College Football Regular Season Win Totals That I Bet
I played all of my regular season win totals this year at different shops. The one beauty of regular season wins and futures is you can shop around as the vig, and even the actual win totals themselves, fluctuate significantly from book to book. They will move rapidly at times, but in the end, there is tremendous value that can be uncovered.
I tend to bet my futures bets for half units. I do not ever want bet anything big that will influence my approach in the regular season.
I simply use a floor (worst possible outcome) and ceiling (best outcome possible) for each team to come up with my 5-10 best plays for the season. I do believe you could actually find an edge in many more plays, but tying up money for five months can be a lot to overcome for many. Credit or not, I attempt to remain conservative in regular season wins and futures. I’ll give you the plays here, and I recommend you that you shop for the prices accordingly. If you have a few more outs, you’ll notice that you can protect your +EV rather easily.
Before we get into regular season wins, I would like to point out that I believe Clemson to win the ACC at -400 is extremely low for those who are less risk averse. I have them at minimum 14-point favorites over all other ACC competition. If at any point I would feel they were vulnerable during the last few weeks of the season, the hedge potential on a +700 or more underdog is easy to swallow. However, the overall talent in the ACC is nowhere close to Clemson in 2019. If they were unlucky enough to lose one game in conference, it’s very hard to imagine who could do the job and also remain in the lead in the Atlantic Division. Syracuse starts over at quarterback and has many questions. North Carolina State starts an offensive rebuild and Florida State comes to Death Valley.
Here are some of the strongest regular season wins that I played for 2019:
Play #1 – Marshall OVER 7.5 Wins
The Thundering Herd are being slept on a bit in 2019. They went from a rebuild in 2017 to nine wins and a blowout bowl win at USF to end the year on a dominating note. Doc Holliday shows that he can continually win using different systems and tempo on both sides of the ball.
In 2018, they had a very inexperienced quarterback situation. Now a sophomore, Isaiah Green led Conference USA first-year starters with 2,459 yards passing despite missing time with an ankle injury. They found success in a young running back unit with sophomores Brenden Knox and Tyler King racking up over 1,200 yards combined with two all-conference offensive linemen leading the way. This is the most consistent and best rushing offense in Conference USA hands down. If they can find similar success in the passing game, as they did in 2018, this offense should easily flourish and sail past 2018’s numbers.
Holliday has always had an emphasis on defense, and specifically run defense. They were #8 in the nation last season in run defense. Even in his leanest of seasons, Holliday has never been run on. But with two high-end transfers, from Virginia Tech and Florida International, on the interior and an all-conference defensive end in Channing Hames on the line, this defense has a similar look to last year. But the biggest difference that might cause a major push towards a conference championship run is the continuity now in the secondary. They have two multi-year starting cornerbacks and two proven reliable safeties.
The real reason this wager is especially attractive is there are actually eight wins simply by my current power numbers. Ohio and Cincinnati are home games where they’ll be slight favorites or underdogs. They play at Boise State, which I have counted as a loss. If they were to split between Ohio and Cincy, that leaves us with one game in pocket.
They will be large favorites in these home games:
They will also be large favorites on the road versus these:
They will be around pick em at Florida Atlantic and are around six-point favorites as of now to end the season at home versus Florida International. This is a good team with a great coach and continuity on the sides of the ball they struggled with last season. The floor for me is eight wins and their ceiling is 11 wins. They have all that I’m looking for in 2019.
Play #2 – Ohio OVER 7.5 Wins
The best quarterback in the MAC by a wide margin will lead a team with 12 all-conference players. Ohio must replace both running backs and their leading wide receiver, but the talent on defense will now come into play.
I love Frank Solich as many of you know and while last year this was an offense-first team, many didn’t notice that when he needed his young defense, they stepped up big. Against the better offenses of the MAC, Ohio never allowed more than two touchdowns to Buffalo, Western Michigan and, of course, they blanked San Diego State – and this was with an almost all-freshmen and sophomore defense. That defense is now experienced and gets the luxury of playing some very shaky offenses all season long. They simply could be flat out dominant.
They have a strong pass offense and a multi-threat run offense led by a duel-threat quarterback. The schedule is very easy. They have almost sure wins at home versus Rhode Island, Kent State and Miami OH, and on the road against Buffalo, Ball State, Bowling Green and Akron. They’ll be no more than a six-point underdog at Pittsburgh and Marshall. They simply do not have a single game that we can circle as a sure loss currently. They will be favored at home to Northern Illinois, Louisiana Lafayette, Western Michigan by a four-point spread or more. We will need one win from any of these. The ceiling for Ohio is 11 wins and the floor is eight wins.
Play #3 – Colorado UNDER 4.5 Wins
A program in transition seemingly every year has maybe the tallest task of any Power 5 conference team. They lost the final seven games of last season in an epic collapse to miss a bowl after winning the first five games of the season. This is a team that has had zero direction the past three seasons. They were never certain if they were a conservative defensively-built team, or a stretch up-tempo offensive squad. Recruiting faltered and a rebuild found another rebuild. They’re just three years removed (2016) from playing for the conference title, but this team is starting from scratch…again.
