Author: eburling

2018 CFB Picks: Week 4

Picks – 2 Units

All of these were given out on late Sunday night on Twitter.

INDIANA (+4.5) over Michigan State 

The line is now +5.

I’d say right now that there’s not a huge difference between the two teams. This line suggests that there’s a 7.5 or 8 point difference between the two. The Spartans have not appeared close to what they were expected to be heading into the season. Indiana’s really been more thoroughly dominant in their three wins than the final scores would indicate.

The Hoosiers aren’t the most explosive offense in the world, but that might suit them just fine in a game that will likely come down to ball control, turnovers, and field position.

MSU is 1-9 ATS in their last ten games as a favorite on the road. The Hoosiers won the last meeting between these two in Bloomington.

Northern Illinois (+10.5) over FLORIDA STATE

The line is now +10.

If FSU is going to suck so hard every week, I might as well recoup some of my loss from the season total bet that is in the shitter.

There aren’t many things that the Noles are good at right now, but if one thing really sticks out is that swiss cheese, turnstile-esque, alleged offensive line that they have. And that O-Line has to go against a character by the name of Sutton Smith. You probably haven’t heard of him, but he’s got 17 sacks in his last 16 games.

NIU can’t score, but at this point they have a Top 15 defense nationally. If the Noles can’t score once again this week, you have to start to wonder when it negatively impacts the mentality of the defense, also. They haven’t necessarily set the world on fire as it is.

TCU (-2.5) over TEXAS

The line is now -3.

I’m still firmly in the anti-Texas group. I’m not gonna be fooled by that 37-14 score they posted over USC. They gained a whopping 77 more yards and that’s with USC lacking any capability to run the ball and a banged-up true freshman QB.

TCU is the first offense Texas will play that actually has more than one dimension. Shawn Robinson made a couple of critical turnovers against Ohio State, but he still threw for 308 yards against the Buckeyes in his fourth career start. They’ve got a bevy of guys who can run the ball efficiently, including QB Robinson.

I have zero concern with a hangover from the Ohio State game for the Frogs. Gary Patterson is as good as it gets for preparing a team. And he owns Texas at this point. The last four years the Frogs have won this matchup by an AVERAGE of 30 points. They haven’t given up more than 10 points in any of those games. Since 2003, TCU is 47-7 as a road favorite and they’ve covered five of seven in the last couple years.

VANDERBILT (+2.5) over South Carolina

I will ride the Vandy train until it goes off the rails. South Carolina could be good. I don’t know. We haven’t seen anything to prove that they are.

I know Vandy is good at this point. They were dominant in the first two games against lesser opponents and then there was last week at Notre Dame. They lost the turnover battle 3-0, including a fumble at the one-yard line, missed a field goal, and settled for a field goal at the three. They lost by five, but they outgained the Irish and honestly looked like the better team in the final three quarters once they got settled down.

I’ll gladly take the 2.5, even though I don’t need it.

LOUISIANA MONROE (+7) over Troy

The line is now +4.5.

Always a good feeling to get 2.5 points of value. I’m not sure I’d take it at 4.5, but it should probably be 2.5 or 3.

Troy’s coming off of the big win at Nebraska. This is a big letdown spot for a couple of reasons. For starters, any time a Group of 5 beats a Power 5, you worry about the next week. And it’s a double whammy because Troy has the euphoria of the win, but honestly it didn’t really prove that much about them as a team. Why? Because it’s unclear if Nebraska is any good. They weren’t last year. They lost their opener at home to Colorado. And they didn’t have the services of stud freshman QB Adrian Martinez.

It could give the Trojans confidence, but it’s false confidence. Don’t forget, they were just a couple of weeks removed from being absolutely undressed by Boise State at home.

There’s also the part where Troy had a huge win last year at LSU and followed it up with a 19-8 loss at home to 4-8 South Alabama. I’m sure Neal Brown will remind them of that, but still.

Picks – 1 Unit

Clemson (-15) over GEORGIA TECH

Things I like:

  • Clemson just had a tune-up game against the option with Georgia Southern and gave up 7 points
  • The new cut blocking rules this year have made the option less effective
  • Clemson’s defense – especially up front – is ridiculous
  • GT is 1-9 all-time as a home dog of 7 points or more and hasn’t come close to covering under Paul Johnson

Mississippi State (-9) over KENTUCKY

I don’t know if Kentucky is actually good or not, but Mississippi State might be a Top 10 team and I’m going to hit you with the stat of all stats.

Here we go.

As a home underdog of 7 or more points, Kentucky has lost 18 straight and gone 3-15 ATS in those games with an average straight-up defeat of 22.2 PPG and an average ATS defeat of 8.0 PPG.

UNLV (+7.5) over ARKANSAS STATE

It’s late and I’m tired, but essentially it’s this: UNLV is a good running team, ASU has a poor rush defense. ASU relies on the pass, UNLV has a good pass defense. It should be 3 or less on the spread.

Texas State (+7) over UTSA

I guess the best way to put it is that I think both teams are somewhat equally bad. UTSA is 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite and they’ve scored a touchdown or less in four of those games.

Eastern Michigan (+12) over SAN DIEGO STATE

It’s only a single unit because EMU is on their third straight road game, but I’m not totally sure that it matters. EMU is just a dirty, grimy, grinding team…that has kind of learned how to throw the ball a little bit.

SDSU is coming off a big, dramatic win over Arizona State. I will say that I don’t think it matters much that Christian Chapman is out because he’s been a liability for years.

EMU is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog, which have all occurred in about a two-year span.

YTD: 14-13 (+1.0u)

Leans

Florida Atlantic (+13.5) over UCF

I don’t think UCF is two touchdowns better than FAU, but they’ve definitely had the more impressive start, even if it did come against atrocious teams.

Akron (+18.5) over IOWA STATE

This game is sandwiched between Iowa and Oklahoma on one side and TCU, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia on the other side for Iowa State. However, I think that letdown/look-ahead spot might be mitigated by Akron just beating Northwestern. Also tough to gauge how the Zips respond to beating their first Big Ten foe in literally forever.

MARSHALL (+5) over NC State

Tough to get a real read on either team yet, but Marshall might be a better team right now and they’re catching points at home.

PURDUE (+7) over Boston College

It’s the same angle on Purdue as last week. Just to vent a little in this space: Bill Connelly (who you should be following) does something called “Postgame Win Expectancy” where he takes the box score, runs it through the number machine, and it spits out how often that team would typically win the game based on the box score. Purdue is 0-3. Their PGWE is 3-0. They only had a 6% chance of going 0-3 and they are 0-3. Terrific.

Ohio (+8) over Cincinnati

I think Ohio is better than they’ve played so far, but Cincinnati has looked really good.

WAKE FOREST (+7.5) over Notre Dame

It’s hard to believe in a team that’s so one-dimensional offensively. Especially when they need to cover 7.5 on the road against a very underrated coach. However, Brandon Wimbush might be able to get it going this against a weak Wake pass defense.

