Granted, we’re a bit past the true beginning of College Football now that Week Zero is in the books, but there is still time to get in on some winners. As my podcasting co-host Nick Petro threw out on a recent episode of the Money Line, we wanted to give our people (yo, that’s you) our best bets at winning some money on the upcoming college football season with some win totals.
Let’s get into it:
LSU (OVER 9)
The schedule is loaded with an early season trek to face 10th ranked Texas and then a pesky little trip to Tuscaloosa. Aside from those two games though, the Tigers other three preseason ranked opponents on the schedule are at home – Florida, Auburn, and Texas A&M. Joe Burrow will look to be more effective in the air with a revamped offensive attack. The always stout defense is led by all-world Safety Grant Delpit making the Tigers a team I could see capable of a run to the second SEC spot behind Bama in the college football playoff.
Washington State (OVER 8)
Gardner Minshew is gone and hotly contested QB battle between grad transfer Gabe Gubrud and fifth-year senior Anthony Gordon is currently unfolding. The Cougs have a big time playmaker in Max Borghi, coming off a season racking up 8 TD’s as a freshman. The real key though for me is head coach Mike Leach. The guys a bit insane but holy hell can he coach. His teams seem to roll out of bed and get 8 wins and I don’t see the PAC-12 being all that dynamite again this year. I don’t think this is a playoff contender per se but they can make a run to a Pac-12 North title for sure.
Houston (OVER 7)
I know, another over, but I can’t help it. This team seems so far under valued to me. Dana Holgorsen somewhat shocked the world when he left West Virginia to take a perceived step down in the job at Houston. But oil money talks, and deep pocketed boosters anted up with facilities and the necessary dough to bring in the perfect fit for Houston football in Holgorsen. Oklahoma, UCF, and the aforementioned Washington State will all be stiff challenges, especially the Sooners but there’s no reason Holgorsen cant guide the ultra talented quarterback D’Eriq King to steal one of those two – obviously we’d prefer it be Central Florida.
Illinois (UNDER 4)
This one for me is steeped in a lot of “show me.” I need to see Lovie Smith, the head man since 2016 take Illinois not even to the next step, but how about just a step – any sort of step up in the right direction. It starts with talent acquisition which seems like an obvious fact, but Illinois has not recruited nearly well enough over the last five years. A look back at the success of Illinois football is directly reflected in their recruiting rankings (yes, I know rankings don’t mean anything, but it shows a pattern of less than mediocrity). The class rankings were taken from ESPN.com:
If the goal is 5 wins or less, not putting together a class better than 50 is a good way to achieve it. With that said, I can’t back the Illini getting 4 or more this season. Gotta show me.
Shout out Lovie Smith and that fire white beard – what a look.
Lovie Smith beard update: luxurious pic.twitter.com/trLyVLfeqm
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) July 18, 2019
Texas (UNDER 9.5)
One of the roadblocks for the Horns getting to 10 wins is in week 2 against the aforementioned LSU Tigers. This game will give a really big indicator for both teams as to whether they can hit their Vegas suggested totals. I’m high on LSU in 2019 and I’ve never been a big Sam Ehlinger fan. He’s a good quarterback no doubt, but I don’t think he’s a carry-the-entire-offense type guy that’s likely to be needed for them to knock off Oklahoma again this season. Road games at West Virginia and Iowa State scream problems for Texas – albeit different types of challenges with West Virginia being a tough place to travel and play and Iowa State just being damn good.
The lines I’m using are based on the different books I’m betting at. Keep that in mind when reading my picks.
Michigan (OVER 9.5 Wins)
This feels like the easiest win-total bet of the college football season. Urban Meyer is no longer the head coach at Ohio State, so this has to be the year Jim Harbaugh gets the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff, right? Michigan has a new offensive coordinator in Josh Gattis. Quarterback Shea Patterson is also returning, which is big. Gattis runs a spread-heavy system, which benefits Patterson who played in a similar system at Ole Miss before transferring to UM. Combine that with a solid defense and you have something. The Wolverines should capture the Big Ten East title and have a chance at the CFP.
Northwestern (OVER 6.5 Wins)
The last time Pat Fitzgerald had less than 6 wins as the head coach of the Wildcats was 2014. He is one of the best coaches in college football and proves it year in and year out. 2019 shouldn’t be any different. One thing that may scare away bettors is their schedule. Northwestern opens up at Stanford, then has games against Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan. The first seven games ar tough, but the physicality of the Wildcats will keep them in games.
Georgia (OVER 10.5 Wins)
I’m still shocked Georgia didn’t beat Alabama in that National Championship a few years ago. All they have left to do at this point is beat Bama and win it all. Easier said than done, but if anyone has the roster to do it, it’s Georgia. The talent is there, especially at QB. Jake Fromm is a stud and will get drafted next year. He is already 4th in Georgia history with 54 career TD passes. Don’t forget, the Bulldogs had the Crimson Tide on the ropes TWICE in the last two seasons. This year they will get it done. Bama won’t have another QB to go to when things get tough.
Minnesota (OVER 7.5 Wins)
In 2018, the Golden Gophers won three of their last four games, creating momentum for their 2019 season. The Gophers should be solid as they return almost all of their roster from last season. They also have a very easy schedule. They play teams like Purdue, Illinois, Fresno State, and Georgia Southern. It’s time for P.J. Fleck to row the boat at Minnesota.
Other Bets I’m considering:
- Tenn OVER 7 wins
- Utah OVER 8.5 wins
- Ohio State UNDER 10 wins
Follow Matt on Twitter: @schools_01
Follow Nick on Twitter: @PetroTLS