New head coach Mel Tucker knows one brand of football. He has successfully coached that brand for 20 years and, as the first-year head coach said very publicly, we are building an SEC program starting now. In other words, he wants to heavily run the ball from the “I” and power his way to slow moving, low scoring wins.
That sounds terrific if you have SEC players. It sounds even better if you can recruit players like Stanford and Washington do for the same system. Utah has made it work and even Arizona State won seven games last year with a similar thought process.
Unfortunately for Tucker, CU doesn’t recruit well and they are the smallest on both sides of the line versus every Pac-12 opponent this year. Their home games are mostly unwinnable. They do have an NFL wide receiver and an NFL cornerback. But they also have four freshman running backs who will be asked to carry the offense.
The talent on defense needs help, development and time. Tucker hasn’t coached this type of athlete since the late 1990s with a one-year stint in the MAC. I have Colorado favored in two games in 2019. Two! And by the way, I like the Buffs program and am usually a bit optimistic and almost biased towards them as I live in Colorado.
They get a dead, young team to start the season versus Colorado State, and then host a great Air Force team. While they are close in my numbers, Colorado is a favorite of close to six points currently.
From there, they host the following teams:
That’s five home games against top 50 teams and, at minimum, three top 30 teams. They will be large dogs in all of them except Arizona currently.
On the road it only gets worse against these programs:
This is almost cruel. Arizona State is the lowest ranked of the five and they are still 7-point dogs right now. It would take a collapse by a touchdown or more favorite not once, but twice for us to even sweat this wager. This is clearly Year Zero if not for a senior quarterback and two NFL prospects, whom by the way have no talent around them to offset the opposition.
The ceiling is four wins and the floor is one win. Yes, they can lose to Air Force and it’s honestly not that far-fetched. A service academy with an hour drive is not what Tucker wanted Week 3 of his first year.
Play #4 – Arizona State UNDER 7 Wins
First year head coach Herm Edwards shocked the Pac-12 by taking over an eight-win team in 2017, and winning seven games with a four-year senior quarterback and uncovering an NFL wide receiver and an All-American Freshman running back. In 2019, they lose the quarterback, the wide receiver and most of the offensive line, and will turn the ball over to blue chip freshman Jayden Daniels. It’s clear Edwards is playing a conservative “keep everything in front of you” approach after a season of “whenever you need a big play, throw it to the best big play wide receiver in college football.” That option will not exist in 2019. Expect the great run defenses to key on running back Eno Benjamin and test the young passing game and offensive line.
On the flip side, ASU was a very mediocre defense in 2019. And with almost no depth or experience on defense (or possibly talent), teams with strong running attacks should be able to take advantage of the 86th most efficient run defense of 2018. They bring back only defensive tackles and must replace both starting safeties. They were incredible in big play prevention in 2018 with a new 3-3-5 front that could change rapidly with so much youth in the secondary and a vulnerable interior. I don’t see enough upside to move their D ranking up.
The ceiling for the Sun Devils is seven wins and the floor is four wins. Outside of four games where they’ll be favored and should win easily, they will be large dogs versus Oregon, Utah and Michigan State. Washington State and USC have upgraded their talent, and a healthy Khalil Tate for Arizona, presents problems. Then trips to Cal and UCLA are problematic for different reasons, especially for a young quarterback and secondary.
Play #5 – San Diego State OVER 7.5 Wins
Rocky Long is a very interesting guy. He coaches for future seasons when one is lost and this is always looked down upon. But as bettors, we should be used to this by now. All major sports markets have tankers. Long lost his chance at the MWC title last year when he lost to Fresno State, and he quickly installed a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. And of course, he used them heavily in his bowl practices for 2019.
It all sets up perfectly for a typical San Diego State run in 2019. He has a loaded running back corps, a huge stock of linebackers and two talented defensive backs. He has youth at wide receiver and the defensive line, but he excels in run defense and the passing game (mostly a decoy to set up more running lanes).
The schedule for the Aztecs is beyond manageable. There is not a single guaranteed loss on the entire slate. Every close game is played in California.
On the road for Week 2 at UCLA should be competitive, and then they get both Utah State and Fresno State at home. They end the year playing an extremely similar BYU team. Those are the only close games on the schedule. That’s it!
I have excitedly looked about 10 times at this weak list of opponents:
New Mexico State
San Jose State
They should be double digit favorites in all of the above games if they’re healthy. The ceiling is realistically about 11 wins and the floor is eight wins.
I bet a few more regular season win totals but, unfortunately, I don’t feel it’s fair or transparent to give out non-widely available numbers at each book (they’ve moved too far). Please let me know if you have any questions regarding any team prior to the season. I’ll be back in the office on August 21st.
Thank you and good luck,
Eddie Walls was second to none in CFB last season, connecting on 63.4% of his plays for +37.9 units of profit overall for his clients! Nobody studies harder for college football year-round like Eddie does. Click HERE to receive every selection Eddie makes from Week 1 all the way through Bowl season.