GEORGIA STATE (+7.5) over Western Michigan

I still don’t think Western Michigan is good.

Rice (+14) over SOUTHERN MISS

I’m not sure Rice is horrendous.

Kansas (+7) over BAYLOR

Initially wrote this one down when Kansas was +9.5. I’m not sure the Jayhawks are better than Baylor, but they’ve definitely shown a lot more so far.

IOWA (+3) over Wisconsin

Probably would’ve taken this if Wisconsin hadn’t actually gone through with losing to BYU. This would almost assuredly be more points, as well. It’s also very difficult to believe in Iowa’s putrid offense so far, especially after their performance against the Badgers last year.

Arizona State (+17.5) over WASHINGTON

Washington’s offense has been pretty underwhelming so far and ASU provides a unique look defensively. Wouldn’t expect experienced QB Manny Wilkins to be intimidated going against the crowd in Seattle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 Season Total Tracker: Week 3

You can find the entire list of totals here.

5*

Florida Atlantic (over 8.5) wins 49-28 over Bethune-Cookman

(FAU 2-1)

The score didn’t end up the prettiest, but the Owls had a 29-0 lead after the first quarter and just kind of coasted.

Absolutely massive game at UCF on Friday. It’s not a necessity to get a win, but it would certainly help ease my stress level.

4*

Maryland (over 5) loses 35-14 to Temple (over 6.5, 3*)

(MD 2-1; Temple 1-2)

Stunning, to say the least. The largest of eggs laid by the Terps. A staggering lack of production from either of Maryland’s QBs. After a really strong two weeks, you hope that it’s just a mental lapse looking ahead to Big Ten play. Speaking of which, a home game with Minnesota this week is basically a must-win if they’re going to do anything more than push.

On the Temple side of things, I guess this keeps their over alive. Still feels pretty unlikely, though. But for the second straight season, a change in QB has jump-started things. Anthony Russo looked solid for his first start, which just happened to be on the road against a Big Ten squad.

Florida State (over 8) loses 30-7 to Syracuse

(FSU 1-2)

There will be no spin zone this week. This is without a doubt one of the worst bets I’ve ever made, all things considered. They might go 3-9.

3*

Duke (over 6) wins 40-27 at Baylor

(Duke 3-0)

It may not seem like a big deal to beat a team that was 1-11 a year ago, but after Daniel Jones went down at QB, there was some worry.

But Quentin Harris took over and did a fine job. He wasn’t the most efficient passer, but made some big ones and provided a rushing element.

The most daunting thing about taking the over with the Blue Devils was the two road games against Power 5 teams and a matchup with Army as their first three games of the season. Coming out of this stretch 3-0 is a huge win.

LSU (under 7) wins 22-21 at Auburn

(LSU 3-0)

I’d like to issue a formal apology to Coach O. I was wrong about the Tigers. At this point, 7-5 seems like the absolute worst case scenario

Nebraska (under 6.5) loses 24-19 to Troy

(Nebraska 0-2)

Hard to believe the Huskers could only give up 253 yards and still lose to Troy at home. Obviously, they need Martinez back. Even if he does come back soon, road games with Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northwestern are still left on the schedule. As is Michigan State at home.

Pitt (over 5) wins 24-19 over Georgia Tech

(Pitt 2-1)

Pretty much had to have this one and they probably need to win @ UNC this week, too. They’ve got a tough schedule.

Buffalo (over 6.5) wins 35-28 over Eastern Michigan

(Buffalo 3-0)

This one is looking pretty good. The Bulls had two games that I would call toss-ups the past two weeks and they’re 2-0 and things are looking pretty favorable with the remaining schedule. Tyree Jackson has been incredible.

Illinois (under 4) loses 25-19 to USF 

(Illinois 2-1)

The Illini are better than I expected, specifically on defense. I don’t need to explain that a 3-0 start would be problematic with the under at 4. Grandpa Lovie’s squad was leading late before a total blown coverage allowed USF to take the game. We dodged a bullet.

We’ll see if the Illini are favored the rest of the way.

Texas (under 8.5) wins 37-14 over USC

(Texas 2-1)

Good win for the Horns, but its unclear if USC is any good. Still feel pretty good about the under here.

UCLA (over 5.5) loses 38-14 to Fresno State

(UCLA 0-3)

Yeah, this just isn’t gonna happen. They might be favored over Arizona at home. Otherwise, they’re gonna have to pull five upsets. Not gonna hold my breath.

 

 

 

2018 CFB Picks: Week 3

5-3 last week. I’m not gonna lie, it got a little lengthy this week. If you’re not fond of words, I suggest just looking for the bold letters. This week we’ve got three lists, an FCS section, and a 46.5 point dog. I even took a game that most people might actually watch, so that’s nice.

Picks

ARMY (-6) over Hawaii

BODY CLOCK GAME

Big time body clock game, fellas. Hawaii makes their way all the way to the east coast for a noon EST kickoff, which is equal to 6 AM on the islands. The Bows played one game last year that was morning time locally and it was a 38-0 loss to Utah State.

Hawaii has obviously looked good so far, but I think this is a tough spot for them and Army should be ready. The Black Knights just went against a pass-heavy offense and limited Liberty to 14 points.

I don’t think it’s a question that Army will be efficient with the option against Hawaii’s poor run defense. Navy had a field day running against them, but just couldn’t get any stops defensively. The Bows gave up 250+ rushing yards on five occasions during Mountain West play last year.

Overall, I just think Hawaii is due for a stinker. They’ve been better than advertised so far, but the best team they’ve played – Navy – ranks 100th in S&P+.

PENN STATE (-35) over Kent State

I don’t really need to get into the X’s and O’s of this thing. Kent State might be a little better than anticipated, but they’re obviously no match for the Nittany Lions.

And James Franklin has proven over the past couple years that he’s not afraid to run up the score a bit if he can, with results like 51-6, 66-3, 56-0, and 52-0.

Rutgers (+3) over KANSAS

I was very happy for Kansas last weekend. However, Jayhawk football has had so much difficulty having any kind of success, but they’ve been even worse at sustaining any type of success. They haven’t won back-to-back games since the first two games of the 2011 season when Turner Gill was HC.

Since then, here’s how they’ve followed up wins since 2012:

  • 2012: lost 25-24 to Rice at home (they were -12)
  • 2013: lost 23-14 at Rice (they were +6)
  • 2013: lost 54-16 to Texas Tech (they were +16.5)
  • 2013: lost 34-0 at Iowa State (they were +4)
  • 2014: lost 41-3 at Duke (they were +11)
  • 2014: lost 23-0 to Texas (they were +10.5)
  • 2014: lost 34-30 to TCU (they were +27.5)
  • 2015: j/k they didn’t win in 2015
  • 2016: lost 37-21 to Ohio (they were -3)
  • 2016: lost 34-19 at Kansas State (they were +23.5)
  • 2017: lost 45-27 to Central Michigan (they were -3)

So to recap, they’re 0-10 defending a win and 2-8 ATS. On average, they missed the spread by 11.5 points per game (that includes the two wins).

