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Best Bets for the 2022 College Football Season: Win Totals and a Surprise CFP Entrant

Best Bets for the 2022 College Football Season: Win Totals and a Surprise CFP Entrant
Cameron Rising of the Utah Utes walks off the field. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images via AFP.

Ahead of the 2022 college football season, bettors can wager on everything from win totals to conference outrights and even odds to make the CFP. Our five college football preseason best bets include plays from each of these markets and more.

August has arrived which means that we are just four short weeks away from the start of the 2022 college football season. In the weeks and months to come, 131 FBS teams will battle for supremacy within their respective conferences and at the national level. 

Of course, the weekly menu of games is sure to keep college football bettors occupied all season long. However, when it comes to the variety of bets available, the preseason futures market is perhaps the most appealing of all. With opportunities to wager on the eventual national champion, conference and division winners, season win totals, and more, bettors are bound to find something that suits their fancy before the season even kicks off.

Here are my college football best bets for the 2022 season based on the odds from our top-rated sportsbooks (pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

College Football Best Bets for 2022

  • Utah to make the College Football Playoff (+450 via DraftKings Sportsbook) ★★
  • Air Force to win the Mountain West (+500 via PointsBet) ★★
  • Texas A&M to win 10+ games (+155 via FanDuel Sportsbook) ★★★
  • Georgia Southern Under 4.5 regular-season wins (-125 via BetMGM) ★★★★
  • USC Under 6.5 conference wins (+130 via DraftKings) ★★★

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Top Preseason College Football Picks

Utah to make the College Football Playoff (+450)

The Pac-12 Conference has not been represented in the CFP since the 2016-17 season. Thanks to stability at quarterback entering the 2022 season, Utah has a great chance to end the conference’s playoff drought.

Last year, Kyle Whittingham’s coaching staff had a quarterback controversy on their hands to begin the season. That is no longer the case after Cameron Rising asserted himself as the man for the job. Rising will benefit from the Utes returning five of last season’s six most productive pass-catchers.

While USC has been the talk of the Pac-12 this offseason, the fact that the Utes host the Trojans in Salt Lake City looms large as far as deciding the South Division. If the Utes win the conference and lose no more than one game, it will be hard to argue against their merits for inclusion in the CFP.

Air Force to win the Mountain West (+500)

Troy Calhoun enters his 16th season at the helm of Air Force football with a roster that is easily one of the top four in the Mountain West. Fifteen starters return from a team that won six league games and led all of college football with 323.3 rushing yards per game a year ago.

One of the key differences between this Air Force team and traditional service academy squads is that the Falcons are capable of generating a passing attack when needed. Haaziq Daniels returns to provide experience and talent at quarterback. AFA also has seven starters returning to a defense that ceded fewer than 20 points per game in each of the past two seasons. 

With this being the final year of the MWC being split into two divisions, Air Force must once again navigate perennial powerhouse Boise State in order to win the Mountain Division. Luckily, Air Force gets to host the Broncos in Colorado Springs in what could very well turn out to be a Mountain West title game play-in. 

Other than that home date against Boise State, there is very little resistance to be found on the Falcons’ conference schedule. Road trips to Utah State and San Diego State could prove tricky, but Air Force has more experience returning than both of those programs.

Texas A&M to win 10+ games (+155)

It has happened before where an SEC team that failed to win its division was ultimately selected to be part of the College Football Playoff. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has Texas A&M poised to potentially replicate that feat which was accomplished by Alabama back in 2017. 

After being lost for the year in Week 2 of last season, QB Haynes King is back to compete with LSU transfer Max Johnson for the starting job in 2022. The return of wideout Ainias Smith as well as two freshman All-Americans along the offensive line also cannot be understated. Newcomers could also play a big part for Texas A&M this season thanks to Fisher landing what some believe to be the best recruiting class ever.

Along with an uber-talented roster, the Aggies’ schedule sets up brilliantly for them to have a double-digit win season. Although a road trip to Alabama will likely fall in the loss column, Texas A&M has the honor of hosting both Arkansas and Ole Miss at Kyle Field. The Aggies are projected to have a personnel advantage in road games at Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Auburn.

If one assumes that the Aggies will lose at Alabama, they can still suffer one additional loss and reach the 10-win threshold. This 10-win market is unique to FanDuel, but bettors can take a more conservative approach and play the Over on A&M’s season win total of 8.5 at other sportsbooks.

Georgia Southern Under 4.5 regular-season wins (-125)

It has to be difficult for a school in Georgia Southern’s position to drum up excitement ahead of the 2022 college football season. The Eagles won just three games a year ago which prompted a coaching change. The problem with this is that the program is now in the hands of USC retread, Clay Helton. 

Where this coaching change becomes even more problematic is that Georgia Southern football has primarily run the triple-option offense dating back to the 1980s. With Helton taking over in Savannah, the program is set to abandon last year’s option package in favor of a vertical passing attack. 

Despite Helton’s optimism about some of the receivers he inherited as well as incoming transfers, teams that have made this transition in the past have almost always struggled, especially in the first year. Georgia Southern also has only five starters returning to a defense that allowed over 31 points per game last season. 

The last major knock against the Eagles is the fact that they play in a loaded Sun Belt Conference. Good luck penciling in a single win after the season opener against FCS Morgan State. Even if the Eagles were to win toss-up home games against James Madison and South Alabama, they would still need to spring two more big-time upsets to clear their regular-season win total of 4.5.

USC Under 6.5 conference wins (+130)

Based on the preseason odds, USC is the favorite to win the Pac-12. With Lincoln Riley being hired as head coach and an influx of incoming transfers, the Trojans have generated as much offseason hype as any program in the country.

By no means should the Riley hiring be dismissed entirely. USC football and its fanbase have been revitalized for the long term this offseason. However, expectations for the 2022 season are possibly a bit overblown. After all, Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams, who followed his coach from Oklahoma, were fortunate to win as many games as they did a year ago. Recall that OU nearly lost to lowly Kansas at that.

Overall, USC will be improved this season even compared to last. Whether or not it is enough to improve its Pac-12 conference record by four full games to cash the Over 6.5 league wins is another story. 

A quick rundown of the Trojans’ schedule reveals several games in which they could stub their toe. USC has September road trips to Stanford and Oregon State, two teams that came into the L.A. Coliseum and won last September. Add in the road trip to Utah and the annual rivalry game against UCLA, and the Trojans suffering three Pac-12 losses is not as far-fetched as the +130 odds might seem to indicate.

Where to Bet on College Football Futures

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

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