2018 CFB Season Win Totals

2018 Season Total Tracker: Week 4

You can find the entire list of totals here.

Unless I missed somebody else, I believe Hawaii is the first team to have their season total decided. Congrats to the Bows for hitting the over before September ends.

5*

FAU (over 8.5) loses 56-36 to UCF

(FAU 2-2)

I thought the Owls might have a chance to steal one, but UCF showed why they’re still kings of the Group of 5. A clear difference between the two was at QB. McKenzie Milton is McKenzie Milton and, I’ll be honest, Chris Robison worries me a little bit.

A win at MTSU this week is a must.

4*

East Carolina (under 3.5) loses 20-13 to USF

(ECU 1-2)

It was a loss for ECU, but that defense does look pretty good. USF’s offense isn’t nearly as good as it was a year ago – they also only managed 25 against Illinois – but the Pirates are definitely improved on that side of the ball.

I’ll admit I may have underrated the addition of DC David Blackwell to the staff. Blackwell came over from Jacksonville State, where they’ve had a number of great defenses. I just figured the dysfunction under Scottie Montgomery would outweigh Blackwell’s impact.

This week the Pirates are either playing ODU at the best or worst time. The Monarchs obviously just had a program-changing win over Virginia Tech. They’re either going to be full of confidence and ready to go or they’re still going to be celebrating.

Florida State (over 8) wins 37-19 over Northern Illinois

(FSU 2-2)

I hate this damn team.

Maryland (over 5) wins 42-13 over Minnesota

(Maryland 3-1)

Quite the first four weeks for Maryland. There’s no telling what they’re going to play like. I’d like to say that this win at least clinches a push with Rutgers and Illinois home games still remaining, but they did lose by 21 to Temple at home.

3*

Florida (over 8) wins 47-21 at Tennessee (under 5.5)

(UF 3-1; UT 2-2)

I’m still not really sure if Florida is any good or not, but it seems fairly clear that Tennessee is not. That was the most winnable game for the Vols in this brutal five-game stretch that they have.

Iowa (over 7.5) loses 28-17 to Wisconsin

It’s not a huge loss for the total, but it does make the Big Ten championship darkhorse bet a lot more difficult. But it was all right there for the Hawkeyes at home and they just let it slip away. They have a championship caliber defense, but a cellar dweller caliber offense.

UNC (under 5.5) wins 38-35 over Pitt (over 5)

(UNC 1-2; Pitt 2-2)

A double whammy in poor developments. Even still, I’m not remotely concerned yet with UNC hitting the over.

But I’ll level with you, the Pitt bet is looking a little bleak. I never have any idea what to expect with the Panthers. Narduzzi is a defensive guy and they haven’t developed a decent defense in three-and-a-half years. I’m pretty much just hoping for a push at this point.

Texas (under 8.5) wins 31-16 over TCU

(Texas 3-1)

If we’re in the trust tree, Texas is starting to feel like a 9-3 team to me now.

Buffalo (over 6.5) wins 42-13 over Rutgers

(Buffalo 4-0)

The Bulls are good.

Michigan State (over 8.5) wins 35-21 at Indiana

(MSU 2-1)

I don’t have much to say. It was big.

 

 

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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 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 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 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.

 

 

2018 CFB Season Win Totals: Mountain West

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

Boise State – over 10 (+105) – 2*

You could make the argument that the Broncos have been just as good under Bryan Harsin as they were under Chris Petersen. The record isn’t quite as shiny, but Petersen benefited from five years of WAC competition.

In 2017, Boise went 11-3 and now they return 16 starters, 10 of them coming back from a Top 30 defense. Brett Rypien returns for his fourth year of starting at QB and should have a great year after an unhealthy, disappointing junior season. They also return a 1,000 yard rusher.

Ten wins is a high number and could be derailed with the wrong injury, so I’ll hold off, but the schedule sets up where 12-0 is on the table. They have difficult non-con road games with Troy and Oklahoma State, but both teams have to replace key pieces on offense, which makes September the right time to play them. Their toughest MWC road game is Wyoming – who you might’ve heard lost their QB – and the Broncos also get them in September. The difficult opponents come at home, where Boise has only lost two MWC games under Harsin. Both of those came in 2015 when Rypien was a freshman and apparently they couldn’t figure out the option defensively. They were heavy favorites in both games, but lost to New Mexico and Air Force. I wouldn’t expect such issues in 2018.

Utah State – over 7.5 (-115) – 3*

The Aggies have only missed a bowl game one time in the last seven years. Gary Andersen started it, but Matt Wells has kept it going for the last five. The last three years look like more of a slip than they really have been. USU has lost 10 of their last 11 one-possession games the last three years. At some point that trend has to flip and it very well may be this year with so much experience returning. They have 18 starters back.

