College football is so close, I can taste it.
I’ll probably make a play or two during Saturday’s Week 0 slate, but season win totals are my favorite way to bet college football. It’s extremely difficult for oddsmakers to be accurate on every single team’s forecast. Sportsbooks place a number on a given team and you’re able to bet “Over” or “Under” its total. Remember, these are regular-season wins only, so conference title games and bowl games don’t count.
We won four out of six totals last year and here are six more I’m playing this coming season:
Utah Utes “Over” 9 (-120)
All the hype surrounding USC’s magical offseason has outshined the fact that Utah is the Pac-12’s highest-rated and most complete team. The Utes return seven starters on offense including starting quarterback Cameron Rising and star tailback Tavion Thomas. And they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the trenches. There’s a very good chance Kyle Wittingham’s squad is favored in every single game and if they beat Florida in the opener, they should finish around 11 wins.
Nebraska Cornhuskers “Under” 7.5 (-105)
The Scott Frost era (15-29 over four years) probably won’t last much longer in Corn Country. Nebraska is only projected to be favorites in six games, although there are a couple coin flips on the schedule. Could this group get “Over” the total? Sure. Do I trust this coaching staff? Hell no. Eight wins is a stretch for the always-overrated Huskers. And they’ll leave Frost in Dublin if Northwestern pulls the upset this Saturday.
Clemson Tigers “Over” 10.5 (+110)
Buy low, sell high. This is Clemson’s lowest win total in seven years. That’s because the betting market doesn’t have much faith in quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. The once-decorated recruit and former Heisman Trophy frontrunner sputtered behind a battered offensive line last season and threw nine touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Woof. Still, Dabo Swinney’s team is absolutely loaded with talent, especially on offense where nine starters are back. If Uiagalelei plays to his potential, 11 or 12 wins is definitely attainable.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles “Over” 5.5 (-105)
College football handicapper Brad Powers told me on “Chicken Dinner” that Southern Miss is the most-improved team in the entire country. Strong words, huh? The Golden Eagles return 17 starters and redshirt freshman quarterback Ty Keyes should be the answer for second-year coach Will Hall. Don’t be surprised when this team rips off six wins and plays in a bowl game.
Northwestern Wildcats “Over” 4 (+100)
The Kitties got absolutely declawed last year and fell all the way to the bottom of the Big Ten West. Northwestern’s defense was uncharacteristically soft in the trenches and head coach Pat Fitzgerald made sure to shore that up by adding three transfers on the line. Pitt transfer Wendell Davis should make a difference at linebacker, too. If NU runs the ball with any success, it’ll be a sneaky sleeper.
Arkansas Razorbacks “Under” 7.5 (-150)
Arkansas has the toughest schedule in the nation, but you’re still paying a premium to bet the “Over” thanks to last season’s 9-4 finish and Outback Bowl victory. The Hogs’ start at home with Cincinnati, they face Texas A&M on a neutral field and hit the highway to face Mississippi State, BYU and Auburn. Oh, and Alabama and LSU roll into Fayetteville. If they don’t go 4-3 in those seven games, forget it.
Utah O9 -120
Nebraska U7.5 -105
Clemson O10.5 +110
Southern Miss O5.5 -105
Northwestern O4 +100
Arkansas U7.5 -150
RECORD: (118-124, +21.7)