Arkansas is favored at home in a top 25 clash with the Cincinnati Bearcats, and Florida is a small underdog in The Swamp against No. 7 Utah, and we’re slicing up the NCAA football odds as the two SEC squads look to get their seasons started with wins over ranked opponents.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Saturday, September 3, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Razorback Stadium
Cincinnati vs. Arkansas: What You Should Know
Luke Fickell was an easy winner of most of the hardware handed out to coaches a year ago when he led Cincinnati to an unbeaten season that resulted in being honored as the first non-Power 5 conference team to be selected for the College Football Playoffs.
Despite a valiant effort, it all ended with a loss to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, and now their schedule has the Bearcats heading back down into SEC Country to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in one of three Week 1 games pitting ranked teams against one another.
What Are the Sportsbooks Saying?
Ranked No. 19 in the AP preseason poll, Arkansas is showing up as 6-point chalk at the top-rated sportsbooks, that spread down from 7½ at the opening.
Cincinnati is No. 23 in the same rankings and Saturday’s scoreboard target is 52 for the first meeting between the programs.
Cincinnati Bearcats Analysis
Cincy Begins Final AAC Season
Fickell has done a very good and very fast job getting the Cincinnati program turned around to the point it is now a perennial contender. The Bearcats have put together back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, but both ended with bowl losses to SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia.
Thanks to the conference realignment carousel, Cincinnati will take a step up by heading to the Big 12 for the 2023 season, albeit a small step up since the Big 12 conference door swung open for the Bearcats due to Oklahoma and Texas leaving.
Cincinnati isn’t going to have Desmond Ridder at quarterback, and Fickell hasn’t announced yet whether grad transfer Ben Bryant or redshirt soph Evan Prater will be under center to start Saturday’s game at Fayetteville.
Arkansas Razorbacks Analysis
Arkansas Out to Prove ’21 Was No Fluke
After four consecutive losing seasons in Fayetteville, Sam Pittman got the program turned around with a 9-4 record and bowl trip.
As big as the wins against rivals Texas and Texas A&M were early in 2021, it was the close loss to Alabama on the road that has the Razorbacks and their fans thinking of bigger and better things.
The good news is dual-threat KJ Jefferson is back at quarterback and he’s got a deep rotation of runners behind him. The bad news is Jefferson lost his top target, Treylon Burks and the defense took several hits as well.
Cincinnati vs. Arkansas: Best Bet
The thermometer is expected to climb into the low-90s Saturday afternoon, and that could wear some of the first-string linemen down.
I’ll be playing the total to go past the number for my free college football pick.
Utah Utes vs. Florida Gators
Saturday, September 3, 2022 - 07:00 PM EDT at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Utah vs. Florida: What You Should Know
Utah and Florida are not meeting for the first time like Cincinnati and Arkansas, but considering the Utes and Gators last met 45 years ago, it might as well be the first one as far as bettors looking for angles in trends are concerned.
Utah Utes Analysis
Are Utes Poised for Another Pac-12 Title?
When we last saw Kyle Whittingham and the Utes, they were busy blowing double-digit leads twice in the Rose Bowl before falling to Ohio State. It really was a sour ending to an otherwise fine season, but Utah appears ready to defend its conference crown.
Having an experienced quarterback always helps, and the Utes have a good one returning in Cameron Rising. The 5th-year junior has most of his pieces back in the receiving and running back corps, and only a couple of big uglies to replace on the O-line.
Florida Gators Analysis
Latest Hire at UF
Billy Napier is the 10th head coach at Florida since Steve Spurrier left Gainesville in 2001. Granted, a few of those had the interim tag, but that kind of turnover on the sidelines can absolutely kill a program, especially with such a wide-open transfer portal like today.
Florida hopes it has some consistency in the coaching ranks and recruiting for a long time to come after Napier did such a great job running the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The Gators are showing up as longshot 50/1 picks to win the SEC on the NCAA football futures.
Utah vs. Florida: Best Bet
There is rain in the afternoon forecast, making for a muggy evening in The Swamp where Utah is favored by 3 on BMR’s live NCAAF odds and the total is 51. I like the Utes in a 30-21 final.
NCAAF Pick: Utah -3 (-103) at Heritage Sports
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.