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.
Huge shoutout to Phil Steele and a variety of websites on the line making their #content available for all of us to consume. If you don’t use Phil to help you with gambling on college football, you’re lost, pal.
Also, at the bottom of each of these, I’ll give my best bet for the conference champion. It’s not based on who I actually think will win, just my best perceived value.
Monday, August 7: Big Ten
Tuesday, August 8: SEC
Wednesday, August 9: Pac-12
Thursday, August 10: Big 12
Friday, August 11: ACC
Monday, August 14: Independents/MAC
Tuesday, August 15: AAC/Sunbelt
Wednesday, August 16: Mountain West/C-USA
Thursday, August 17: Heisman/National Title/Misc.
Friday, August 18: Recap
Alabama – over 11 (+135) – 2*
The Tide essentially win 11 games every year and if they don’t, it’s because they won all 12. Historically, being preseason AP #1 (like last year) means they aren’t going to win the national title. Does that really mean anything for this year’s team? Probably not, but I guess you could make an argument about teams having a hard time dealing with the pressure. Of course last year’s team didn’t win the national title. They massively underachieved by winning the first 14 and just barely lost the lead to win it all with :02 left.
Of course they lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but that doesn’t stop them from having every position group ranked in the Top 25 of Steele’s ratings. They have an embarrassment of riches, at running back and linebacker, specifically.
For “being in the SEC West” standards, their schedule isn’t all that bad. I really only see three games they “might” lose. They open with Florida State in Atlanta, they have to go at Texas A&M, and at Auburn for the Iron Bowl. Sure they could lose to LSU at home, but that’s the story line every year and the Tide has won six straight in the series.
Auburn – over 8.5 (-120) – 2*
The Tigers are bringing back 15 starters and probably most importantly, 7 of them are on the defensive side. They gave up just a shade over 17 ppg last year, although their 21.2 yards per point (YPP) number indicates that they might be due for a little regression. Still, it’s hard to worry too much about that side.
The offense is intriguing. Last year they ended up averaging a respectable 31.2 ppg, but it was a roller coaster. They had four games of 50+, but they also had five games of less than 20. That’s what happens when you’re one-dimensional. AU only threw for more than 200 yards once over the second half of the season last year. This year, they bring in Jarrett Stidham at QB and Air Raid expert Chip Lindsey at OC. As long as Lindsey doesn’t abandon the run game, the Tigers could go for 40+ a game.
I’ve only got Auburn locked in for five W’s, but no losses. They’ve got five true road games, four in-conference and the fifth at Clemson. It’s gonna come down to November. They get a bye week heading into the month and then go at A&M, followed by home games with Georgia, ULM, and Bama.
LSU – under 9 (+150) – 1*
I get that LSU is always loaded with talent and their defense will surely be very good again, although they do lose their top 5 tacklers.
On the flip side, Danny Effing Etling is still the quarterback. I’ve been waiting for him to be good for half a decade now and it hasn’t happened yet. It’s not gonna help his cause that 5 of his top 6 receivers from last year are gone. Sure, Matt Canada is the OC now and I bet all my money on Pittsburgh last year almost solely due to his influence, but the ACC Coastal just doesn’t quite match up.
As much as I love Coach O as a personality, I’m still on the fence on whether he’s actually a good head coach. Plus the Tigers drew the short straw in the West by having to play at Florida and Tennessee from the East. Don’t sleep on Week 1 against BYU in Houston, either.
Texas A&M – over 7 (-105) – 2*
I’ll probably always pick the over on the Aggies. I sold the farm on them last year. Even though people were mocking them by, like, the middle of October the “over 6” backers were already winners. Say what you will about Kevin Sumlin (I say he’s the most consistent coach they’ve had there in decades, statistically), but he’s found his sweet spot and it’s 8-4.
Their offense lost some talent, but that’s Sumlin’s specialty and the cupboard is far from bare. They averaged 5.7 ypc last year and their top 3 RB’s are all back with three of their starting O-linemen.
Pass rush might be the biggest problem defensively with the losses of superhuman freak Myles Garrett and regular freak Daeshon Hall. However, the two starting DT’s are back and that might be more important in the SEC.
The schedule is tough of course, but they only have four true road games and there’s three cupcakes on the schedule.
Arkansas – under 6.5 (+110) – 1*
Austin Allen might end up being the best QB in the SEC this year, but the loss of Rawleigh Williams hurts and the loss of 6 of Allen’s top 7 pass catchers surely doesn’t help matters. However, four starters are back on the O-Line and that’s always been the biggest key to a Bielema offense. With that said, that position has gradually gotten worse in the Bielema era.
They lose a lot up front defensively and and last year’s unit on the back end was fairly mediocre. It’s unclear whether the reshuffling on the front 7 will really matter, considering they gave up 5.9 ypc last year.
The toughest part of the schedule this year for the Hogs is only getting three SEC home games this year. This one will be close either way probably, so I don’t see a lot of value on either side.
Ole Miss – over 5.5 (-105) – 1*
The Rebels are a total wildcard this year. The biggest reason is obviously that they have a bowl ban. This has caused a few books to take their season win total prop off the board. I guess you don’t know what motivation will be like, but I hardly see the team collectively punting on a season. If anybody can motivate 100 dudes to win some football games, it’s probably the guy that staged his own funeral for motivational purposes about 12 months ago. (UPDATE: This was all written before Hugh got fired for that whole prostitution thing).
They’re still a really talented team on both sides of the ball, although admittedly much less swaggy on offense…
…and with three cupcakes on the schedule, you’re already halfway home.