So I’m gonna go ahead and take Rutgers. They got murdered by Ohio State, but that always happens. #PeopleForget they were 4-3 against teams outside of the Top 25 last year. They also didn’t spend week one losing to Nicholls State.

Vanderbilt (+14.5) over NOTRE DAME

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but Vandy might be Top 25-ish good. MTSU and Nevada aren’t exactly murderer’s row, but they’ve been really good. Kyle Shurmur is playing like you’d expect a third-year starter to play. They’ve ran the ball really well, although that’ll obviously be tougher against the Irish.

But Vandy’s also been exceptional stopping the run so far, only giving up 150 total rushing yards on 2.5 YPC. Which means Brandon Wimbush is going to have to be effective through the air. Brandon Wimbush has completed 54% of his passes for 467 yards, 1 TD, and 4 INTs.

UAB (+4) over Tulane

I’m playing the flip-flop game with UAB. I feel like this is gonna be a grinder and they’ve bounced back from losses pretty well under Bill Clark.

North Texas (+7) over ARKANSAS

I thought the expectation for Arkansas this year was that they could make a bowl if things went their way, but they would probably be better late in the season. That appears to be the case as the Hogs dropped one at Colorado State, who looked dreadful in their first two games.

North Texas has predictably been tearing it up offensively and may have a defense to go along with it. They gave up 23 points to SMU, but all 23 came in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.

The Mean Green can rack up yards through the air with the best of them, averaging nearly 460 yards per game so far. Arkansas just gave up 389 yards to CSU last week and its been a recurring issue. The SEC isn’t known for teams that air it out, but two that do – Missouri and Ole Miss – put 448 and 368 on them in 2017.

Arkansas has the better talent, but they’re at a disadvantage whenever Mason Fine drops back for NT. The Mean Green will be able to score points. I’m not sure the Hogs are far enough in their transition from Bielema-offense to Morris-offense for them to win by two scores in a shootout.

Ohio State (-13) over TCU

I don’t like to go purely on gut instinct, but I’ve just got a feeling Ohio State is going to blow TCU’s doors off. I wasn’t quite as high on the Frogs this year as last and they haven’t really done anything to make me feel better. The SMU score ended up not looking so bad, but it was a struggle for a while. Granted, the weather wasn’t great.

But Shawn Robinson is still pretty inexperienced at QB and that’s a problem against the Buckeyes.

TCU’s a really good program, but they’ve not fared particularly well whenever they play elite teams, at least recently. They looked like they were close to Oklahoma’s level last season until the two took the field together. The results were two Sooner blowout victories. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same here.

Picks *SPECIAL FCS EDITION*

Northern Iowa (+20) over IOWA

This is mostly a situational spot, but the Panthers are usually a decent bet when playing one of the big in-state schools. Here’s how they’ve performed in those games:

  • 2017: 42-24 loss to Iowa State
  • 2016: 25-20 win over Iowa State
  • 2015: 31-7 loss at Iowa State
  • 2014: 31-23 loss at Iowa
  • 2013: 28-20 win at Iowa State
  • 2012: 27-16 loss at Iowa
  • 2011: 20-19 loss at Iowa State

You get the picture. I’m not telling you they’re going to win, but history says you’re not going to see them in one of those 66-0 blowouts. They’re a Top 25 FCS team and they’re coming off a bye week after a disappointing 26-23 loss to #15 Montana on the road.

They’ll be charged up for the Hawkeyes. And this game is sandwiched between Iowa State and Wisconsin for the Hawks, which are two of the three biggest games for them on the schedule. Letdown spot, potentially.

Murray State (+37.5) over KENTUCKY

The Wildcats are obviously coming off a huge win for them, finally beating Florida. So we’re looking for a letdown spot here. If we’re looking at recent history, the last big win for UK was probably at South Carolina last year. They followed that up with a loss at home to Florida (who ended up 4-7).

The year before, they won at Louisville, but that was the last regular season game of the year. FWIW, they lost the bowl game by 15 to Georgia Tech.

But going back to 2015, after the Cats beat #25 Missouri, they responded by having to finish off a 6-5 FCS Eastern Kentucky team in OT.

And that’s really the only three times Kentucky’s been in this situation under Mark Stoops and I would argue that the win in Gainesville was the biggest of them all. Letdowns are natural and somewhat expected and with Mississippi State up next for BBN, it’s a prime spot for Murray to hang around. I’d prefer a first half line here, but they’re not out. If I find one later in the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Rhode Island (+10) over UCONN

Well, UConn appears to be dreadful. They’ve played two pretty good teams, but still, losing your first two games by an average of 47 points after the excitement of the start of the season has to really take the wind out of the old sail.

Here’s UConn’s performance against FCS schools recently:

  • 2017: 27-20 win over 4-7 Holy Cross
  • 2016: 24-21 win over 6-5 Maine
  • 2015: 20-15 win over 6-5 Villanova
  • 2014: 19-16 win over 5-7 Stony Brook
  • 2013: 33-18 LOSS to 13-3 Towson

To sum that up, the Huskies are +0.6 PPG in their last five meetings with FCS teams.

And Rhode Island is coming in hot. They were predicted to finish last in the CAA, but shoved it down everyone’s throats with a road victory at #15 Delaware in the opener. Last week, they rolled over Albany in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. The Rams were up 45-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

I just might sprinkle a little on the +270 money line.

Delaware State (+46.5) over WESTERN MICHIGAN

Listen, I get it. This one is disgusting. Delaware State is disgusting. But it’s a principle thing. There are certain teams that should never be giving 46.5 points and Western Michigan definitely qualifies. They’re not a Top 100 FBS team. Their defense appears to be hot garbage so far, giving up 55 at home to Syracuse and 49 on the road at Michigan (35 in the first half). Wouldn’t you say a good performance for WMU would be, say, winning 56-10? Yes? They wouldn’t cover. Give me the Hornets and give me the 46.5.

YTD: 7-7 (-0.7u)

Leans

MICHIGAN (-35) over SMU

SMU looks terrible and Michigan’s offense looked capable of at least piling up the numbers against weak competition last week. I still don’t trust Harbaugh and his 32 Power offense enough to lay this many points, though.

South Florida (-10) over ILLINOIS

I liked Illinois last week and they came through, but USF’s offense looks like it’ll keep humming with Blake Barnett at QB. Just don’t have a full read on either team yet, however.

Eastern Michigan (+5) over BUFFALO

EMU may actually have a decent offense this year, but they still seem to convert yards into points. Not sure how either team reacts here after big road wins for both.

Arkansas State (-1) over TULSA

I think Arkansas State is going to be the better team, but the Red Wolves just spent last Saturday getting mauled for 3.5 hours by Alabama and Tulsa looked decent against Texas.

PURDUE (+7) over Missouri

I’m not going full homer here, but the public is all over Mizzou, yet the line has only come down a half point. Purdue’s not good, but they’re a couple of plays away from 2-0. Mizzou has looked good so far, but they did lose this matchup by 35 points at home last year.

