You know that college football season is getting closer - not close, but closer - when the season win totals are released. And, thankfully, that is where we are right now. The first season win totals have been released, and some teams jump off the page for offering more value than others. It's an interesting list this year, with just two teams - Alabama and Ohio State - with double-digit win totals and a whole lot of parity expected in several conferences.
Here are six teams that offer the most value along with the rest of the numbers posted by CG Technology, who was the first to post numbers for sportsbooks in Nevada:
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North Carolina "under" 7 wins: This one doesn't need that much explanation. They won only eight games last year, and Mitch Trubisky is now a Chicago Bear. They also lost Elijah Hood, their star running back, and several other key players. The ACC hasn't gotten any easier, and this team doesn't have enough to improve in the face of those changes. Comfortable under.
Nebraska "over" 6 wins: This number just doesn't give Mike Riley enough credit. He has lost QB Tommy Armstrong, and that likely accounts for a lot of the pessimism expressed here coming off a nine-win season. They have a pretty good and experienced option to replace him, though, in Tulane transfer Tanner Lee. And they have a pretty soft schedule that is heavy on home games early and has a very manageable road game. I will be quite surprised if they don't go over this number. Lots of value here.
Wisconsin over 9.5 wins: The key number here is 17. The team returns 17 starters from what was a very solid team last year. That is a huge advantage. On top of that, the schedule this year is much more favorable than it was last year. They don't have to open against LSU again, they don't play conference rivals Ohio State and Penn State, and their tougher games are more spread out than last year so they won't have to run a brutal gauntlet again to shine. I like the coaching, and I like the talent, so the over is easy to like here.
Oregon Under 8 wins: Willie Taggart was a good hire, and he'll get this team back on track. You can't forget, though, that this team had become a big mess. They won only four games last year, and it didn't feel like a fluke. Their recruiting has suffered lately, and their struggles to find a QB since Marcus Mariota left are a clear symptom of that. They lack depth and have increasingly lacked an identity - especially on defense. Taggart has a lot of reconstruction to do, and it is going to take time. It hasn't been an entirely smooth transition to him so far, either. To go over this total the Ducks will have to more than double last year's win total. That's a lot to ask for any new coach, never mind one facing the obstacles Taggart does. They play at Stanford, UCLA and Washington this year, and the nonconference schedule has tough spots, too. I love the under here.
Colorado over 7.5 wins: I'm not pessimistic about all Pac-12 teams. The Buffaloes are facing a QB change this year, but new starter Steven Montez got three starts in relief last year, and we shouldn't see too much of a painful transition. The out-of-conference schedule is very easy, and they get their two toughest games against Washington and USC at home. They won 10 games last year, and while they might not be as good there are at least five all-but-certain wins on the schedule and a bunch more they look good in. The chances for this team to go over are high.
Tennessee under 7.5 wins: Last year this team was a mental case that underperformed and made winning too tough even when they came out on top. Now they have lost QB Joshua Dobbs, and four of their best players beyond Dobbs were lost in the draft as well. So they have a lot of important holes to fill and more clarity in some than others in terms of how they will do that. To make matters worse, their schedule for this year is much tougher than it was last year. Most notably, they have to play at both Alabama and Florida, and they play LSU and Georgia, too. The nonconference schedule is tougher than it has been as well. I really struggle to find seven wins for this team at this point, so the under is a very comfortable play.
And the rest of the Power 5:
Florida State - 9.5 wins
Clemson - 9
Louisville - 9
N.C. State - 7.5
Virginia Tech - 9
Miami - 8.5
Pitt - 7.5
Georgia Tech - 65
Duke - 5.5
Ohio State - 10 wins
Penn State - 9.5
Michigan - 9
Michigan State - 6.5
Indiana - 5.5
Northwestern - 7
Iowa - 6.5
Oklahoma - 9.5 wins
Oklahoma State - 9
Kansas State - 7.5
TCU - 7
West Virginia - 7
Texas Tech - 6
Washington - 9.5 wins
Stanford - 8.5
Washington State - 7.5
USC - 9.5
Utah - 6.5
UCLA - 6
Arizona - 5.5
Georgia - 8 wins
Florida - 8
Missouri - 6.5
Kentucky - 6
South Carolina - 5.5
Alabama - 10.5
LSU - 9
Auburn - 8
Arkansas - 7
Texas A&M - 7
Mississippi State - 5.5
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