Sports handicapper Ian Cameron provides an update on College Football season win totals and talks about the movers and shakers that have made the biggest noise in early betting market action.
College Football season win totals have been available across most major Las Vegas sportsbooks with the South Point having win totals for all 128 FBS teams available. I'm taking a look at some of the biggest movers in early College Football season wins betting:
Ohio State Buckeyes: 9.5 wins (Over +105, Under -125)
The Ohio State Buckeyes have been one of the biggest movers in the win totals market. The Buckeyes opened as low as 8.5 wins at -115 to the Over and it has since been steamed up to 9.5 wins at near even $$ as of right now. College football odds makersexpected Ohio State to have a tough time duplicating their success of last season in which they went 11-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl over Notre Dame. Ohio State has the fewest returning starters (six returnees) of any Power 5 team entering the season and hence why the opened as low as they did. However, thanks to elite recruiting classes and the power of Urban Meyer to coach and recruit at a high level, Ohio State should be a team that will be reloading this season, not necessarily rebuilding and bettors seem to agree with that sentiment with their win total having been bet up by a full win to 9.5
Tennessee Volunteers 9.5 wins (Over +105, Under -125)
Tennessee opened at 10 wins at -110 and we've seen a steady flow of Under $$ trickle in in the last couple weeks with the Vols now sitting at 9.5 wins shaded slightly to the Under at -125. Tennessee is high on many people's radar screens and are a preseason 7th ranked team in the country due to a ton of experience returning (18 starters back from last year's team) including a terrific QB in Josh Dobbs and a pair of quality RB's Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd. They bring back most of their defense which was strong last season holding foes to 20 points per game last season. All of those factors are why the betting markets are white hot on Tennessee and their prospects for the upcoming season. So why are bettors taking the Under with this team?
Schedule analysis has to be a critical factor when betting season win totals. The talent is there for the Vols but they still play in a very daunting SEC conference and must navigate their way through a tough slate of opponents. Tennessee has a five game stretch starting on September 24th vs. Florida, @ Georgia, @ Texas A&M, vs. Alabama and @ South Carolina with a bye in between the Bama and South Carolina games. It is more than reasonable to expect Tennessee to lose two of those games if not more especially for a team that isn't used to playing in such big, high pressure games. That is the predominant opinion in why Tennessee has taken some Under action in the last little while.
UNLV Rebels 5.5 wins (Over -110, Under -110)
This is another win total much like Ohio State that has moved up a full win. UNLV opened at 4.5 -130 and now they are lined at 5.5 wins at even $$ as there has been some strong pro-UNLV opinion in the betting markets. It is Year #2 for head coach Tony Sanchez in Vegas and obviously, there should be more chemistry and continuity with his systems in place with the Rebels and the learning curve won't be as steep for their players and their roster should be improved thanks to Sanchez landing one of the strongest recruiting classes in program history. They lose Blake Decker at QB but they have some talented replacement options that will battle for the #1 job including Junior Kurt Palandech who returns after passing for nine touchdowns and running for 293 yards and four TD's last season in a backup role. He will enter the fall in a battle with Johnny Stanton, a first team JUCO All-American who began his career at Nebraska, where he played for Rebels offensive coordinator Barney Cotton.
Sanchez says he will also give four star recruit Armani Rogers, who switched to UNLV after initially committing to Cal prior to his senior year, a strong look in fall camp as well. They have plenty of skill position talent but the offensive line is a concern as that was not a strong unit last season but they do return three starters and should be better in the second year of this system. UNLV has some questions on defense particularly up front along the line but the secondary should be solid and have a chance to neutralize some of the better passing attacks. Bettors respect that UNLV was a lot more competitive last season even in Sanchez first year so there is optimism among bettors that this team can take another step forward from their 3-9 season last year although now with the total sitting at 5.5, it may be time to be cautious as UNLV being a .500 or better team is still far from a sure thing in 2016 for a program that has only won 6+ games once since 2004.
Here is one of the College Football season win totals that I am willing to recommend a wager on at the current #'s that are available:
Recommendation: Memphis Tigers Under 6.5 wins -110
Justin Fuente pulled off one of the best rebuilding jobs in recent College Football history, taking over a program that went 5-31 in three years before he arrived. By his third season, Memphis won 10 games and then 9 games the following year. However, Memphis lost their terrific head coach as Fuente left to take the Virginia Tech head coaching job and now the task to sustain their success becomes that much more difficult. Adding to the challenge is the loss of standout QB Paxton Lynch who is now in the NFL and suddenly, Memphis has quite a bit of question marks and issues they have to deal with this upcoming season.
The new head coach is Mike Norvell who has spent the last several years at Arizona State as their offensive coordinator. They will have a new offensive and defensive coordinator which means new systems and terminology and a steep learning curve for the players. Their schedule also has a couple tougher games outside of the conference as they face Bowling Green (a very good MAC team) and Ole Miss and the AAC has a slew of good teams in it that they will be facing including the likes of Temple, Tulsa, South Florida, Cincinnati, Houston and even SMU should be explosive offensively and no pushover either. I think there is potential for at least 6 losses from this Memphis team in 2016 so I'll take a shot with the Tigers to stay Under 6.5 wins at -110.