2018 College Football Season Win Totals Predictions
Sportsbooks have recently posted season win totals in college football. It always feels like a bit of an odd time for them to put these numbers out. Spring practices are long over, and while players are working hard in the weight room there isn't that much going on in the sport - and there won't be for almost two more months. It feels like the response to these numbers would be much more dramatic and interesting if they came out in August. But I don't make the rules, and I'm happy to talk college football at any time. Here are eight numbers that stood out as interesting ( odds are from Bovada ):
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Penn State (9.5): There are four good teams in the Big Ten, and this is the one I have the most trouble believing in this year - or at least believing in them as much as others seem to. Saquon Barkley is obviously a big loss, and he's not the only change they face. The schedule is not the toughest out there, but three losses would certainly be possible, and the "under" is the way I lean here.
N.C. State (7.5): I don't like much about West Virginia this year, and a home game against the Mountaineers is the toughest test this team faces in their first six games They have a decent shot at 6-0. And in the second half they have Syracuse, Wake Forest, and a North Carolina team that could have some issues. The coaching is solid for this squad, and the "over" is at a pretty fat +125. I'd be willing to take a shot at that at that kind of a price.
Texas (8.5): We should see a step forward from the Longhorns this year. The talent is decent. The new coaching regime is established. The schedule could be worse, too. There are three or four games on the schedule that stand out as scary, but they aren't going to lose all of them. If they could split there then they could lose one of the rest, and they probably shouldn't be doing more than that. The over is playable here.
UCLA (5): The question is simple here - do you think Chip Kelly is going to get to a bowl game in the first year? He loses a very good quarterback and faces a whole lot of changes. But the talent is reasonable, and he will be bringing a whole new level of enthusiasm to this program after some frustrating and very poorly-coached seasons. If he can get off to a good start and instill some belief in this team then I think they could hit as high as seven wins. Believing in the Bruins has been a horrible idea for a very long time, but I'm going to ignore that, have a little faith, and take the over here.
South Carolina (7.5): The over is at +120, and I am both happy and a little surprised. I don't have any problem at all finding eight wins for this team. They have seven wins that are staring right at them if they are anywhere close to what they should be. They aren't going to beat Georgia or Clemson. But that leaves them with a need for one win against Tennessee, Ole Miss and Florida. I'm willing to bet at a price like this that they can get at least one win from this group. I actually like this team to a reasonable extent.
Auburn (8.5): I really feel like this team overachieved last year, and I have less faith in them this year. They play Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Washington. It would not surprise me at all if they lost all four games, and they could easily lose three. And then they have several other tough spots as well. The under is at +125, and I am happy to take it. I just don't like this team much.
Oklahoma (10.5): They lost their superstar QB, who went first overall in the NFL Draft. That would kill most teams - at least in the short term. But their new QB was just a very high draft pick in the MLB Draft, so his arm and athleticism aren't to be questioned. And the coaching is just plain excellent. But I am taking the over, which is attractive at +130, for another reason as well - I just don't see where the losses are coming from. They have a very soft schedule. Eight games are a total lock, and they will be favored in the other four. I just don't see them losing more than one unless things really go off the rails. The over is the clear choice here.
Ohio State (9.5): The over is at a ridiculous -230 here, but it's still playable. I just don't see where three losses are coming from. They have plenty of talent and depth as always, and it's not like Urban Meyer has forgotten how to coach. They are going to lose to Michigan this year - as a diehard Wolverines fan I have to keep telling myself that. They play a neutral-site game against TCU, but they will win that. And then they play at Michigan State and Penn State. They need to win only one of those to go over assuming they do lose to Michigan, and in my mind they win both. The over feels comfortable - though I'm not investing my fortune for a whole season for this kind of potential return.
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