Cincinnati vs Arkansas NCAAF Week 1 Preview and Prediction September 3, 2022


Cincinnati vs Arkansas September 3, 2022 @ Fayetteville AR

Opening Betting Odds

Spread: Cincinnati +7, Arkansas -7
Moneyline: Cincinnati +216, Arkansas -265
Total: 54

Preview

Most pundits agree that this would have been a marquee matchup had it taken place last season, but it remains to be seen if either of these two teams can repeat the magical seasons they had in 2021. The odds are against the Bearcats making a return to the College Football Playoffs (18-1 at BET365).

Arkansas won more than their share of close games last season, and they were perfect in non-conference games. They have one of the most difficult schedules in the SEC in 2022. Only Auburn and Vanderbilt are projected to have tougher schedules.

Cincinnati

  • 13-1 overall in 2021
  • 8-0 in the AAC in 2021
  • 8-6 against the spread in 2021

After winning 13 games and becoming the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoffs last season, you have to think it’s inevitable that Cincinnati takes a step back in 2022. It won’t be easy to replace two time AAC Offensive Player of the Year Desmond Ridder at quarterback.

Whoever starts at quarterback will play behind an experienced offensive line returning five starters, three of those are All AAC first team (center Jake Renfro, guard Lorenz Metz and tackle Dylan O’Quinn).

On the defense it’s a different story with six starters moving on to the NFL. When you look at all the talent and experience that this team has to replace, it’s going to be tough to repeat what they did last season. That said, if anyone could do it, Luke Fickell might be the guy.

Arkansas

  • 9-4 overall in 2021
  • 4-4 in the SEC in 2021
  • 8-4-1 against the spread in 2021

The Razorbacks are coming off a highly successful season that saw them win eight games in the regular season, and they followed it up with a win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl. They beat LSU, Texas A&M and Missouri in conference play, and they crushed Texas 40-21 in a non-conference game.

Sam Pittman was able to keep his coaching staff intact, and he brings back starting quarterback KJ Jefferson. The Razobacks averaged an SEC best 228 rushing yards per game last season, and they have all the pieces in place to be a formidable force on the ground again in 2022.

Pittman is starting to reap the rewards of several strong recruiting classes, and he’s shaped this team to compete with the bigger, taller players in the SEC West. Impressive size on both sides of the line and taller defensive backs and receivers have made the Hogs more competitive.

Relevant Trends

  • The Bearcats are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
  • The Razorbacks are 6-0 ATS in their last six games in September.
  • The under is 5-1 in the Bearcats last six road games.
  • The under is 9-4 in the Razorbacks last 13 games in September.
  • The Bearcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.

Prediction: Arkansas 31 – Cincinnati 21

Home field should prove to be a significant advantage for a Razorbacks team that comes in with high expectations. The Bearcats should be due for a let down after an improbable Playoff run last season. Coach Fickell won’t allow his team to slip too far despite the player turnover, but the Bearcats can expect some growing pains in Week 1.

Both teams will likely lean on their running game, and KJ Jefferson will miss star wide receiver Treylon Burks who caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 TDs in 2021. The Razorbacks #2 wide receiver had just 24 receptions for 337 yards and two TDs.

Before you place your bets in Week 1, you might want to check out the top ranked professional handicappers with college football last season.

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