UTAH (+6.5) over Washington

The half point is a big deal and I don’t believe quite enough in Utah to actually buy it. But Rice-Eccles is a really tough place to play and Utah might be the best team in the Pac-12 South.

 

 

 

2018 Season Total Tracker: Week 2

You can find the entire list of totals here.

5*

Florida Atlantic (over 8.5) wins 33-27 over Air Force

This was big after last week’s blowout. And it really wasn’t as close as the six-point spread indicates. The Owls appear to be in good hands with Chris Robison at QB, going 33-40 for 471 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs. Tune-up this week with Bethune Cookman before a big one at UCF in a couple weeks.

4*

Maryland (over 5) wins 45-14 at Bowling Green

I was worried about a letdown for the Terps and we almost had it. They trailed 14-10 at halftime against a pretty toothless BGSU team. But a 28-0 fourth quarter ended all those concerns. The Terps only gave up 158 yards of total offense.

Florida State (over 8) wins 36-26 over Samford

NEVER A DOUBT, BOYS!!!

It wasn’t pretty, but it’s not a big surprise after the opening night disaster and the fact that Samford’s a lot better than I’m sure most people realize. Sagarin ratings have them better than 30% of FBS teams.

But of course there’s a high standard in Tallahassee and we need nine wins. A positive sign was that Francois was able to produce a bunch of offense through the air and the Noles won the turnover battle convincingly.

Not good news: they gave up a ton of yards and Ricky Aguayo’s confidence might be completely gone.

East Carolina (under 3.5) wins 41-19 over UNC

Obviously not a positive development, but my opinion on the Pirates still hasn’t changed much. They can be really good on offense, but inconsistency is a staple under Montgomery. They beat NC State in Week 2 in 2016 to move to 2-0 and ECU still ended up 3-9.

3*

Buffalo (over 6.5) wins 36-29 over Temple (over 6.5)

On the surface, this seems like good and bad, but this was by far the better result. I gave up on Temple after the first game. They suck and there’s really no excuse for it. Buffalo has hope and this puts them in a great position.

Central Michigan (over 4.5) loses 31-7 to Kansas

Things are bleak with the Chipps. I’m gonna need John Bonamego to do what he does best and that’s win football games.

Duke (over 6) wins 21-7 at Northwestern

Great win for Duke and they’ve looked like a possible 9 or 10 win team so far. But it’s not all good news. QB Daniel Jones is now out indefinitely, which means the Blue Devils go from a possible first-round pick to a guy that’s thrown 15 career passes. Yikes. If you’d like to try and spin it, the Blue Devils haven’t been winning because of stellar offense and they’ve still got four very winnable games left at home this year.

Florida (over 8) loses 27-16 to Kentucky

Hard to find any positives. I knew the Gator offense might take some time to develop, but I didn’t think they’d be giving up 457 yards to Kentucky. I’m not saying they’re a lost cause, but tough to hang your hat on much so far.

Iowa (over 7.5) wins 13-3 over Iowa State

It was unwatchable, but eight hideous wins still pays. I was kind of expecting the offense to lead the way for the Hawkeyes this year, but that defense is dominant.

I’ll admit I’m a little worried about this week. Northern Iowa is a really good FCS program and it’s always a grind when UNI takes on one of the big in-state programs. They’ve beaten Iowa State at least a couple of times lately. And this game is sandwiched between Iowa State and Wisconsin.

Michigan State (over 8.5) loses 16-13 to Arizona State

This just doesn’t give the Spartans a lot of room for error. Obviously they still have to play the other big three from the East – fortunately two at home – and road games with Maryland and Indiana, who have both looked pretty solid so far. They also have a road game with Nebraska late in the year, which you would imagine is a team that will be quite a bit better late in the season than they are now.

Nebraska (under 6.5) loses 33-28 to Colorado

We’ll see if this bet ever actually comes to fruition after the Akron cancellation, but this felt like a game the Huskers had to have with their brutal road schedule.

 

 

2018 CFB Picks: Week 2

Predictably, it was a losing week to start at 2-4. Also predictably the leans were 5-4. I’m not afraid to admit I tend to struggle early in the year. That’s why everything bet is only a unit.

With that said….HERE’S EIGHT LOCKS OF THE CENTURY

Picks

ARMY (-8) over Liberty

This reeks of an overreaction to Week 1. Liberty unexpectedly rocked Old Dominion, who was supposed to be fairly decent by C-USA standards. However, I’m still looking at the big picture of Flame football here. This is their first year in FBS. The last three years they’ve been 6-5 at the FCS level. Meanwhile, Army is coming off a 10-win season. They struggled at Duke, but I’m a big believer of the Blue Devils this year.

The biggest match-up reason to like this game is the Black Knight rushing attack. If you can’t stop the run against a triple option team, chances are you’re not gonna win. Liberty did a good job containing ODU’s running game last week, but the Monarchs were one of the worst rushing teams in the country a year ago. Which takes me back to a year ago. The Flames gave up 225 rushing YPG on an average of 5.5 YPC.

If you’re looking for specifics, Liberty played a triple option attack in Kennesaw State last year. They gave up 498 rushing yards. I repeat: FOUR. HUNDRED. NINETY-EIGHT. RUSHING YARDS.

COASTAL CAROLINA (+10) over UAB

I’m still a little skeptical of UAB. They opened with a 52-0 win over Savannah State, but that doesn’t really say much. The Tigers are 13-86 the past decade and they play in a bad league.

My skepticism with the Blazers originates from what felt like a 2017 season where almost everything went right. They won four games by a touchdown or less last year, including one at home against this Coastal team. The teams they beat soundly: Alabama A&M, UTEP, Rice, and Southern Miss. They weren’t a model of consistency either, losing games to both Charlotte and Ball State, who combined for three wins all year.

Coastal was the opposite in terms of “luck”. They went 1-5 in games decided by one score. They opened with an expected loss to South Carolina, but I was impressed they put together four scoring drives with none of them coming from a short field.

I just don’t think these teams were nearly as far apart as their records would indicate a year ago (and Coastal was without their HC all year, btw). The line here suggests that on a neutral field, UAB is almost two touchdowns better. I don’t see it at all.

VANDERBILT (-8) over Nevada

I know there’s little expected of Vandy this year, but man this seems low. I was really impressed with the Dores second half against MTSU in the opener. They only gained 99 yards in the first half and took a 14-7 lead into the break, thanks to a defensive TD.

But in the second half, Vandy was essentially perfect offensively. They only had three possessions, but all three resulted in TDs. The drive chart looked like this:

  • 7 plays, 92 yards, 4:25 TOP
  • 12 plays, 80 yards, 4:56 TOP
  • 12 plays, 80 yards, 7:04 TOP

Vandy’s known for defense, but they slipped last year and the slide was expected to continue this year. It’s only one game, but the Dores looked sharp against MTSU. The only scoring drive they gave up took 15 plays, seven minutes, and MTSU had to convert four third downs. Maybe most notable is that they limited the explosive plays, only allowing two plays of 20+ yards and none over 30.

