With college football season just around the corner, here are some future bets to consider. This tip focuses on win totals for several less prominent programs rather than the national championship market, where Alabama is a +175 favorite, followed by Ohio State (+300) and Georgia (+400), all unattractive price points. .
Odds taken Monday from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Syracuse over five wins (+125)
Orange have won just 11 times since their 10-3 season in 2018, and coach Dino Babers always seems to be on the thinnest ice. But Syracuse has the best running back you’ve never heard of in Sean Tucker (1,751 total yards, 14 touchdowns as a freshman in 2021), plenty of experience at linebacker and defensive back, and two new assistants (offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks Jason Beck), who helped propel Virginia to new offensive heights last season. Wins over Connecticut and Wagner should bring Orange nearly halfway to five, and games against Virginia, Wake Forest and Boston College are all winnable.
Louisiana-Lafayette under 8.5 wins (+100)
The Ragin’ Cajuns went 13-1 last year, losing only to Texas in their season opener and finishing 16th in the final Associated Press poll, but coach Billy Napier left for Florida after 40 wins. in four seasons. Now Louisiana-Lafayette has a rookie coach and new starters at nearly every key offensive position. There was a bit of luck in the Cajuns’ success last season: They went 7-0 in one-touchdown games, recovered 68.4 percent of opponents’ fumbles (tied for fifth nationally) and they lost just 4 of 10 fumbles of their own. (tied for 34th place). Those kinds of things tend to even out.
Mississippi State over 6.5 wins (-150)
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It takes a few years for shows to adjust to Mike Leach and his whimsical ways. His first two teams at Texas Tech went 14-11 before the Red Raiders went 9-5 in his third season and won a bowl game for the first time in seven years. His first three Washington State teams went 12-25 before reaching nine wins with his fourth. Leach has gone 11-13 in his first two seasons at Mississippi State, and the pattern should repeat itself this year. The Bulldogs return with plenty of talent and will likely be the favorites in all four non-conference games (Memphis, Arizona, Bowling Green, East Tennessee).
One more thing: Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers is back for a third year as a starter under Leach. The previous three times we’ve seen that scenario — Kliff Kingsbury (2002) and Graham Harrell (2008) at Texas Tech and Luke Falk (2017) at Washington State — Leach’s teams have won at least nine games.
Arkansas under 7.5 wins (-150)
This is a bit juicy for my liking: punters would have to wager $150 just to win $100, but ESPN’s Bill Connelly is projecting 6.4 Razorbacks wins, and the difference between his estimate and Las Vegas’s winning total is hard. to ignore. Nearly every defensive starter has left the 2021 nine-win team, as have three of the Hogs’ top four receivers (Treylon Burks, now with the Tennessee Titans, accounted for 39.7 percent of the Razorbacks’ receiving yards ). Non-conference games against 2021 CFP semifinalist Cincinnati at BYU and Liberty are on the schedule, as are the usual SEC West landmines including Alabama and Texas A&M.
Auburn under 6.5 wins (-160)
This is more of a prediction of “bad vibes and an absurdly difficult schedule” than anything statistical. Coach Bryan Harsin seemed like a peculiar fit for the Tigers when he was hired in December 2020, and he’s still a peculiar fit now after a 6-7 record last season that resulted in a soap opera offseason. Harsin is already on his third offensive coordinator and second defensive coordinator, and the absurdly large purchase of him was reportedly the only thing that kept him in his place. This season, the Tigers host Penn State in early September and have to travel to meet their SEC schedule, with games in defending national champion Georgia, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Alabama.
Georgia Tech wins under 3.5 (-145)
The Yellow Jackets check a lot of boxes for a team that should be in trouble (again). Coach Geoff Collins is on the bench and he’s brought a busload of new assistants; their most exciting player of 2021 (running back Jahmyr Gibbs) traded to Alabama; they have some of the lowest return production numbers in the nation; and they have a ridiculously tough schedule that could see them favored in just two games (at home vs. Duke and Western Carolina).
South Florida under 4.5 wins (-135)
The Bulls could be favorites in exactly one game this year, at home against Howard in Week 2. Their other non-conference games are at home against BYU and at Florida and Louisville, three losses almost certain for a three-win program. his last two seasons.
Toledo to win the Mid-American Conference (+330)
Earlier this summer, Central Michigan was the favorite to win the MAC, but the Rockets are the team to back because of a defense that will be better than many Power Five teams and is by far the best in the conference. Toledo travels to Ohio State in Week 3; may not lose many other games besides that one.