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
USC – over 10.5 (+125) – 1*
To keep it short: they have a ton of talent at every position group. Most importantly, they might have the best QB in the country, even if his name is Sam and he has red hair. They were dominant after the calendar turned to October last year and Darnold got settled in. Best part of the schedule this year: Alabama and Washington (even if SC rolled over the Huskies last year) aren’t on it. It’s still a tough schedule, but most of the better opponents on it will be playing in the Coliseum.
UCLA – over 7.5 (-110) – 1*
The offense fell off big-time last year, largely due to Josh Rosen getting hurt and the fact that they couldn’t run for a 6-yard gain to save their lives. However, all but one major component is back and healthy on that side.
Defensively, it wasn’t all that bad for the Bruins last year, despite going 4-8. Aside from getting wrecked by Joe Williams for 1,000 rushing yards last year against Utah, they held up rather nicely. They did lose a few guys to the NFL, but there’s a lot of pro talent left.
The schedule is the biggest concern. They have road games against USC, Washington, Stanford, Utah, Memphis, and Arizona. The home slate is pretty manageable, but they do have Texas A&M in OOC play and I’m high on Oregon.
Utah – over 6.5 (+115) – 2*
There’s only 9 returning starters, but the biggest reason to be optimistic is they’re still heavily stocked on their front 7, a staple of any good Utah team. Joe Williams is gone, but Troy Williams is back for a second season at QB1 and I’d expect him to start living up to his recruiting ranking when he was coming out of high school. If not, Cooper Bateman is always waiting in the wings. Apparently Ute fans want Tyler Huntley because he threw 7 tidy passes in mop-up duty last year?
They’ve got a semi-decent chance to get out of September 4-0, although I wouldn’t consider it likely. However, they’ve got a lot of winnable games at home and I never really count them out against any of the big boys of the league, regardless of location.
Colorado – under 7 (-155) – 3*
There’s not great value here, but the Buffs have regression written all over them. The biggest reason is the defense. They only gave up 21.7 per game a year ago after allowing 39 a couple years prior. Gone this year is their entire starting D-Line (the strength of last year’s unit) and DC Jim Leavitt.
I don’t think losing Sefo Liufau at QB is a huge deal, given that the greatest thing about him was his name. I’m also not convinced that Mike MacIntyre doesn’t suck. Mikey Mac doubled up his total wins in Boulder in Year 4 against a softish schedule and the point about the schedule was validated when they lost by a combined 79-18 to UW and Okie St. to end the season.
I’d expect the CSU game to be a lot tighter this year to start out the season, followed by a couple cupcakes. Once Pac-12 play starts, most of their beatable opponents are on the road and they’ll have to take advantage of getting UW and USC at home, two teams with a lot more talent.
Arizona State – under 5 (-140) – 1*
Talent doesn’t really seem to be the issue in Tempe, but things are trending down and the schedule is pretty ruthless. After opening with NMSU, the “easiest” game they have for months is a toss-up between SDSU at home or Texas Tech on the road.
Arizona – over 5.5 (+120) – 1*
Things kind of unraveled at the end of last season for the Cats, but they can’t possibly be worse. Rich Rod isn’t my favorite coach in the country, but he’s a proven winner and it’s hard to imagine they’d repeat last year’s 3-9 mess.
The schedule isn’t terrible. NAU is a win, Houston will be tough, but it’s at home, and then they go play UTEP in the Sun Bowl. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to play these C-USA teams on the road (almost lost to UTSA a few years ago), but at least it’s a bad one. The biggest plus of the schedule might be that they don’t have to play UW or Stanford.
Washington – over 10 (-150) – 1*
They’re loaded still and the schedule is pretty easy (again).
Stanford – over 8.5 (-135) – 2*
The Cardinal basically lost every proven player on offense (besides McCaffrey) heading into last year and still went 10-3. They’ve got more returning this year and might have a top 5 defense nationally.
The biggest challenge is the opponents. It’s a top 10 schedule, but when in doubt, always take the bet on a David Shaw team.
Oregon – over 8 (+115) – 4*
Is it the best idea to sell out for a team that went 4-8, gave up 41.4 points per game, and has a new coaching staff? No…no, it’s probably not.
On the other hand, 17 starters are back, including QB Justin Herbert, Rolls Royce Freeman, the top two receivers, and essentially all five offensive linemen.
And yeah, those defensive numbers were pretty poor, but what do you expect with Brady Hoke coaching a football team? They trade Hoke at DC for Jim Leavitt. The same Jim Leavitt that was responsible for the massive two-year improvement of that Colorado defense I referenced earlier.
And then there’s Willie Taggart, a proven winner heading into this job, unlike his predecessor. Admittedly, both Year 1’s at WKU and USF didn’t produce immediate results, but the cupboard is a lot fuller in Eugene.
The schedule isn’t too bad. The Ducks avoid USC and while Nebraska at home and Wyoming aren’t gimmes, they’re still likely favorites and should head into Pac-12 play 3-0. The season’s outcome will probably boil down to how they favor in road games at Stanford, UCLA, and UW. Even if they drop all three, they’ve got a good chance at pushing.
Washington State – over 7.5 (-125) – 1*
A lot of overs in a row here, but what the hell? Quite a few of these Pac-12 teams aren’t going to be greatly tested in the non-con.
The Cougars return 16 starters, including 9 on the defense, a unit that’s been quite a bit improved since Alex Grinch took over as DC a couple of years ago.
Also included in those returning in those starters is Luke Falk, he of 4,468 passing yards, 38 TD’s, and a 70% completion rate. If Wazzu maximizes their potential as a team this year, Falk will be in the Heisman conversation.
Wazzu is one of those Pac-12 teams that doesn’t exactly play a brutal non-con schedule, with all three games coming at home and the most difficult (by a long shot) being Boise State. The issue? They haven’t won a season opener since Leach took over and the past couple years that includes losses to the likes of Portland St. and Eastern Washington. Montana St. isn’t even good for an FCS team, but you never know.
Oregon State – over 5.5 (+145) – 1*
The Beavers were a touchdown per game better on both sides of the ball in Year 2 of Gary Andersen and they return 15 starters. They’re not great at any particular spot, but that type of continuity is a good sign for an improving team.
Cal – under 3.5 (-130) – 1*
First-year head coach taking over a team that gave up more than six touchdowns a game last year and they have to play one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Best of luck to Justin Wilcox.
Best Bet to Win
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m recklessly high on the Ducks this year.