College Football Powerhouses Set To Kickoff in Atlanta, but Legalized Gambling Still Ways Off

College Football Powerhouses Set To Kickoff in Atlanta, but Legalized Gambling Still Ways Off
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

When the 2022 college football season kicks off this fall, Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium – home to the Falcons -- will step into the spotlight with two heavyweight matchups over Labor Day weekend. 

Defending national champions Georgia, led by coach Kirby Smart, will welcome the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Sept. 3 for the annual Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. 

The game headlines Week 1 of the college football season, and will mark the Bulldogs’ first test as they attempt to repeat as national champions behind quarterback Stetson Bennett.

The Dawgs open the season on DraftKings Sportsbook with the second best odds to win the national title (+360, behind only Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide at +200). Oregon currently sits at +5500.

Those odds come despite Georgia seeing five players go in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, including No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Defensive tackles Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, linebacker Quay Walker and safety Lewis Cine also were first round selections following the school’s first national championship since 1980.

Two days after the Ducks come to town, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, as Dabo Swinney’s program looks to re-enter the national championship conversation following a 10-3 campaign in 2021 that saw the Tigers finish 14th in the final Associated Press poll. 

Clemson has the fourth best odds (+1200) to win the national title this upcoming season, behind Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State (+425).

2022 College Football National Championship Odds

Alabama Crimson Tide+200
Georgia Bulldogs+360
Ohio State Buckeyes+425
Clemson Tigers+1200
Texas A&M Aggies+2800
USC Trojans+3000
*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Georgia Bettors Still Have To Wait and See

Atlanta hosts two of the biggest college football season openers this fall, but state betting enthusiasts can't capitalize on the excitement.

Georgia sports betting is not legal, unfortunately for those wanting to wager on the opening kickoffs of the Dawgs-Ducks and Tigers-Yellow Jackets, respectively.

How is the legalization of sports gambling proceeding in the Peach State? Ask again next year.

The process started in earnest in January 2021 when Rep. Ron Stephens led the presentation of House Bill 86 in the Georgia House. That bill proposed allowing six licensed online wagering entities in the state, but no betting on college sports.

But that hit the wall, because some legislators didn’t want to support sports betting while other state legislators were trying to, according to the first set of legislators, limit voting rights in the state. 

That same month, the Georgia NAACP came out against sports betting and the state legislature went into recess.

There was no sports betting referendum on the 2021 ballot.

Is Georgia At Risk of Falling Behind?

While Georgia football fans would likely love to get in on the action of a high-profile season kickoff, the state is not alone in the Southeast in facing challenges to legalized sports betting. 

Florida sports gambling is currently not legal after a federal court shut it down late last year. New legislation will not arrive this calendar year, which means sports betting in Florida does not appear to be imminent.

Meanwhile in neighboring Alabama, State Sen. Greg Albritton’s sports betting bill would have created a state lottery and added sports betting, five casinos and two “satellite” casinos. But it failed to gain much support this spring.



Thomas Leary is a news editor and writer for He previously spent six years at Sports Business Journal, where he helped identify emerging sectors across sports business, such as legalized gambling, and helped launch a digital newsletter division. Thomas lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife Emmie and their dog, Pickles.

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