Nevada put up an eye-popping 72 points last week, but it came against a Portland State team that went 0-11 last year and the Pack really poured it on in the second half against a team that appeared to totally give up. Nevada was expected to improve this year, but they were still 3-9 a year ago and weren’t really competitive against above average teams.

Vandy obviously struggles to do much in the SEC, but they’ve still handled their business the past couple years against Group of 5 teams.

Memphis (-6) over NAVY

This one’s pretty simple. Navy got blown out by Hawaii because they couldn’t defend the pass at all. Memphis can really pass. The Midshipmen are also coming off that long trip to the islands. It takes half-a-day at best to get back to Annapolis. Memphis should be well rested after a tune-up game with Mercer. Really tough spot for Navy.

It should be noted that it may be a little windy and wet for this one. Nothing extreme, but could be viewed as a negative for Memphis.

North Carolina (-16.5) over EAST CAROLINA

Hate losing a couple points of value here, but ECU is truly awful.

Here’s their results against Power 5/Top 25 teams last year:

  • 56-20 loss at West Virginia
  • 64-17 loss at home to Virginia Tech
  • 61-31 loss at home to USF
  • 63-21 loss at UCF
  • 70-13 loss at Memphis

UNC has their own share of problems right now, but they’re good enough right now to win by 21+.

UTSA (+16) over Baylor

I still haven’t figured out why the consensus seems to be so high on Baylor. UTSA didn’t have a strong showing in Week 1 – but despite my doubts of Arizona State – I still would’ve put them at least a tier or two above Baylor. Unlike last year the Bears won their opener against the FCS, but the Bears were favored by 41 and didn’t come close against an Abilene Christian team that has seven wins the last three years. They gave up 466 yards of total offense and 7 yards per play. ACU didn’t have that many yards in a single game last year.

Of course Baylor scored their points, but they’re playing a much better team this week on both sides of the ball.

UTSA has had to replace some playmakers this year, but this is probably the time to mention that the Roadrunners won in Waco last year. That seems notable.

I could be wrong about Baylor, but I’m going to need to see a 1-11 team do more than beat Abilene Christian before I can remotely believe they should be laying 16 on the road.

HAWAII/Rice over 70

What we’ve learned through two weeks is that Hawaii can really rack up the points. 102 of them through two games.  So far the template has been for the Bows to get up big early and then allow the opponent a bunch of late touchdowns. I will take that.

Rice has been an awful program for a while now and as it relates to the over, the Owls have given up 40+ in 14 of their past 26 games. They should be able to score as well against Hawaii. Rice has put up 58 points through their first two. Their strong suit is running the ball and Hawaii just gave up 326 rushing yards to Navy and might be a little banged up after going against the option.

ILLINOIS (-9.5) over Western Illinois

Illinois sucks, but they should be able to handle this. Remember last year they had an opening week scare against Ball State, but responded well the next week by shutting down WKU. We’re hoping for the same after a scare against Kent State.

Lovie’s been a disaster in Champaign, but they really haven’t had any of these types of losses. His only FCS opponent was his first game as HC and they won 52-3.

If the Illini can’t cover this number over the projected 7th best team in the Missouri Valley, they should probably just fire Lovie now.

Leans

Arkansas State (+36) over ALABAMA

I’m always afraid to bet against Bama, but the Tide play at least one of these games every year and they tend to take it a little easier. For instance, last year they beat FSU in a big first game, kinda coasted through Fresno and CSU, and then obliterated Vandy 59-0 and Ole Miss 66-3 the next two weeks.

I think this is a similar type situation right before the Tide open SEC play next week. It also helps that Arkansas State can really pass and the secondary is a bit of a question mark still for Bama.

Maryland (-16) over BOWLING GREEN

BGSU’s defense is atrocious and I think the Terps will put a big number on them, but a little worried about a letdown and they’re on the road here.

Wyoming (+20) over MISSOURI

Still a Wyoming believer. Still not a Derek Dooley believer. Probably would take it if it were at 21.

Fresno State (+2.5) over MINNESOTA

I think Fresno’s the better team, but Minnesota might be better than I thought.

Arkansas (-13.5) over COLORADO STATE

Colorado State appears to be horrible, but it seems like something Arkansas could screw up early in the Chad Morris tenure.

Penn State (-8.5) over PITT

I still think the Nittany Lions are going to be very good.

BOISE STATE (-31.5) over UConn

Really impressive performance by Boise last week and it’s the home opener. UConn looked terrible against UCF and now they get to go on a road trip to the blue turf. Fun.

ARIZONA STATE (+6) over Michigan State

I will do a total 180 on Herm if they win this game. It’s a dangerous spot for the Spartans.

YTD: 2-4 (-2.4u)

 

 

2018 Season Total Tracker: Week 1

You can find the entire list of totals here.

Going to try to do this every week, but I think I quit after about a month last year. No promises. Not going to touch on all 19 of the 3* plays, but just a few of the more significant results from week-to-week.

5*

FAU (over 8.5) loses 63-14 to Oklahoma

(FAU 0-1)

Uhhhhhhhhh, well, could’ve been better! In the grand scheme of things, it’s only one loss and it’s a game that was a planned loss. With that said, I’d feel a lot better if it had been the slightest bit competitive for at least a quarter.

The positive news is that the schedule obviously gets exponentially easier – aside from a road trip to UCF – and things will only get better. It also helps to know that FAU started off on maybe a worse foot last year – getting wrecked by Navy at home – before eventually steamrolling the entire C-USA.

I’m not officially worried yet, but I’d really appreciate a win over Air Force this week.

4*

East Carolina (under 3.5) loses 28-23 to North Carolina A&T

(ECU 0-1)

This was a much more positive development. I felt I generously gave ECU five winnable games this year and this was clearly the most likely and the Pirates blew it. A&T even gifted them 14 penalties (for 113 yards).

But ECU turned the ball over three times and only averaged 4.0 yards per play. They’re terrible and I have no sympathy for them.

Maryland (over 5) wins 34-29 over Texas

This was HUGE. Obviously, things still aren’t the best surrounding the program around College Park, but it doesn’t appear to have affected the on-field product yet.

Again, the offense is pretty damn good without Max Bortenschlager running the show. The Terps didn’t put up monster numbers, but 400 yards and 34 points against what’s supposed to be the Big 12’s best defense is a pretty good day.

With that game out of the way, Maryland has a great chance to start off 4-0.

Florida State (over 8) loses 24-3 to Virginia Tech

Prepare to get spin zoned off the planet.

Things can’t get any worse/uglier. I don’t know if this makes it any better, but a lot of FSU’s problems last night were self-inflicted. I’m not sure the penalties will go away because it’s kind of a Willie Taggart special, but I assume Willie might reconsider going Wildcat on 3rd & Goal from the 10 from here on. I also assume they won’t lose every turnover battle 5-0. I also assume that Ricky Aguayo will make the majority of his short-to-intermediate kicks. I’m also assuming the Noles won’t have a touchdown called a non-touchdown every game, in which the Noles for some reason hurried up to snap the ball instead of lobbying for a review and on said hurry-up snap got whistled for a false start.

