In the spirit of Monday’s historic Supreme Court decision which legalized sports betting, let’s take a look at some way-too-early over/under and prop bets for the 2018 football season. Sound off in the comments which bets you’re taking, which you’re staying away from and if my odds were too generous or stringent!
Over/Under Wins - 10.5
Coming off a 10-3 season last year, Miami should be expected to take a small step forward. If not for missing the Arkansas State game due to last year’s actual hurricane, Miami likely would’ve had 11 wins. The Canes should have slightly higher expectations this year, with most of last year’s stars returning and the potential for the QB position improve. Miami’s toughest games figure to be at home against FSU and a late-season matchup with the Hokies in Blacksburg. I’d be heavily considering the over here, since an 11 win regular season might (hopefully) just be the new normal for this program. Or at least new in that it hasn’t been the norm in almost 20 years.
Who will be the starter in Week 1? - Malik Rosier (-150) or N’Kosi Perry (+175)
Rosier deserves to be the favorite, at least while we’re still in spring. This battle will heat up the deeper into the summer we get but from everything Mark Richt has been saying, it seems like he’s comfortable letting Rosier come into the season as the starter. Could a bad performance against LSU change that? It certainly could but unless Perry absolutely balls out during the summer, I think we’ll be seeing no. 12 under center in Arlington, for better or for worse.
Who will have the most rushing yards? - Travis Homer (-125) or DeeJay Dallas (+125) or Lorenzo Lingard (+150)
Last week I discussed why I think Homer will remain the starting runningback in 2018 and I’m sticking to that. The junior had 163 carries last year and averaged an impressive 5.9 yards per carry. DJD picked it up late in the season but still only managed 41 carries and 5.3 yards per carry. Homer should shoulder most of the load early in the season but could cede more and more carries to both DJD and Lingard later in the year. Homer’s early season performance against the likes of Savannah State, Toledo and FIU could give him the boost necessary to be the season’s rushing leader. Don’t discount the other two though, who certainly make for interesting underdogs in their own way.
Who will wear the Turnover Chain most? - Jaquan Johnson (+100) or Michael Jackson (+150) or Sheldrick Redwine (+250) or Trajan Bandy (+300)
Last year’s most-frequent wearer of the turnover chain was Michael Jackson, awarded the chain five times. Johnson and Redwine were both close seconds, earning it four times each. In 2018, I expect JJ to be a slight favorite due to his ability to put himself in position to grab interceptions and create fumbles with his punishing hits. Johnson had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries to go along with his four interceptions last season and it shouldn’t be a shock if those numbers go up a little bit. Michael Jackson figures to be JJ’s biggest competition, a suffocating corner with great ball skills and someone who is already used to covering the opposition’s top corner. Jackson could struggle if teams simply decide to ignore his side of the field but he still should capitalize on his opportunities when they come to him. Redwine has been an underrated defender in his time at Miami, snatching two INTs and two fumbles last season, even if he isn’t consistent on a down to down basis. Bandy is the long shot but he figures to take on a bigger role with Malek Young’s career ending prematurely and Bandy’s own impressive play late in the year.
Who wins the ACC Coastal? - Miami (EVEN) or Virginia Tech (+150)
After handling Virginia Tech last season and winning their first ACC Coastal title, the Canes figure to be the favorites for 2018. VT should be better this season, however Miami is also expecting another leap forward in their own level of play. The Hokies’ offense should continue to grow under QB Justin Jackson but on the defensive side of the ball, VT lost a lot of difference makers to the NFL. This should make Miami the favorite but Tech shouldn’t be easily discounted, a win against the Canes in Blacksburg could ultimately decide the Coastal title.