College Football Betting Guide: Thursday 9/1/22

Which games can we target on Thursday night of Week 1's massive college football slate?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline.

For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for this weekend with guidance from our model. All advanced statistics are courtesy of the S&P individual team statistical profiles, except where noted.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Central Michigan at (12) Oklahoma State (-20.5)

Oklahoma State Spread (-20.5): 2 Stars out of 5

Our model is firmly believing that the 12th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys get it done against the Central Michigan Chippewas. They're 95.9% likely to get the win, thus making their -1300 moneyline a five-star suggestion. That's heavy, heavy juice, but the expected value is there for those interested.

A much more reasonable angle to this game is the spread of 20.5 in favor of the Cowboys. Our model sees Oklahoma State covering with a 61.0% probability, leaving an expected return of 16.4%.

The Cowboys are ranked 49th in projected offensive SP+ and 22nd in projected defensive SP+; Central Michigan is outside the top 70 offensively and outside the top 100 defensively. They also lost substantial talent in the transfer portal.

So far, 81% of spread bets and 78% of spread money is coming in on Oklahoma State at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Ball State at Tennessee (-32.5)

Tennessee Spread (-32.5): 2 Stars out of 5
Under (68.5): 4 Stars out of 5

Despite a heavy 32.5-point spread, numberFire's algorithm likes the Tennessee Volunteers to cover against the Ball State Cardinals 57.2% of the time. That's good for an expected return of 9.1%.

Additionally, the under (68.5) is the play, per our model. That's 70.0% likely.

The Volunteers' offense projects to be elite, yes, but their defense isn't too shabby, either. For Ball State, they're going to have a tough time hanging: their SP+ on offense and defense projects to be outside the top 110.

Since 2018, games with totals within two points either way of this over/under are 56.3% likely to hit the under.

Tennessee is receiving 83% of spread money despite a still-high rate of spread bets (76%).

West Virginia at (17) Pitt (-6.5)

Pitt Moneyline (-280): 4 Stars out of 5
Pitt Spread (-6.5): 3 Stars out of 5

The Pitt Panthers have plenty of offensive production to replace, but they return a lot of experience on the offensive line and in the backfield.

Besides, the West Virginia Mountaineers also have production to replace themselves, and the transfer portal wasn't particularly kind to them.

There's a pretty sizable gap between Pitt (20.8) and West Virginia (50.5) in consensus ranks, and that's not really reflected in the 6.5-point spread while playing in Pittsburgh.

Our model likes Pitt to cover 64.6% of the time and win outright at an 83.4% rate.

Pitt is receiving 62% of spread money and 61% of spread bets, via FanDuel Sportsbook.