Mississippi St. – under 5.5 (+135) – 2*
I don’t typically advise betting against Dan Mullen, but the schedule is an absolute bear. They’ve got five true road games because someone thought it would be a good idea to play a really good C-USA program (Louisiana Tech) on the road Week 2. They’re also playing BYU out of conference. And they also get to play at Georgia for one of their two cross-division SEC games. Oh, and then they have to play every team in the West.
With that said, Nick Fitzgerald is pretty damn good. He’s that dual-threat option that always gives a certain team in Tuscaloosa trouble…
…oh. All kidding aside, Fitzgerald will be a legitimate weapon for the Dogs this year. The problem is, his running backs are just okay, he lost the best WR in school history, and the O-Line only returns 30 career starts. The defense doesn’t exactly scream “dominance” either.
Florida – over 8.5 (-105) – 2*
The obvious question around Florida is: what level of suck is their QB play gonna be? They’re a playoff level team at every other position group, at least talent-wise.
Will Grier was a shooting star for about a month a couple years ago, but other than that times have been bleak for Gator signal-callers since the Leak/Tebow days. Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio weren’t that bad last year, but they certainly had their bouts with being terrible. Del Rio is back, but probably not a real contender to start. It’s likely a battle between Feleipe Franks (very successful sounding name) and Malik Zaire of Notre Dame fame. Either way, that’s an upgrade for a team that went 9-4 a year ago.
The good news for the Gator schedule is that they only play three true road games and the toughest one might be a toss-up between Kentucky and South Carolina. The bad news is they have to play both Michigan and Florida State out of conference.
Georgia – over 8.5 (-125) – 3*
Unlike Florida, there’s really zero holes with the Bulldogs. I’m not sure Jacob Eason is worthy of all the hype he’s gotten, but at the very least he had a really solid freshman year and figures to improve with another year under his belt. The Chubb/Michel duo at RB is absurd. All but one receiver is back. The O-Line lost quite a bit, but that’s never seemed to matter in Athens.
The defense returns 10 starters and 14 of their top 15 tacklers from a season ago. They gave up 24 ppg in 2016, but the 13.6 yards per point figure indicates that PPG number is due to drop this year. On top of that, it’s the second year of Kirby Smart, which is another reason to expect improvement.
The schedule is pretty soft in some spots, but also features road games at Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Auburn.
Tennessee – under 7.5 (+100) – 1*
They lose their four best playmakers on offense and their two best pass-rushers on defense. A tight ends coach is now running the offense. The man who ruins everything he touches, Brady Hoke, is now on staff. And finally, Butch Jones loves to come up a little short whenever he can. Champions of life, though.
(I only went 1* because the schedule isn’t actually that bad.)
Kentucky – under 7 (-120) – 1*
Offensively, the Wildcats are gonna rely a lot on Benny Snell. The quarterbacks weren’t a total liability last year simply because they didn’t turn it over too much, but it’s certainly not a plus position. They failed to break 90 yards passing on three occasions last year.
The back 7 is very good on defense, but the defensive line continues to be an issue in Lexington.
The biggest running problem for UK is that they literally never beat Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee. They get a favorable draw with the Mississippi teams out of the West, but as always, they have to play Louisville. Opening at Southern Miss has the potential to set a poor tone to the year.
Also, the last time Kentucky won more than 7 games in the regular season, it was 1984.
South Carolina – over 5.5 (-105) – 3*
The Cocks have 10 starters coming back on offense. Jake Bentley is now officially QB1. After he took over last year, they nearly doubled their ppg. Their top 2 RB’s are back, as are their top 5 pass catchers. They also have four starters returning on the O-Line.
The defense doesn’t have quite as much coming back, but it’s the second year of Muschamp’s system and they’ve got plenty of talent to replenish.
Talent-wise, I think USC has enough to battle for the East. The problem is they have to go at Georgia and Tennessee. In terms of total wins, the OOC slate isn’t doing them any favors. They play NC State in Charlotte, Louisiana Tech at home, and of course they have Clemson, but at least it’s home. Although the schedule is top 10 caliber, I’d be borderline stunned if the Cocks aren’t bowling this year.
Missouri – under 6.5 (-135) – 1*
Mizzou did a 180 last year by suddenly scoring a bunch of points while giving up just a shade more. They figure to keep up the scoring on offense with 10 starters back, only replacing their tight end. The defense had a bunch of injuries last year, but they’re only returning five starters and none of them are Charles Harris.
The schedule is fairly manageable with their toughest game out of conference coming at UConn. The bad part is, with the way the schedule breaks, I’m not sure they’ll be favored in any of their SEC games. Maybe South Carolina, I guess.
Vanderbilt – under 6 (-120) – 4*
Even if Kyle Shurmur improves at QB, he’s still gonna stink. Ralph Webb is legitimately good at RB, but he’s basically the offense. The defensive PPG number (24.0) looks nice from last year, but it has more to do with how slow (boring) they play than it does how good they are. Zach Cunningham made about half of the big plays for the Dore D last year and he’s now gone.
Alabama A&M is the only sure win I have for Vandy this year. It’s not because they’re so bad, but they scheduled K-State and WKU and MTSU again. Their two games against the West are against Alabama at home and at Ole Miss. I’ve got them for a max of seven wins.
Best Bet to Win
Things in Florida’s favor: they don’t have to play Alabama (until the SEC Championship) or Auburn, they only have three true road games in the SEC, and none of them are against the top tier teams.