NCAA Football Betting: 5 Team Win Total Bets You Need to Take
Published on July 15, 2017
With the start of the 2017 NCAA football season less than 2 months away, we’re starting to see season preview articles pop up all over the Internet.
It won’t be long before the college football season win total props start getting pounded as well. Sportsbooks such as BetOnline have had those props posted for a while, but most bettors wait until there’s as much information available as possible before getting their wagers down.
Unfortunately, the more information that is widely out there, the sharper those betting lines will be. That’s why it’s often best to strike early when betting college football season win totals.
With that in mind, here are 5 Over bets that you might want to consider hitting right now (all odds courtesy of BetOnline).
I generally prefer not to lay this much juice on a season win total bet, but getting this number at 8 instead of 8.5 makes the -150 more than worth it in my opinion.
I definitely don’t see the Gators winning less than 8 games, based on their schedule alone. Florida has it pretty good this year, not having to face Alabama or Auburn and with its toughest tests either coming at home (against LSU, Tennessee and Florida State) or on neutral fields (versus Michigan and Georgia).
The rest of the Gators’ slate looks pretty close to automatic: home to Northern Colorado, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and UAB, and road games at Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina. If Florida can go 7-0 against those opponents, the Gators would just need to go 1-4 against those 5 tougher foes to push this win total. Even if Florida slips up versus 1 of those cupcakes on its schedule, winning 2 of 5 games that are either at home or on a neutral field is more than doable.
So how does Florida get to 9 wins (or more) to cash this ticket? Well, this bet is based on a lot more than the schedule. The Gators have had an elite-level defense for years (top 15 in the country the past 15 seasons), but it’s been the offense that has kept them from greater heights recently – especially at quarterback.
This season, there’s no clear-cut starter at QB yet, but at least there’s potential for somebody to be great. My money’s on Malik Zaire, the former Notre Dame starter who transferred to Florida in July. He’s got big-game experience (he was the MVP of the 2014 Music City Bowl versus LSU) and is a fifth-year player hungry for the opportunity to star in his final season. With some great receiving weapons at his disposal in Gainesville, I think Zaire could provide what the Gators have been missing.
I understand why regression is expected from the defending Pac-12 South champions, who went from a 1-8 laughingstock in the conference in 2015 to an 8-1 powerhouse the following year.
Colorado has lost its star quarterback, 4-year starter Sefo Liufau, as well as 8 starters and the coordinator of a defense that allowed the 20th-fewest points in the nation. That’s enough to make most people think the Buffaloes will be a 1-hit wonder and plunge right back down the Pac-12 standings once again. But while I’ll admit Colorado has some holes to patch, I don’t think those departures will lead to the 3 fewer wins the Buffaloes would need to have to go Under this season win total.
A big reason why is sophomore QB Steven Montez, who many believe has a higher ceiling than Liufau, the school’s all-time leading passer. Montez started 3 games last year (going 2-1) and he’s surrounded by 9 returning starters on offense, including a veteran offensive line that should give him plenty of time. The Buffaloes receiving corps is also considered among the best in the nation, which can also ease Montez’s transition into the full-time starting role even more.
The Buffaloes might need to light up the scoreboard, at least until their new-look defense gets a few games under its belt. The good news on defense is that the new coordinator will still run the same 3-4 scheme and that there are 5 players remaining with significant experience as starters.
Colorado’s schedule is friendly as well. Starting with games against Colorado State, Texas State, and Northern Colorado will allow the Buffaloes to build some early-season momentum. The Buffs will host Washington (revenge time for last year’s Pac-12 title game?), USC and California in conference play, and they don’t have to face Oregon or Stanford.
I see an 8-4 record as the floor for the Buffaloes in 2017, and their offense gives them the ceiling to be even better than that.
Say what you want about coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense (personally, I can’t stand to watch it), but it wins games. In Johnson’s 9-year tenure at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets have gone bowling 8 times.
They’ve also won 7+ games in 7 of Johnson’s 9 years on the sidelines, and 7 wins would be enough to cash the Over on their 2017 season win total. I love their chances of getting to at least 7 again, with Tech returning 17 starters from the squad that went 9-4 last year.
The departure of 3-year starting quarterback Justin Thomas is the biggest hurdle the Yellow Jackets will need to overcome on offense. Maybe I’m not giving the quarterback position enough credit for how difficult it is to run the triple-option successfully, but Thomas wasn’t exactly threading the football through the eye of a needle last year either.
Georgia Tech averaged less than 130 passing yards per game last year, relying on a ground attack that ranked 9th in the nation. And Johnson said in spring practice that he was already very comfortable with the 4 candidates to replace Thomas at QB, noting:
The Yellow Jackets defense will never wow you statistically, but even being middle of the pack last year was good enough for Georgia Tech to go 9-4. The secondary is the strength of the unit, which helps them match up well against the pass-heavy offenses of the ACC. If the Jackets can actually generate a pass rush this year, those defensive backs will be even more effective.
Georgia Tech does have a fairly difficult schedule compared to the rest of the teams in the Coastal Division, with games at Clemson and Miami on its schedule, along with a home game against Georgia and a neutral field clash with Tennessee. But the Coastal looks wide open this year, meaning the Jackets could be playing for more than just bowl eligibility late in the season. That level of motivation could spark an upset or two.
You won’t find much worse 12-month stretches than what the Michigan State football program has had to endure. 7 projected starters left the team for a variety of reasons earlier this year, including the dismissal of 4 players due to criminal sexual conduct charges, and that came after the Spartans suffered through a 1-8 conference campaign last fall.
If there’s a silver lining to be found in any of this, it’s that the Spartans are going to be very motivated to turn their program around. Not only do they need to clean up their act off the field, Mark Dantonio desperately needs a bounce-back season in the standings to attract new recruits for next year.
There isn’t as much work to do in the latter department as the Spartans’ 3-9 record from last year suggests. 3 of the Spartans’ losses were by 4 points or less, including a 1-point heartbreaker at home against Ohio State. Michigan State’s defense was actually pretty good (32nd in scoring average against), but the Spartans were hurt by a -5 turnover ratio.
Michigan State has a terrific backfield of running backs, and sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke showed flashes of potential in 2 starts last year before breaking his leg. And a September schedule of 4 home games against Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Iowa could help Sparty build some early-season momentum and put last year’s horrific memories behind them.
The schedule is tough, featuring games at Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern as well as a home date versus Penn State. To hit this Over, we’ll probably need the Spartans to win at least one of those contests. But at +155 return, I’ll gladly take my chances.
I’m a sucker for a feel-good story, and there’s the potential for a really heartwarming tale to develop this year in Manhattan, Kansas.
That’s because beloved veteran coach Bill Snyder was diagnosed with throat cancer over the off-season. Even at 77 years of age, Snyder isn’t letting that horrible disease stop him from leading the Wildcats once again this year, and I think that sparks a veteran Kansas State squad in what could be Snyder’s final season.
Motivation aside, the Wildcats are already capable of being a pretty special team in 2017. They’ve got a strong senior quarterback in Jesse Ertz, good depth at running back, an experienced offensive line and a bunch of speedy receivers. Defensively, Kansas State has a few question marks at linebacker, but the front 4 and secondary should be very strong.
The Wildcats will get to host TCU and an Oklahoma program that may be weaker in its first year without Bob Stoops. The only game on Kansas State’s schedule that I’m already circling as a loss is at Oklahoma State, meaning the Wildcats can afford to lose 2 more winnable games and still finish with 9 wins. As long as Ertz stays healthy, I like Kansas State to compete for a Big 12 championship this season, winning 8+ games in the process.