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Examining the Over/Under 2019 Win Totals for Conference USA

 Examining the Over/Under 2019 Win Totals for Conference USA

Examining the Over/Under 2019 Win Totals for Conference USA

We are in the month of June and it's never too early to start working on college football win totals. The Vegas sportsbooks are taking their sweet time releasing the totals on teams outside of the Power 5, but FanDuel Sportsbook which is only available in Jersey provided us with their opinions on everyone.

For those who have not previously read my over/under articles, I basically provide my thoughts and information on every team in college and pro football. I went through every team before the numbers came out so I could not be affected by the market. I base a lot of my college football handicapping on returning starters, non-conference opponents and if there are any spot plays.

With that let's take a look at Conference USA where there are some intriguing teams:

Note: Over/under totals provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.

Conference USA East Division

College Football Rankings: Charlotte

Charlotte 49ers

Over 4.5 wins -108...Under 4.5 wins -108
Non-Conference Games: Gardner-Webb, at Appalachian State, UMass, at Clemson

Will Healy was one of the better hires of the offseason and he'll be put to the test early with the 49ers. Last year they went 5-7 and have just five starters back on offense. Chris Reynolds and Benny LeMay return in the backfield and both of them were pretty solid. Reynolds had just 154 passing attempts as a freshman and has some competition to hold off for the job. The best WR back is Victor Tucker, but Healy brought in a lot of fresh talent. The defense has eight starters back, but is switching to a 4-2-5 scheme. This team was ninth nationally against the run so that's a solid place to start. The problems came when teams took to the air.

Verdict: This number is pretty good. I have them going 4-8.

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Florida Atlantic Owls

Over 8 wins EVEN....Under 8 wins -120
Non-Conference Games: at Ohio State, UCF, at Ball State, Wagner

Lane Kiffin's second year was nowhere near as good as his first as the Owls went 5-7. The offense brings six starters back, but it's who is not that is a bit of a surprise. WR Jovon Durante and RB Kerrith Whyte are gone from that side of the ball. Quarterback Chris Robison was just recently reinstated after being suspended for the spring. With him missing practice, Indiana transfer Nick Tronti got some extra reps along with several others. Whoever is under center will be targeting Harrison Bryant and Willie Wright quite a bit. The defense will have its third coordinator in three years. The back end is strong, but up front could be a struggle. FAU has to be better in one-possession games if the Owls want to take the next step.

Verdict: Not a bad number but I have a slight lean to the under. Don't love it though.

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FIU Panthers

Over 7.5 wins +120....Under 7.5 wins -140
Non-Conference Games: at Tulane, New Hampshire, UMass, Miami

The Panthers went 9-4 last year and return a lot of the offense that helped them get there. James Morgan was very good with 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His main wide receivers are back in Maurice Alexander and Austin Maloney. Several of the running backs have returned as well. The defense has a ton of talent back in the secondary, but the run defense was really suspect last year. The schedule features a stretch of five home games over six contests and a home game vs. Miami on Nov. 23.

Verdict: I know it's boring, but I think seven wins is what I came up with. Don't love it enough though to spend the -140.

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Marshall Thundering Herd

Over 6.5 wins -176....Under 6.5 wins +140
Non-Conference Games: VMI, at Boise State, Ohio, Cincinnati

Doc Holliday's bunch should be the favorites in the C-USA East. The Herd have seven starters back on offense and six on defense. Isaiah Green had a mixed bag 2018 with 15 touchdowns, but also 10 interceptions. He's got to find a new top target with Tyre Brady gone. It could be Obi Obialo or someone else. The defense lost a ton of experience in the front seven and has a new coordinator in former Charlotte head coach Brad Lambert. The secondary could be really strong though.

Verdict: Love the over here as I had nine wins. Look to see if it moves to seven and jump on it with lower juice.

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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Over 5.5 wins +110....Under 5.5 wins -130
Non-Conference Games: at Michigan, Tennessee State, Duke, at Iowa

Three Power 5 foes in the first four games will be a test in the post-Brent Stockstill era. The head coach's son finally graduates and now we're looking at Randall Johnson or Asher O'Hara under center. O'Hara had 20 pass attempts in 2018 while Johnson was a junior college quarterback. Ty Lee and CJ Windham are the two top wide receivers while the backfield will be led by Chaton Mobley. The defense has six starters back led by Khalil Brooks and DQ Thomas at linebacker. Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer made this unit a lot more aggressive.