Offensively, the Aggies improved by more than 6 PPG in Year One under OC David Yost. Yost’s previous stops were Oregon, Wazzu, and Mizzou, so naturally he’s brought a more uptempo, pass-happy system. That system paid immediate results and I would expect even more in his second year, with a talented sophomore QB (Jordan Love), all five OL starters, and the top 3 pass catchers.

Defensively, they’ve got nine starters back, which is more than the last two years combined. They only gave up 22.9 PPG in MWC play last year. They had close to the same amount of underclassmen and upperclassmen in the two-deep last year, so it stands to reason that there is still room for growth.

The schedule is book-ended by probable road losses against Michigan State and Boise, but they might end up as favorites in every other game, or at least close to it. They get a big break in that they don’t have to play Fresno or SDSU from the West.

Wyoming – over 6.5 (-150) – 3*

Here’s the thing about losing Josh Allen: it doesn’t matter at all. Wyoming’s offense sucked last year and Josh Allen sucked with it. And Wyoming was still pretty good because their defense was the Alabama of Group of 5 defenses. And they’ve got eight starters coming back from that defense, including their top six tacklers. They forced a lot of turnovers, which can make things seem better than they are. But the Cowboys gave up 4.7 yards per play, which was nearly two full yards better than the year before. It wasn’t just turnovers.

Offensively, you’d expect things to get better with nine starters back and the only losses being one guard from the OL and the 10th most-efficient passer from a 12-team league. Allen leaves a low bar to jump over at QB in terms of actual production and the run game can only get better. It was the worst rush figures for a Craig Bohl team in 2017.

The schedule is decent, but they do play Wazzu in Laramie and Mizzou on the road in the non-con. I’m low on the Cougs this year and it’s a home game for Wyoming, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys pull a minor upset. It would go a long way for confidence the rest of the season.

Air Force – over 4.5 (-135) – 1*

I have no real thoughts, but once again, just lean over with the service academies.

Colorado State – under 5.5 (-110) – 2*

The Rams have been pretty good under Mike Bobo after Jim McElwain built the program up, but 2017 was a letdown and now they only return nine starters. Unfortunately, Bobo is also going through some health troubles right now that are keeping him away from his team during training camp. Obviously a crucial time for him to be there while they try to get an inexperienced group ready for a difficult September.

New Mexico – under 4 (-115) – 1*

Bob Davie had a good couple of years in ’15 and ’16, but it’s all going to hell if you’ve read anything about the program the past 10 months.

WEST

Fresno State – over 8 (-110) – 2*

It’s hard to picture things going better for Fresno than they did last year. I obviously underrated quite the impact Jeff Tedford would have in Year One, but it was amplified by turnover luck and a lack of injuries.

But still, Tedford took them from a 1-11 team to 10-4, division, and bowl winners in one year. They return 15 starters and they’ve got a decent chance to knock off two Power 5 teams this year.

San Diego State – over 8.5 (-120) – 2*

The Aztecs have reached the level where it’s hard to bet the over on them because it’s so high every year. Last year was 9.5 (they hit the over, btw). Their offense will be really good again because they return all five starters on the OL and Juwan Washington is next in line of stud RBs for the Aztecs. The defense will be good because they return seven starters and they’re always good.

But you see road games against three times that will be very good: Stanford, Boise, and Fresno and figure that the ceiling is probably only 10 wins at the most. They’ve also got a home game with Arizona State.

UNLV – over 6 (-130) – 1*

The Rebels should have a potent offense. They’ve got a new DC, which should help things on that side of the ball, but I’m not confident enough to go all-in.

Nevada – under 5.5 (+105) – 1*

The Pack made a lot of strides in the last seven games last year, but at the end of the day, the three teams they beat were a combined 10-27 and all of those wins came at home. They played a tough schedule, but I need to see another year of Jay Norvell before I feel like I have a good read on the program.

San Jose State – under 2.5 (-110) – 2*

I think it’s too low of a total to actually bet on, but as I mentioned last year, this staff is unqualified for their jobs. More unqualified than I even thought. They had 7 starters back on O and dropped 9 PPG. They had 8 starters back on D and gave up 7 more PPG. True incompetence.

Hawaii – over 3.5 (-110) – 1*

Nick Rolovich actually seems like a decent coach, but they’ve been ravaged by attrition and it’s probably going to prevent them from a bowl again. Upside to this one is they have 13 games.

