College Football Betting Guide: Saturday 9/3/22

How should we bet the total in Columbus given Ohio State's juggernaut offense will face a stiff test from Notre Dame?

Week 0 is in the books, and it’s uncertain whether Scott Frost’s seat could get any hotter after a tough Nebraska loss to Northwestern in Dublin.

Week 1 is shaping up to be an excellent slate of non-conference games, highlighted by a matchup between Notre Dame and Ohio State in Columbus. The Buckeyes are playoff favorites, but the Irish would go a long way in shaping the committee’s perspective with a victory on Saturday.

Defending champion Georgia will face off against Oregon, who made some noise in their non-conference schedule last season with a win over Ohio State. Those two games plus a slew of other matchups will make for another great Saturday for college football fans and bettors alike.

How should we wager on these marquee contests?

Note: All college football odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook. Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. Please check numberFire's model to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Over 58.5: 2 Stars

It’s not our model’s favorite pick this week, but we’d be remiss not to touch on Saturday’s best matchup.

Ohio State should have the best offense in the nation this year, as they have arguably the best player at quarterback in C.J. Stroud, running back in TreVeyon Henderson, and wide receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Stroud is the current Heisman favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook, and Henderson is tied with Bijan Robinson of Texas for best Heisman odds for a running back. Smith-Njigba completes the trifecta with the best Heisman odds for a wide receiver. He and Marvin Harrison Jr. should replace the production of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave since both were drafted in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

Notre Dame has a solid defense, but any team might have a hard time with an offense as talented as Ohio State’s. The Irish have a threatening offense, anchored by future NFLer Michael Mayer at tight end who led the team in receptions a season ago (71).

Tyler Buchner, who saw some action last year, was named the starting quarterback. Buchner is a former four-star prospect coming out of high school, but his freshman season had its ups and downs as he battled Jack Coan for the starting job. He’s already a dangerous runner against opposing defenses, but if Buchner improved his passing over the offseason, he and Mayer will be one of the most dynamic connections in college football.

The offensive talent, particularly on Ohio State’s squad, is what highlights this Week 1 matchup that already has serious playoff implications. Our model projects a 60.6% probability of the final score going over the total in this contest.

That’s a great number for two high-powered offenses fighting for their playoff resumes this early in the season.

Oregon Ducks vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Over 51.5: 2 Stars

Another excellent non-conference matchup is projected to go over the total according to our model.

Georgia’s offense will be one of the only units talented enough to contend with the Buckeyes for the nation’s most dangerous offense. The Bulldogs return their starting quarterback Stetson Bennett from their title run last season along with two of the country’s best tight ends in Brock Bowers and Arik Gilbert.

Bennett has the weapons to lead Georgia to another national championship. They have a solid first test in Oregon, though, before going through the SEC gauntlet during the heart of the season.

The Ducks replaced new Miami head coach Mario Cristobal with Dan Lanning, who returns to Georgia to face his former team for whom he was the defensive coordinator. Lanning was partly responsible for one of the greatest defenses in college football history last season; Georgia had five first round picks in last year’s NFL Draft after they led the Bulldogs to their first title since 1980.

Oregon’s defense doesn’t have the same level of talent outside of linebacker Noah Sewell (brother of current Detroit Lions tackle Penei Sewell), who is projected to be selected in the first round of the upcoming draft. Thus, Oregon will likely have its hands full with the experienced Bennett and the Bulldogs’ talented offense.

Oregon isn’t a huge threat to score on Georgia’s defense, but the Bulldogs should be able to score enough points to push the score over the total. According to our model, this game has a 60.3% probability of doing just that. Fans should be in for a treat with both of the day’s top matchups projected to be high-scoring affairs.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

Over 51.5: 3 Stars

We’ll throw one more over onto our betting card this week as Cincinnati travels to Fayetteville to take on the rising Razorbacks.

The Bearcats made the College Football Playoff on the strength of their defense overall but lost many of their stars to the NFL. Most notably was cornerback Sauce Gardner, who was selected by the New York Jets.

Cincinnati also had their starting quarterback, Desmond Ridder, and leading rusher and receiver (Jerome Ford and Alec Pierce, respectively) selected in this year’s draft. While the Bearcats will have a challenge in replacing production on both sides of the ball, the offense might have an easier time leveling up due to the five returning starters on the offensive line.

In addition to a strong run-blocking offensive line that ranked 17th in average line yards and 8th in power success rate last season (according to Football Outsiders), the Bearcats brought in LSU transfer Corey Kiner, who racked up 324 yards on 79 attempts for the Tigers.

Kiner, who went to high school in Cincinnati, is a former four-star prospect who has the talent to round out a strong running game for the Bearcats. As of writing, head coach Luke Fickell hasn’t announced the starting quarterback, but whoever wins the job between Ben Bryant and Evan Prater will have experienced weapons in receivers Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker, who finished second and third on the team in receiving yards last year behind Pierce.

Arkansas returns experienced starting quarterback K.J. Jefferson, who threw for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Razorbacks' narrow loss to Alabama last season. Jefferson will be without his two leading receivers last year, Treylon Burks and Tyson Morris, but the dual threat of his arm and ability to run put Arkansas in a solid position to be amongst the SEC’s best offenses.

For this game in particular, our model projects the score to go over the total with 62.5% probability -- good for a three-star rating.

Three ranked matchups result in our model giving us three over bets to root on should make for an action-packed Saturday.