Welcome one and all to another season of college football lines and picks! It’s everyone’s favorite time of year - time to once again get down on the greatest sport on the planet. Although I normally begin with a Week 1 slate, it seemed like a great time to take a look at some futures odds for the season and make some picks.
As usual, all odds are provided courtesy of our friends over at the DraftKings Sportsbook, whose odds you can find here.
With that said, here are a number of categories and picks that I like around college football...
Ohio State +300. While there doesn’t seem to be one uber-dominant all-time-type team in college football this year, there don’t seem to be a whole lot of teams that are truly capable of winning it outside of a few. And the one I feel the best about is currently getting 3 to 1 odds to win it. You’d normally like to see a little bit of a higher payout for a national championship bet, but it’s not that bad for a team that - at least I feel - will very likely end up in the College Football Playoff. I think the Buckeyes will rebound fine from losing some top end talent on offense, win the B1G title, and compete for the title, and I don’t think there are many teams that can stop them. Certainly Alabama can, and if Georgia’s depth is sufficient to replace a slew of defensive losses, then they could as well, but the Buckeyes are a gamble I’m willing to take here.
Miami +550 and NC State +750. I like both of those odds here. Although the Pack has to go to Clemson, they have Devin Leary and a potent offense, and that’s good enough to win that game and take the driver’s seat to Charlotte. They beat them last year, and they very well could do the same this year. At 7.5 to 1, hey, that’s a solid payout for a reasonable possibility. Miami is best positioned out of the Coastal to make it to Charlotte this year, so 5.5 to 1 seems like a worthy risk. Miami is listed at +130 to win the Coastal, so going from 1.3 to 1 to 5.5 to 1 by winning one extra game? Yeah, that’s strong. Sign me up.
Over/Under Season Wins
Miami over 8.5 (-135). I see a 9-3 season, and even 8-4 could conceivably mean two more shots at win #9 - either via ACC title game (if the Coastal coastals again) or in a bowl game. At 8 and a hook, I have the confidence to go over here, and at a decent payout of -135.
Wisconsin over 8.5 (-145). I think the Badgers win the B1G West and go to Indianapolis, so again, they’ve got two extra shots to make sure they hit the number. The Badgers are usually a pretty good bowl team, so if I need it to cover, I have less worry about them laying a stinker in a “meaningless” non-NY6 bowl game.
Baylor over 7.5 (-160). I know this number was set because of the Bears’ road trips to OU, Texas, Iowa State, and BYU, but I don’t care. I still think Baylor continues to be dominant at home and does enough on the road (at Texas Tech and at West Virginia) to get over the mark. Sign me up for the Bears/over bandwagon.
Notre Dame over 8.5 (-140). The Irish are still going to be plucky, even with Brian Kelly and his fam-uh-lee now in Baton Rouge. They’ll be 9+ wins-level good, even after the brutal opener at Ohio State and with Clemson and at USC in November.
Tennessee over 7.5 (-170). Ok, Vols. This is where you’re supposed to take step forward and actually beat a mid-level Florida team, beat the rest of the teams you should, and finally move out of Sevenwinsville and on to greener pastures. It’s time to grow up, and with one of the best quarterbacks in the country still in town to run Josh Heupel’s explosive offense, I’ll drink the Kool Aid here.
Over/under Conference Wins
UCLA under 5.5 (-110). UCLA’s dominance over USC last year will be short lived, as the Trojans appear headed back in the right direction. At best, the Bruins could be 5-2 in the PAC-12 headed into a tilt with USC, but I don’t see them winning that game, and I don’t like them the following week at Cal, so the path to six PAC-12 wins doesn’t look all that strong to me.
South Carolina under 3.5 (-155). South Carolina will be improved at QB with Spencer Rattler, but that SEC slate is a KILLER. At Arkansas - loss. Georgia at home - loss. At Kentucky - probably a loss. Texas A&M at home - probably a loss. Very decent possibility of 0-4 out of the gate. Not a good way to get to 4 conference wins.
LSU over 3.5 (-115). The Tigers will be better, and they get some key swing games at home vs. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. I see the Tigers going 4-4 in SEC in Kelly’s first year and surpassing this total.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.