BEST BET TO WIN THE MOUNTAIN WEST

Utah State +1325

This should be a great year for the Mountain West as a whole because so many of the top teams have so many starters returning. Utah State is one of those top teams and they were only 6-7 last year, but they have a favorable schedule against the rest of the Top 5 compared to Boise and Wyoming in their division. They don’t have to play Fresno or SDSU. Wyoming also avoids SDSU, but they have to play Fresno on the road. Boise plays both, although both of those games are on the blue turf. The downside for the Aggies is they play both Boise and Wyoming on the road. However, another positive for USU is that Boise will be going to Wyoming for their head-to-head. Since Boise’s the better team, that’s favorable for a potential loss against the Broncos.

Got all that?

2018 CFB Season Win Totals: Big 12

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

Oklahoma – under 10 (+110) – 1*

I think 10-2 is probably exactly what the record will shake out to be, but might as well take the side with plus money.

If it’s possible, I think the loss of Baker Mayfield might be slightly undervalued by outlets I’ve been reading. Kyler Murray is the shiny new toy and he’s a very talented guy, but Baker Mayfield is one of the greatest college QBs of all-time, if not the very best. It’s true that Oklahoma always scores points, but not at the level they did under Baker. He started for three years and their LOWEST average was 43.5 PPG. According to S&P+, he was responsible for guiding two of the three best offenses this decade, which means they were both in the 99.7th percentile of offenses.

The Sooners still have a suspect defense by supposed national title contender standards. They won a game in which they gave up 52 points last year. They won a game in which they gave up 41 points to BAYLOR. They almost won a playoff game in which they gave up 54. They don’t have that room for error this year.

Texas – under 8.5 (+125) – 3*

I’m sick of Texas. I certainly understand the appeal of the Longhorns. They were always great throughout my childhood, but the “TEXAS IS BACK, FOLKS!!!” of every preseason is getting old. They haven’t won more than 8 regular season games since 2009. You can get the total at 9, but you lose more than 50 cents on the dollar.

Here’s why they won’t win nine this year: the offense stinks. That’s a problem in a league with a lot of shootouts. Last year, they were 8th in PPG in Big 12 play, which of course only actually has 10 teams. The two teams they scored more than? The pair of 1-11 teams, Baylor and Kansas. And I don’t see where the jump is this year. Sam Ehlinger should be the QB, but he looked overwhelmed at times last year and he doesn’t have a ton of proven producers around him. He started six games last year and was somehow still the LEADING RUSHER with 385 yards. That’s embarrassing at a place like Texas.

There’s much more positivity around the defense and I can’t tell you they won’t be good. But are they good enough to carry this team to nine wins against a Top 10 schedule? Last year they held high-powered offenses of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech to 13, 29 and 27 (all well below their averages) and the Horns still went 0-3 in those games. They held TCU to 24 and got their doors blown off somehow.

Before we get to the schedule I have to point out that P Michael Dickson is gone. Trust me, he was a big deal. He was honestly the best offensive player Texas had last year. He was such a good punter that he got drafted in the 5th round.

The opener at FedEx Field against Maryland is looking a little easier than it did a few weeks ago, but still. They’ve got another non-con game against USC and then of course they have a round-robin with the league. They luck out with home games against TCU and West Virginia and, as always, a neutral site for Oklahoma, but Austin isn’t exactly the biggest home field advantage.

TCU – over 7.5 (-130) – 2*

Well, I’m glad I’m writing this right after news came out that DT Ross Blacklock was out for the year. That sucks for him and it’s a big loss for the Frogs. If there’s one trait that makes TCU stand out over the rest of the league, it’s the run defense and Blacklock was a big part of that a year ago as a true freshman. There’s decent talent behind him, but nothing as good as him, and it hurts the depth of the position.

I was likely to bet on the Frogs this year before that news, but there are other questions. And of course it starts with QB. As someone who had a big stake in TCU last season, I watched a lot of Kenny Hill. Think of him as a poor man’s JT Barrett. He’s not the most irreplaceable guy in the world, but he was steady enough to get the ball in his playmakers’ hands and not screw it up too bad (except for the Iowa State game). Shawn Robinson is a talented guy and I’m sure will do fine, but he’s inexperienced and might be prone to a few more turnovers.

The schedule is tough, but they still have the potential to win double-digit games.

West Virginia – under 7.5 (+110) – 1*

They’ll obviously have a lethal passing attack, but there’s reason for concern defensively. For starters, they weren’t great last year. In fact, they were poor. And they only return one starter on the DL and one starter from the DBs. In a passing league such as this, a pass rush and pass defense feel pretty important.

It doesn’t help that the schedule is pretty brutal. If they lose one guy – Will Grier – the season’s pretty much over.

