursday of Week 1.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh No. 17

Featured game | Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — It’s not called the Backyard Shootout, it’s called the Backyard Brawl. The fabric of this rivalry is rock fights; every meter is gained and the defenses dominate the day. While two former USC quarterbacks — JT Daniels for WVU, Kedon Slovis for Pitt — will dominate the conversation, both teams are stronger on the defensive side of the ball. There’s also the matter of how Pitt’s offense evolved through the loss of Kenny Pickett, Jordan Addison and OC Mark Whipple, and the establishment of a new offense. The signs point to a team that will run the ball a bit more than they did in 2021, build on their advantage at the line of scrimmage and, for our purposes, play a style that prepares well for the less. Choose: Under 51 -Chip Patterson

Central Michigan vs. No. 12 Oklahoma State

Featured game | Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Central Michigan Chippewas

7 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) — There was a time when Oklahoma State was the king of non-conference shootouts, but it’s a new day in Stillwater. The Cowboys allowed just 18.1 points per game in 2021 and limited opponents to just 2.71 yards per carry. There’s turnover on defense, but the Cowboys should still be able to contain the Chippewas and star running back Lew Nichols. Expect slow, low-scoring play. Pick: Under 59.5 –Shehan Jeyarajah

Ball State vs. Tennessee

7 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The point total in Ball State’s last seven games against the opposition Power Five has fallen short of 68 points. In fact, the average point total in the Cardinals’ last 10 games of this variety is just 50.9. Tennessee’s offense is explosive, yes, but the Volunteers have a huge game at Pitt looming in Week 2 and can call off the Dogs relatively early if they can. The Vols are certainly suspect defensively, but they allowed just six runs against MAC foe Bowling Green in last year’s opener. Choose: Under 68 –David Cobb

Penn State vs. Purdue

Featured Game | Purdue Boilermakers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

8 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — I painted myself a little in a corner here. I’ve spent the offseason talking about Penn State being the Big Ten’s most underrated program based on the past two seasons, while simultaneously saying that Purdue was overrated after outperforming last season. Well, it looks like my two opinions will clash on Thursday night, and I see no reason to let them go just yet. I have legitimate concerns about Purdue’s ability to quickly replace key pieces it lost from last year’s team, and Penn State should have the clear talent advantage. There’s a reason the Nittany Lions are favored on the road after a mediocre season. Don’t think about it too much. Choose: State of Pennsylvania -3.5 –Tom Fornelli

What college football picks can you confidently make 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 brought in nearly $3,600 in profits over the past six-plus seasons – and find out.

Comments are closed.