I’m picking every over/under regular season win total for all 130 schools in college football. I’ll try to keep the odds/injuries/suspensions as current as possible, but I’m doing this in pieces, so it is what it is.
1* through 5* based on confidence. I’ll be betting anything 3* and higher.
Last year was pretty successful, to say the least. Results:
3*: 10-2-3 (+24.1*)
4*: 1-1 (+0.0*)
5*: 1-0 (+5.0*)
I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion based on perceived value.
SEC – EAST
Georgia – under 10.5 (-105) – 1*
Quite a few conflicting things with the Dawgs this year, which I’m just going to bullet point:
- Their schedule is one of the easiest Power 5 schedules
- They’re losing some of their most influential defenders, including Roquan Smith, who was one of the best college LBs of the past 10, 20 years
- The majority of their offense is back
- Although Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are not. Chances are the run game is still very good, but probably not the same elite level as a year ago.
- Jake Fromm will most likely be one of the best QBs in the country
- Their Yards Per Point numbers suggest they’re going to score less points and give up more points this year, which is generally bad
Florida – over 8 (+110) – 3*
Two big things to like: Dan Mullen and the schedule. No coach overachieves more regularly than Mullen. He’s previously done that at MSU, so I’m excited to see how well he does with a more gifted roster.
The schedule is even worse than Georgia’s. They play their usual non-con game against FSU (on the road this year), but otherwise their toughest game is Colorado State at home. They avoid Alabama and Auburn out of the West.
They have 19 starters coming back. The YPP numbers from a year ago, returning their best guys, and Todd Grantham running the show are all signs pointing toward a return to typical Gator form on defense.
The offense is a little more questionable, but returning all five offensive line starters is a great place to start. There’s unproven production at the skill positions, but they certainly don’t lack in talent and I think you have to put a lot of faith in Mullen, who guided productive offenses in the SEC with far less talent. It’s unclear who will run the show behind the center, but Emory Jones was a big-time recruit and a guy whose skillset is a perfect fit for Mullen’s offense. (Note: Well, maybe it won’t be Emory.)
South Carolina – over 7 (-130) – 2*
There’s a lot to like about the skill positions for the Gamecocks. Jake Bentley was a highly recruited QB who has now started for a year and a half. Deebo Samuel and Rico Dowdle are back this year at WR and RB, respectively, after missing a large chunk of last season. The only skill guy they lost was TE Hayden Hurst, good enough to be a first round pick, but his production is matchable.
The D keeps getting better under Travaris Robinson, but they do lose some key players at all three levels. They’ll be solid, but by SEC standards, I’m not sure they overwhelm you.
Their first three games of non-con are fairly stress free, but then of course they have to go to Clemson at the end of the year. The great news for Will Muschamp is that they don’t have to play Alabama, Auburn, or Mississippi State from the West.
Missouri – under 7 (-110) – 1*
The personnel returning on the field for the Tiger offense would make you believe they’re going to be lighting up the scoreboards once again. However, Barry Odom hired Derek Dooley to be his OC. You may remember Dooley as the guy who inexplicably got the Tennessee job around a decade ago and was the worst HC in Knoxville of the past century. Also notable: he’s never been an OC. If there’s any way to screw up Drew Lock and eight other returning starters, that’s a good place to start.
The defense returns seven starters. They were horrendous to start the year in 2017, suddenly had a five game stretch where they only gave up 16.6 ppg, but then finished the regular season by giving up 45 to Arkansas. I think the midseason “resurgence” was more a product of inept offenses than anything and I don’t have a ton of hope that they’ll be much better than the 31 ppg they’ve given up the past two years.
Kentucky – under 5.5 (-105) – 1*
It’s hard to feel good about the Wildcat offense. They’re essentially screwed if Benny Snell misses any time. Lynn Bowden is the other really talented skill guy, but he doesn’t have a defined place in the offense and I don’t know that he’s a big enough difference maker.
Defensively they’ve got eight starters returning, but the Cats have been solidly average for what feels like a century. That seems like it’s likely to happen again. The total seems about right with five road games and three loseable games at home.
Tennessee – under 5.5 (+110) – 3*
It doesn’t seem like the Vol offense can be as bad as they were a year ago, but there’s a pretty good chance Keller Chryst is playing QB. Chryst had a good record at Stanford, but as far as I know Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love will not be lining up behind him. RB Ty Chandler was a highly touted guy coming out of high school, but he’ll be running behind a young and unproven line.
Defensively, the Vols are fine. They return their top four tacklers, but lose quite a few guys who were disruptors in both the run and pass game. They were gashed for 40+ points on five occasions last season.
Obviously, the very public coaching search for the Vols ended with Jeremy Pruitt. He may be a good HC, but no one really knows. For me, he’s still most notable for appearing in MTV’s Two-A-Days, a tremendous show by the way. His coordinators might be fine, but both are most notable for being the guy under the guy, under the other guy.
Phil Steele puts Tennessee’s schedule as 54th in the nation. I’m not sure what formula he uses, but I would tend to disagree with that ranking. I’d urge anyone to find a tougher five game stretch than this: Florida, at Georgia, at Auburn, Alabama, and at South Carolina. The rest of the schedule is manageable, but with that stretch occurring in the middle of the season, it’s got the potential to break them heading into November.
Vanderbilt – over 4.5 (-110) – 1*
I don’t know. Maybe I just feel bad after profiting from their failures – and rooting so hard for it – last year. Kyle Shurmur’s good. They should go 3-1 in non-con and they draw Ole Miss and Arkansas out of the West.
BEST BET TO WIN SEC
I waffled back and forth between the Gators and USC at +3000, but I’ve got more belief in Mullen to put a really quality offense on the field. I’d be surprised if they give up more than three touchdowns a game on defense. They don’t have to play Alabama or Auburn and they only have three true road games in SEC play this year and two of them are UT and Vandy.