There were also some positives from last night, believe it or not. After all, before that garbage time drive after the game-ending fumble, FSU’s defense had only given up 235 yards of offense. I also thought Deondre Francois was halfway decent aside from the desperation interceptions.

The obvious issue that I’m not sure gets solved is the offensive line. Hard to do much of anything when you can’t block, regardless of how much talent you have at the skill positions. VT blitzed all night and the Noles didn’t have many answers.

But the O-Line can be minimized if the Noles can just be better on first down. They’re still in the early stages of installing the offense and you’d think things will get a lot crisper as the season goes on. If they can just get drives started with positive plays, Taggart’s tempo offense becomes a lot more lethal. Your O-Line doesn’t have to be that good if you can just wear the defense out with superior athletes operating at a high pace.

But clearly there’s still a long way to go. I’m not giving up yet, though.

Just forget I said any of this if they lose to Samford.

3*

Tennessee (under 5.5) loses 40-17 to West Virginia

The Vols were dogs heading in, but you never really know what to expect in Week 1, especially under a new head coach. Obviously, they can get a lot better, but I’m not sure they have enough time with that brutal five-game stretch starting in three weeks.

There’s still three wins built in to the schedule with some truly awful competition, but the offense still isn’t near where it needs to be to face top teams in the SEC. There were some individuals that performed well against WVU, but 300 total yards of offense against a defense that is borderline Top 100 isn’t much to write home about.

Temple (over 6.5) loses 19-17 to Villanova

There’s really no sugar-coating this one. It was an unmitigated disaster. There’s really nothing good to say about it. I’d almost prefer they keep losing the next couple weeks, so at least the Buffalo and Maryland overs can keep going.

Texas (under 8.5) loses 34-29 to Maryland

This was a doubly great game for the totals. From a Texas perspective, they looked largely the same as they did a year ago. They still don’t have a true feature back to work with and the pass game still has its peaks and valleys and ends up fairly mediocre.

UCLA (over 5.5) loses 26-17 to Cincinnati

Not an ideal start for the Chipper. At least the defense was pretty good.

 

2018 CFB Week 1 Picks

It’s the first week, so I’m not going to get too crazy here. All picks are just for a unit. My best advice I can give you is to not shoot your wad the first couple of weeks of the season.

Picks

UCONN (+24) over UCF

As much as anything, this is a bet on coaching. That’s not necessarily a slight against Josh Heupel, but his OC history suggests the Knights might start slow as do some other situations.

The big fear you have if you’re on the Huskies here is that they’re just going to get blown out of their own stadium because UCF is scoring every possession. However, Heupel was the OC the last two years at Mizzou and Utah State for one year before that. The Tigers lit it up last year in the opener, but that was against 3-8 FCS team Missouri State team that gave up 38 PPG. The next three games – all at home – Mizzou only managed 10 PPG. The year before they started with an 11-point outing. In his one year at USU, the Aggies started the first three games averaging 14 PPG, which included a 12-point effort against Southern Utah.

Of course Heupel has Mackenzie Milton at QB to help the situation this year, but it’s still a new offense to Milton and Heupel had Drew Lock to work with last year, too. Milton is also replacing two of his big playmakers at WR/TE.

There’s also the fact that we have no idea what Heupel can do as a HC. It was a bit of a curious hire and he’s replacing Scott Frost, who couldn’t possibly have done a better job. If you look at Group of 5 teams trying to replace big-time coaches last year, it was quite a drop-off.

  • PJ Fleck went 13-1 in 2016 at WMU, who went 6-6 last year under Tim Lester
  • Tom Herman went 22-5 in two years at Houston, who went 7-5 last year under Major Applewhite
  • Jeff Brohm went 22-5 his last two years at WKU, who went 6-7 last year under Mike Sanford

So yeah, I’m betting against UCF being nearly as dominant as they were last year with the change in coaching and the loss of quite a bit of NFL talent. I also believe Randy Edsall is a really good coach and will field a more competitive UConn team this year. I think the line is a rollover from last year and less of a projection for this year.

New Mexico State (+21.5) over MINNESOTA

This line has predictably jumped after NMSU looked pretty miserable in Week 0 against Wyoming at home. Gotta be honest, doesn’t really bother me that much. For one, I really liked Wyoming heading into the season. Secondly, I think it’s an advantage for NMSU to have a game under their belt. Their flaws were exposed and now they have tangible things to work on this week. And finally, of the four teams that lost in Week 0 last year, three of them won the next game. I realize that’s kind of a meaningless stat without context, but those three teams that bounced back with a win were Oregon State, Rice, and San Jose State. Here’s context: THOSE THREE TEAMS COMBINED FOR A TOTAL OF FOUR WINS LAST YEAR AND THREE OF THEM WERE THE GAME AFTER WEEK ZERO.

So yeah, I think it’s an advantage for NMSU.

Also an advantage, Minnesota is starting a preferred walk-on at QB, who also happens to be a true freshman. And I realize that Zack Annexstad had scholarship offers to play at mediocre programs, but at the end of the day he’s still a two-star true freshman starting at QB for a Big Ten team. Not good. He’s going up against a veteran defense that can apply a lot of pressure.

NMSU might only need to score a single touchdown to cover this game.

Florida Atlantic (+21) over OKLAHOMA

Obviously I’m pretty high on the Owls this year. I won’t rehash everything again, but with 10 starters back you have to think the Owls will be ready to go against Kyler Murray in his first start in Norman.

On the other side of the ball, RB Devin Singletary (1,920 rushing yards, 32 rushing TDs) could be a big problem for a Sooner D that had a lot of holes last year. FAU has to start a new QB, but all their options have a ton of talent. Jason Driskel was decent last year, but he wasn’t asked to really do all that much.

UTSA (+19) over ARIZONA STATE

I would think this would be a pretty low-scoring game. Arizona State has the potential to be explosive, but UTSA was a Top 20 defense nationally last year. The Roadrunners have a lot to replace offensively, but they weren’t good to begin with. Last year they won at Baylor. The year before they nearly beat this Sun Devil team in the Alamodome. Since Frank Wilson took over in San Antonio, UTSA has only lost by more than two touchdowns on one occasion.

And, yes, I’m going to continue to bet against ASU until Herm proves he has any idea what he’s doing as a college HC.

Central Michigan (+17) over KENTUCKY

CMU always seems undervalued and matchup-wise I think RB Jonathan Ward versus an atrocious Wildcat run defense could be big for the Chips. Benny Snell is probably going to be the majority of the UK offense early on, but CMU returns six of their front seven and should be able to at least slow Snell down.

But the real reason for this play: Kentucky rarely blows anybody out, especially early in the season. Last year they beat Southern Miss by 7, EMU by 4, and EKU by 11. In 2016, they lost to Southern Miss. They did beat NMSU by 20, but it was a 7-point game headed to the 4th. In 2015, they beat ULL and EKU by 7 each.