Oklahoma State – over 8 (-115) – 1*

I have no idea to be totally honest. They have a lot to fill on offense, but Gundy is great at that and they still have Justice Hill. They’ve got capable playmakers at WR and plenty of decent enough options at QB, but there’s no way they’re as good as Mason Rudolph with James Washington and Marcell Ateman. But they do have a lot coming back on D and there’s an outside chance they beat this total in the first nine weeks.

Kansas State – over 6.5 (-120) – 1*

I don’t have a lot of compelling arguments here. The schedule’s brutal and they lose a bunch from the defense. But it’s Bill Snyder. Take the over and run.

Iowa State – over 6.5 (-120) – 2*

It stands to reason that Kyle Kempt will be better at QB this year now that he has full reins of the position, but he loses quite a bit at WR. But if Campbell lets him loose this year, it should not only pay dividends in the pass game, but should allow some more room for David Montgomery to work. Defensively, their front seven is pretty good and they’ve got a chance to improve in the secondary. If they go 6-1 at home, which is very doable, they just need to beat Kansas on the road to get there. They proved last year they’ve got a puncher’s chance in every game.

Texas Tech – over 6 (-130) – 2*

It’s hard to bet the farm on Kliff Kingsbury as Tech has been the picture of mediocrity for his five years. But their biggest question marks all revolve around QB and skill guys and that’s the one thing that Kingsbury has produced every single year as a HC/OC. They have all five starters returning on the OL and 10 coming back on defense. The defense made huge strides last year. But the schedule features so many tweener games that it’s hard to cut loose on the Red Raiders this year.

Baylor – under 5.5 (+150) – 1*

I understand that they have a lot coming back, but all those guys went 1-11 last year.

Kansas – under 3 (-165) – 1*

Same with these guys. The juice is telling on this one. It’s even worse at other books.

BEST BET TO WIN BIG 12

TCU +775

I need action on the Frogs. If Shawn Robinson is good, TCU has a chance to win it this year. Oklahoma coming to Fort Worth is a big help.

2018 CFB Season Win Totals: AAC West

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

Memphis – over 8.5 (-130) – 2*

It’s hard to be overly confident in a team that loses its 4,200 yard, 38 TD QB and its 1,400 yard, 18 TD WR. Especially when all of those yards and TDs were necessary to cover up for a defense that wasn’t in the Top 100.

However, the Tigers have a couple viable options at QB this year and plenty of talent left at receiver. They also bring back a pair of highly productive RBs.

Defensively, they bring back eight starters and likely can’t be any worse than 2017.

They might only be underdogs in one or two games this year.

Navy – over 7 (-140) – 2*

Extra reason to like this one: they play 13 games. They only return nine starters, but that’s close to typical for service academies. They’ve only won less than 7 twice in Ken Niumatalolo’s 10 years.

Malcolm Perry is going to get the reins at QB. He’s a superstar when it comes to running the ball, but is completely unproven as a passer. The defense only returns five starters, but they’ll probably be fairly average like we’ve come to expect from Navy defenses.

The biggest reason for fear is the schedule. It’s not overly difficult outside of the Notre Dame game, which they play in San Diego after the Irish have a bye week and Navy plays Houston. They’ll beat Lehigh. Other than that, it’s kind of up in the air.

Houston – under 8 (-125) – 1*

I wasn’t overly impressed with the Cougs in Major Applewhite’s first year. They appear to have figured out QB with dynamic athlete D’Eriq King, but they lose their top two WRs that combined for 156 catches. They also lose their top two tacklers from a year ago. They only return 10 starters overall, but one of them is Ed Oliver and Ed Oliver is probably the best player in the country.

Tulsa – under 4.5 (-125) – 1*

Tulsa has built a reputation for wild swings from season-to-season, but it’s hard to see them doing much of anything with this defense. They were atrocious in every regard last year. It’s also unclear if they have a QB who can pass, which is essential if they need to win shootouts again.

Tulane – over 5.5 (+110) – 2*

I’d really like to fire on the Green Wave this year, but there’s a lot of uncertainty on the defense and I don’t love how the schedule looks. They’ll put up some points this year and they’ve got a great opportunity to make some news on opening night as they host Wake Forest on Thursday.

SMU – over 5.5 (+120) – 1*

Sonny Dykes was a great hire for a myriad of reasons, but big-time results might not be immediate with a defense that’s been horrendous for half a decade now. They’ll put up a lot of points, but the first half of their schedule is rather difficult. If they aren’t able to scratch out many victories early on, it could affect confidence moving forward.

BEST BET TO WIN AAC

Temple +1800

While I love the over for Temple this year, I’m not sure if they can really do enough to knock off UCF from winning the division. However, there’s a chance the Knights slide way back to reality this year and I’d kick myself if Temple actually does pull it off and I didn’t take a shot on them.