College football is back. The season starts on the last Saturday in August. But before things even get started, there are plenty of opportunities to place bets. So what’s worth a bet now, are the big three worth a bet and what’s the future for USC? Our analysts are here to offer advice for the season.
Note: Lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
College Football Futures week schedule
Monday: Heisman Trophy Race
Tuesday: winning totals
Wednesday: Race for the title of the conference
Thursday: Tips for week 0/1
Friday: National title chances
Is there a college football winnings total you should be raking in right now?
David Hale: Toledo (O/U: 8.0 wins)
There are a number of bets I like at the moment, including overs on Penn State, Arizona State and Indiana and unders on Louisiana, Utah and TCU, but if I’m just picking one team to throw some money on, that’s it it Toledo. The Rockets ranked 17th nationally in EPA/Play last year. Of the 16 teams ahead of them, 15 won 10 games or more. Toledo, meanwhile, finished 7-6. Last season, the Rockets were either ahead or within three points on 71% of Toledo’s drives. Only one other team with better odds ended up with fewer than eight wins. Toledo have had notable bad luck in tight games, including a 0-4 mark in games decided by a field goal or less. Aside from Ohio State, there isn’t a game on the schedule that the Rockets shouldn’t win, and a variety of their 2022 opponents — Ball State, Kent State, NIU, Central Michigan — are among my schools most likely for a drop this year .
Joe Fortenbaugh: UNLV (O/U: 3.5 wins)
Believe it or not, I’ve already bet UNLV to win 3.5+ this season (-125). For starters, this costs 4.5 wins at other stores in Vegas, so I’m a big fan of the price. Second, there is reason for optimism in Sin City. The Rebels went just 2-10 a year ago but ranked 97th in the country in turnover difference (-5) and a bloody near-impossible 0-6 in one-score games. Those are two metrics pointing to positive regression in 2022. Also, UNLV opens the season on August 27 in a very convenient place against Idaho State, meaning the Rebels should be 1-0 for a week before heading to the Bay Area California games. Four wins are more than achievable.
Bill Connelly: Bowling Green (O/U 3.5 wins)
I like Toledo, but from an overall wins perspective, I like Bowling Green even more. The Falcons are among the most experienced teams in the country. My summer SP+ predictions average 5.3 wins, giving them an 89% chance of beating their current total of 3.5. I don’t want to pretend they’re potential MAC contenders or anything, but they certainly shouldn’t be the worst in the conference.
Elsewhere, I’m generally a guy who always puts the under at 10.5 or higher, always the over at 2.5, which gives you plenty of choice. Also, Syracuse is looking pretty good above 4 (the schedule offers two near-certainty wins and plenty of potential tossups), and Wake Forest is a good underpick if you see the Deacons at 8 or higher (they still have to defend, no matter how funny this offense is). And if you really want to ride that fear train, say hello to Auburn via 6. With their talent, the Tigers should never be that low, even if the chaos surrounding this program is big, even by Auburn standards.
Tyler Fulghum: Pittsburgh (O/O: 8.5 wins)
Much like a bet I made last season that worked (North Carolina Tar Heels), I’m fading a team that lost path Too much talent on offense. I like the Pittsburgh Panthers going under 8.5 wins in 2022. Losing QB Kenny Pickett to the NFL and WR Jordan Addison to USC is too much for me to find nine wins. While their schedule is far from daunting, it’s hard to imagine their offense being anywhere near as strong as 2021. That looks more like a 7-8 win team to me than a 9+ win team. Jump on this Pitt as fast as you can.
Doug Kezirian: Colorado (O/O: 3.5 wins)
Colorado under 3.5 wins is an absolute blast. The Buffaloes are likely to be underdogs in every game, and schedule is key to this bet. CU has a home field advantage with altitude, exemplified with all four wins at Boulder last year. This year’s home conference opponents, however, are top-tier teams: UCLA, California, Arizona State, Oregon and Utah. I don’t see four wins at all, especially in the season opener against TCU at home as opposed to Northern Colorado in 2021.
Chris Fallica: Oklahoma (Ü/U: 9.5 wins)
Even with Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams last year, no team won more games with seven or fewer than OU. There’s a lot of toss-up play on this schedule for a team that, in addition to the changes in the coaching staff and QB, will also have a big turnover on defense. A 9-3 record (the over/under is 9.5) is a very likely result for the 2022 Sooners’ season.
Fallica: South Florida (O/U: 4.5 wins)
South Florida was a bad team last year. And while Baylor transfer QB Gerry Bohannon was brought in, I’m not sure it takes the Bulls to five wins given the non-conference schedule has BYU, Florida and Louisville. Their only two wins last year came against Florida A&M and Temple, who the Bulls are visiting this year. USF doesn’t win in Cincinnati, Houston or Tulsa and will be a healthy underdog at home against SMU and UCF. The win total is fixed at 4.5, and five wins seems awfully hard to find.
Alabama and Ohio State’s overall wins are 11, while the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs is 11.5? Which number is safer?
Connelly: The simple answer is “none”. (See my “Always bet under 10.5 or higher” above.) But of those, I probably feel the best (least bad?) about the state of Ohio. The Buckeyes are playing three teams in my planned SP+ Top 10, but all three are at home and offense is the safest thing in college football this year. Only the defensive has to be right to be the national title favorite or to be very close.
Fortenbaugh: I’m in no rush to bet on any of these three teams, but Ohio State has my curiosity. The Buckeyes’ schedule is set up beautifully, with their first five home games followed by a soft road schedule featuring Michigan State, Maryland, Northwestern and Penn State. Granted, the Penn State game is going to be tough, but that’s the only road trip worth worrying about. The defense upgrade from coordinator Kerry Coombs to Jim Knowles is the biggest reason for optimism. Did you see what Knowles did at Oklahoma State last season?
USC has been in the news all offseason, first with the hiring of Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, and then moving to the Big Ten in a couple of years. The total winning amount of the trojans is fixed at 9. Do you like over or under?
Healthy: Riley, Caleb Williams, Jordan Addison — many big names have been added to the USC roster this offseason. The only problem? Someone has yet to play defense. The Trojans ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in yards allowed per game last season and gave up nearly 32 points per game. There’s still work to be done to go from a 4-8 season to a 9-3 (or better) year. Yes, the Trojans will see some huge improvements and will be incredibly fun to watch, but if you’re going for a 10-win season, you might want to start getting the Heisman for Williams and a trophy for the coach of the year for Riley while you’re at it.
Connelly: Exactly what Hale said. Even with these additions, SP+ only projects an average of 6.7 wins for the Trojans, and although I expect they’ll win more than that the (they’re pretty unpredictable right now), 9 is high. Granted, their schedule is extremely lenient — there’s a chance Fresno State might be the third or fourth-best opponent they face — which will give them a chance. But this defense hasn’t earned anyone’s trust yet.
https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/34212514/college-football-win-totals-why-take-teams-now College Football win totals – Why you should take these teams now