Combine that trait with a Week 2 game looming in Gainesville against the Gators and there’s some upset potential here.

North Carolina A&T (+7.5) over EAST CAROLINA

I talked about this game a little bit in the ECU season preview, but I’ll rehash a bit here. NC A&T was 12-0 last year, including a win over FBS opponent Charlotte, who rated pretty similar to ECU in power rankings. ECU was 3-9 last year and that included a 20-point beating they suffered to James Madison in Week 1. They improved offensively as the season went on, but the Pirates lose both their QBs and three of their four top WRs. They were horrendous in every single facet of the game defensively. They have a new DC who may help, but he has a lot of holes that need patched up.

A&T also has the advantage of already playing a game. They opened the season last week with a neutral-site win over FCS #6 Jacksonville State (the Aggies opened at #14 themselves). A&T is returning their QB, RB, and quite a few playmakers on defense. They have a new HC in Sam Washington, but he’d been the DC here for six years.

Although the two play in different subdivisions, they rated about the same in the Sagarin ratings last year. ECU returns only 49% of their overall production this year and more than half of that is from a wretched defense. It doesn’t include key parts of the passing game, which the Pirates thrive on. I think the offense will be slow coming out of the gates and it’ll allow the Aggies to keep pace on Saturday.

Leans

WESTERN MICHIGAN (+6) over Syracuse

I really don’t think there’s a ton of separation between the two teams and it’s a tricky game for the Orange.

San Diego State (+14) over STANFORD

I mean, the Aztecs did beat them last year. I like the Cardinal this year, though.

Akron (+26) over NEBRASKA

Seems like so many points for a team that went 4-8 last year and is starting a true frosh at QB. I just can’t put my faith in an Akron team that will likely be down to start the year and going into what should be a wild environment in Lincoln.

Kent State (+16.5) over ILLINOIS

Illinois stinks and probably shouldn’t give this many points to anybody, but Kent has a lot to figure out.

FIU (+11) over Indiana

Dangerous game for IU, who has a lot of question marks at skill positions and needs to replace some defensive studs. However, FIU has to replace a ton on defense.

Maryland (+13.5) over Texas

If not for the black cloud around the program, I’d probably take it. After all, the Terps won in Austin last year before the QB position went to hell.

NORTH TEXAS (-4) over SMU

Should be a great game to watch if you wanna see points.

WYOMING (pick) over Washington State

It opened at +4, but is to the point now where the Cowboys are even favored in some places. No longer think there’s any value to the Wyoming side.

HAWAII (+10) over Navy

I liked it when it was 14. Once again, all value lost after a stellar Week 0 performance by Hawaii.

Miami FL (-3) over LSU

I think LSU is gonna suck, but something about Miami still scares me.

2018 National Title, Playoff, New Year’s Six and Heisman Picks

NATIONAL TITLE

Wisconsin +2700

Shoutout Rico Bosco. I’m with him here. I’m firmly in the camp that there’s really only maybe seven to eight teams every year that could actually win the national title. Wisconsin is one of those teams. Just to recap their season last year: 12-0 regular season, six-point loss to Ohio State in the B1G championship, rolled over Miami in the Orange Bowl. They’ve got a lot coming back from that roster. Yes, they have a difficult schedule, but they can afford at least one slip-up, if not two.

PLAYOFF

Washington +220

There’s no value for any second tier team from the ACC, Big Ten, or SEC here. You might as well just take them to win the league because you’ll get better odds. However, you do get better odds on Pac-12 and Big 12 teams. Washington is around +100 to win the Pac-12, but due to the Pac-12’s standing in the national landscape, you can actually get value on them to make the playoff. The Huskies aren’t a lock to win the league, but they’re pretty damn close. They’ve been to the playoff before and if they beat Auburn Week 1 and go undefeated or even just lose one game, I think they’re almost a lock for the playoff.

NEW YEAR’S SIX

Mississippi State +220

Not in love with much here. Was looking for a line on FAU, but couldn’t find one. The Bulldogs have somewhat of a chance to start 9-0 before heading to Tuscaloosa. They have road games with LSU and Kansas State and home games with Florida and Auburn before Alabama, but they can win all four if they have a couple breaks go their way.

HEISMAN

Jonathan Taylor +1000
Trace McSorley +1500
JK Dobbins +2200
AJ Dillon +4000

Full disclosure: not a strong showing last year. Well, I thought I had it wrapped up in October with Saquon, but that slowly unraveled. Outside of that, it was a disaster. Bo Scarbrough only ran for 600 yards. Brandon Wimbush was benched multiple times and was basically holding Notre Dame back from making the playoff. And of course Jacob Eason, who was completely cucked by Jake Fromm and only threw SEVEN PASSES all season before transferring. Tough.

This year I’m keeping it simple and living by a revolutionary philosophy: pick guys with proven production.

Taylor nearly ran for 2,000 yards as a freshman, has the most ridiculous O-Line in front of him, and plays for a Top 5 team.

McSorley has thrown for 7,200 yards and 57 TDs the last two years and added 850 rushing yards an 18 TDs and he’ll probably be throwing even more this year. He also plays for a Top 10 team.

JK Dobbins ran for 1,400 yards as a freshman and plays for a Top 10 team that has to replace its long-time starting QB. He put up that yardage while only getting 20+ carries on one occasion.

AJ Dillon’s numbers over the last seven games of his freshman campaign: 1,256 rushing yards (179.4 YPG) and 12 rushing TDs. BC isn’t a Top 10 team, but they’ve got a great OL and the potential to win 8 or 9 games, which is all your team needs to have a player in Heisman consideration.

2018 CFB Season Win Totals: Recap of All 130 and Sun Belt

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.

Big Ten: East / West
SEC: West / East
Independents
MAC
Pac-12: North / South
ACC: Atlantic / Coastal
AAC: East / West
Big 12

Mountain West
C-USA

SUN BELT EAST

Appalachian State – over 8.5 (even) – 1*

The Mountaineers have to replace their four-year starting QB and their DC among several other things, but they’re still one of the best in the league and the schedule features minimal challenges.

Troy – over 7.5 (-140) – 1*

The Trojans face similar challenges as App State, but the schedule is a little tougher.

Georgia State – under 4.5 (-115) – 1*

Georgia Southern – over 5.5 (-200) – 1*

Coastal Carolina – over 4 (+105) – 2*

SUN BELT WEST

Arkansas State – over 8.5 (-175) – 2*

Justice Hansen is one of the best QBs in the country and he’s got the WRs to make it the Red Wolves a lethal passing attack. The schedule is set up for big things, but the juice here isn’t worth the squeeze.

UL Monroe – over 5.5 (-140) – 2*

Truly a team with two tales. The offense is tremendous. The defense is atrocious. But both have a lot coming back. Both should at least improve slightly.

