College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for key games today in Week 0

The vast majority of the 131 FBS teams will begin their 2022 seasons in about seven days time, but for 17 percent of college football’s top division, play begins in Week 0 with games scattered from as far West as Honolulu, Hawaii, to as far East as Dublin, Ireland. Given those contests are scattered across six timezones, there will be games to watch all day into late at night.

Nebraska vs. Northwestern — that aforementioned game in Ireland — is the highlight entering Saturday as the lone contest between not only Power Five opponents but conference foes. The Cornhuskers will be seeking a big first W to kick off the season with coach Scott Frost on the hot seat, while the Wildcats are looking for a bounce-back season after a 3-9 finish in 2021 (with six straight losses to end the season) disappointed the Northwestern faithful.

While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about how these games will shake out from an odds standpoint. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best of the 11 games in Week 0.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Nebraska vs. Northwestern (Ireland)

Featured Game | Northwestern Wildcats vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

12:30 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — If I’m betting the spread, I’m taking Northwestern and the points — but not because I have that much faith in the Wildcats. It’s that I don’t have much belief in there being a lot of points scored in this game. Nebraska has made a lot of changes on the offensive side of the ball, and there’s a strong chance the Cornhuskers will be on a limited playbook in the first game of the season. I also expect the Northwestern defense to improve because it’s part of the program’s DNA. Even if it has not, and the Nebraska offense is firing on all cylinders, we can still rely on Northwestern’s offense not doing too much damage. The under is the best play. Pick: Under 49.5 — Tom Fornelli

Featured Game | Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wyoming Cowboys

4 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Cowboys were decimated by departures, including stud wide receiver Isaiah Neyor. Plus, the entire left side of the offensive line has to be rebuilt. The Illini, on the other hand, have an established transfer quarterback in Tommy DeVito who isn’t going to be shocked by anything that the Cowboys throw at him. The combination of DeVito and established offensive skill players will force Wyoming into a shootout … and it isn’t built for that. Pick: Illinois -10 — Barrett Sallee

Featured Game | Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Charlotte 49ers

7 p.m. | CBS Sports NetworkCBSSports.comCBS Sports App — Both the Owls and 49ers bring new defensive staffs to campus in an attempt to bolster units that ranked in the latter half of Conference USA programs in scoring defense. FAU scored 38 points with ease the last time these two squads faced off, while Charlotte should take another step under senior quarterback Chris Reynolds and get back towards the 30 points per game mark the team achieved in 2020. Especially in Week 0, expect this one to turn into a shootout. Pick: Over 59.0 — Shehan Jeyarajah

Featured Game | Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

10:30 p.m. | CBS Sports NetworkCBSSports.comCBS Sports App — Get to know the name Mike Wright because the Vanderbilt quarterback is going to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2022 season. The problem? He won’t get much help at Vanderbilt. Timmy Chang has taken over the Rainbow Warriors and will announce his presence with a bang — a stellar offensive performance that will harken back to the days that he played quarterback for Hawaii. That will force the Commodores into a shootout — one that Wright and Co. will be able to narrowly win thanks to the dual-threat ability of the signal caller. Pick: Hawaii +6.5 — Barrett Sallee

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 0, and which big favorite will get a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,600 in profit over the past six seasons — and find out.

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