UL Lafayette – under 4.5 (-120) – 1*

South Alabama – over 4.5 (+110) – 1*

Texas State – over 3.5 (even) – 1*

BEST BET TO WIN SUN BELT

Georgia Southern +1600

With the top three teams all with some big question marks, it feels like a year where someone else can break through from the middle. I’ll take a stab on GSU for the second straight year.


RECAP

We’re finally at the end of the road of the team totals. It’s one of my favorite things to do every year, but holy hell does it get exhausting. As you can probably tell, I didn’t put a lot of effort into the Sun Belt. My apologies to the Fun Belt. I can’t wait to watch you.

Before we get to the recap, I ran some numbers from last year out of curiosity. I wanted to see how close the average total number was to a team’s record. For instance, if a team’s total was 7.5 and they win 9, the split would be 1.5.

Not to get bogged down too far, but last year 75 teams had the half-win hook on their total, which means there’s at least a difference of 0.3 on average across all 130 teams. Factoring that in, the average difference between the Vegas total and the actual total is only about 1.3 wins. Only 15% had a difference of more than 2.5. I guess the point of it all is: the majority of these are going to be pretty close. Every win is a big one.

Additionally, last year there were 57 overs, 59 unders, and 14 pushes. So basically even. I don’t keep track of my split between overs and unders until I get through them all, but last year I was at 74 overs and 56 unders. 13 of my 18 actual bets were on overs. Perhaps I’m just becoming a more optimistic person as I age, but in reality I find it a lot easier to identify teams that are being undervalued. And football tends to be a battle of attrition and luck more than anything else. I lost two overs last year – one by a win, the other by  half a win – and they were a result of a catastrophic injury at QB for one team and the other team going 0-3 in games decided by 3 points or less.

This year I’m on a remarkably consistent 73 overs and 56 unders. Actual bets: 15 overs and 8 unders. Honestly, it’s probably more teams than I’d like to bet on, but they were all well-researched and the only one I’d probably back off on is Maryland for obvious reasons.

Anyway, here’s all 129 of them this year, including conference winners. National title, playoff, Heisman, etc. picks will be coming soon.

1*

1

2*

2.png

 

3*

3.png

4*

East Carolina under 3.5 -130
Florida St over 8 -125
Maryland over 5 -145

5*

FAU over 8.5 -120

Conference Winners

Big Ten Iowa +2700
SEC Florida +1800
Pac-12 Utah +1900
Big 12 TCU +775
ACC Florida State +925
MAC Buffalo +1150
AAC Temple +1800
MW Utah State +1325
C-USA Louisiana Tech +1100
Sun Belt Georgia Southern +1600

 

 

2018 CFB Season Win Totals: C-USA

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.

Big Ten: East / West
SEC: West / East
Independents
MAC
Pac-12: North / South
ACC: Atlantic / Coastal
AAC: East / West
Big 12

Mountain West

EAST

FAU – over 8.5 (-120) – 5*

What an absolute gift. The Lane Train is a monster and this total is about two wins too low.

Let’s start with the offense. They only return five starters. Reason why this doesn’t matter: the replacements are more talented than the guys they had last year. There was no coaching continuity heading into last year, so that has no effect, and FAU still scored 2 TDs more than the year before. Devin Singletary has been a stud since he stepped on campus and you’d expect the running game to still be outrageous, especially since they added former five-star recruit BJ Emmons. They replace Jason Driskel at QB, but that loss will be minimal with transfers Chris Robison (Oklahoma), De’Andre Johnson (FSU), and Rafe Peavey (SMU) all competing for the job.

Defensively, they return 10 starters from a unit that improved by 17 PPG from pre-Kiffin to post-Kiffin. They lose Lane’s younger brother – Chris Kiffin – as DC, but Tony Pecoraro has a proven track record.

I should mention that they are also changing OCs from Kendal Briles to Charlie Weis Jr., who is probably younger than most reading this. But Weis has way more coaching experience than a typical 24-year-old and if we’re being real, Lane runs the offense anyway.

There are three games that stick out on the schedule, all on the road: Oklahoma, UCF, and Marshall. I’m not saying FAU is going to beat Oklahoma, but facing them the first week of the season is pretty advantageous. The biggest question mark for the Sooners is QB and whoever wins that job will have to face the Owl D that returns 10 starters and will be ready to go early on. I think UCF is likely to be overrated and that’s a toss-up game. Marshall will be tricky, but here’s where I point out that S&P+ gives them a 60% chance to win the game and it’s the lowest percent chance they give FAU at victory in C-USA play by a wide margin.

FAU definitely has a target on their back this season, but at the end of the day, they still have the most talent in the league by a wide margin. There was an adjustment period last year in non-con with the new staff, but they only came even close to losing one time in C-USA play. And by close, I mean it was a 14-point game with 6 minutes left.

Marshall – under 8 (+120) – 1*

The Herd went 8-5 last year and return 18 starters, but things feel a little weird around Huntington. Both coordinators left for what feels like lesser jobs and QB Chase Litton ditched his senior year to not get drafted.

MTSU – over 7 (-130) – 1*

The last year of the Stockstills should provide a somewhat special season.

Old Dominion – over 5.5 (-160) – 1*

Plenty of the two-deep coming back and it’s a pretty soft schedule.

FIU – under 5 (-105) – 1*

Butch Davis had maybe the most remarkable feat of all last year, going 8-5 despite having a point differential of -3 PPG. This year, they lose a ton on defense, their starting QB, RB, and top WR.

WKU – under 5 (even) – 2*

I’m not sure Mike Sanford is any good at being a head coach.

Charlotte – over 3.5 (+120) – 1*

WEST

UAB – under 7.5 (-135) – 1*

Last year was incredible beyond words for Bill Clark and the Blazers as they came back from a two-year hiatus. Unfortunately, I think they lose too many of their leaders on defense and a plucky schedule keeps them under this year.

Louisiana Tech – over 7 (-110) – 1*

Tough to see them topping out at more than nine, as they scheduled tough with two SEC road games and another trip to FAU. I do like that J’Mar Smith has a year starting under his belt and that should lead to some more explosiveness from the offense.

North Texas – over 8 (+110) – 1*

The Mean Green should be one of the most entertaining teams to watch this year in the Group of 5. With a ton coming back from an offense that has made big strides under Seth Littrell and Graham Harrell. Mason Fine threw for over 4,000 yards last year and if he cuts down on turnovers, will be one of the best QBs in the country. Defense is still a question. If they can just make marginal strides, the Mean Green have a great shot to win the division.

Southern Miss – under 6.5 (-135) – 1*

With very little production returning, the Golden Eagles are a total wildcard this year.

UTSA – over 5 (+110) – 1*

The Roadrunners’ momentum was derailed last year by a flurry of close losses and an offense that wasn’t very good. They lose most of that offense, but it can’t be much worse. The dominant defense loses some star power, but will still be very good.

Rice – under 3.5 (-120) – 1*

UTEP – under 2.5 (-150) – 1*

BEST BET TO WIN C-USA

Louisiana Tech +1100

I’ve just got a feeling it’s going to be a pretty good year for the Bulldogs. Probably not good enough to beat FAU though.