Verdict: Five is the number I came up so slight lean to the under.

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Old Dominion Monarchs

Over 4.5 wins +165....Under 4.5 wins -195
Non-Conference Games: Norfolk State, at Virginia Tech, at Virginia, East Carolina

The bottom fell out on the Monarchs last year with the highlight being a home win over Virginia Tech. Steven Williams is going to have to take the next step at quarterback because Blake LaRussa is not back to be the security blanket. There are just two returning starters and both are on the offensive line. Kesean Strong is a solid running back, but he also is the leading returning receiver, which is far from ideal. ODU's defense has a relatively bare cupboard with just four starters back. David Blackwell takes over on defense but his units at East Carolina struggled. It could be a rough year.

Verdict: I see 3-4 wins. Wait until a potential line move and take under four with cheaper juice if it happens.

College Football Rankings: WKU

WKU Hilltoppers

Over 5 wins -114....Under 5 wins -102
Non-Conference Games: Central Arkansas, Louisville, Army, at Arkansas

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WKU's non-conference games are spread out over the schedule. There's one each in August, September, October and November, which is rather interesting. The offense could be really fun to watch with Joshua Samuel in the backfield and Lucky Jackson and Quin Jernighan out wide. Steven Duncan is going to have to hold off Arkansas transfer Ty Storey at quarterback. Duncan had nine touchdown passes to seven interceptions last season. The offensive line is intact. Six starters return on defense as well. The 4-2-5 alignment was effective at times last year. DeAngelo Malone and Juwuan Jones are solid defensive linemen.

Verdict: Five is a solid number with a small lean to the over especially if the team takes care of business at home.

Conference USA West Division

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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Over 7.5 wins -108....Under 7.5 wins -108
Non-Conference Games: at Texas, Grambling, at Bowling Green, UMass

J'Mar Smith does not have to look behind him for competition as the senior will be the quarterback. Smith had nine of his 15 touchdowns earlier in the campaign so he'll have to bounce back quickly. Adrian Hardy is back and he is Conference USA's returning leader in terms of catches and yards. The defense is going to look different with Jaylon Ferguson gone. The entire defensive line has to be replaced although Willie Baker is a solid place to start. Skip Holtz' team has a manageable schedule and could win a bunch of games.

Verdict: Eight wins is what I came up with so slight lean to the over.

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North Texas Mean Green

Over 7.5 wins -120....Under 7.5 wins EVEN
Non-Conference Games: Abilene Christian, at SMU, at Cal, Houston

I've made a lot of money betting on these guys over the last two years. It's a weird start to the year with an FCS matchup followed by two road trips of differing lengths. Mason Fine has flourished in this offense although former offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is now at USC. Fine has DeAndre Torrey in the backfield and Rico Bussey Jr. out wide. The offensive line is pretty solid too. On the other side of the ball we'll see the return of the 3-3-5 alignment that helped the Mean Green hold opponents to around 24 points per game. They have some work to do with just five returning starters back though.

Verdict: Eight is what I came up with so lean to the over.

College Football Rankings: Rice

Rice Owls

Over 2.5 wins +105....Under 2.5 wins -125
Non-Conference Games: at Army, Wake Forest, Texas, Baylor

My goodness, starting out with Texas and Baylor in the first month or so will not help an Owls team that will be hard-pressed for victories. Their best chance is probably the last week at UTEP. Mike Bloomgren went 2-11 last year and doesn't have a ton of talent now either. There are 13 returning starters. Question marks begin at quarterback and continue at almost every position although there are three solid receivers back. The defense could be better than last year, but this unit allowed 36 points per contest in 2018.

Verdict: It's hard to find three wins on this schedule so I lean to the under.

College Football Rankings: Southern Miss

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Over 7.5 wins EVEN...Under 7.5 wins -120
Non-Conference Games: Alcorn State, at Mississippi State, at Troy, at Alabama

Southern Miss gets a cupcake open and then makes three tough road trips before entering conference play. The defense ranked top 20 in quite a few categories nationally last season and returns six starters. The secondary should be the strength with some question marks up front. The offense needs to get a better effort from Jack Abraham. He had 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Jordan Mitchell and Tim Jones are a solid pair at wide receiver. If the Golden Eagles can survive the early slate, they could be a factor in the West division.

Verdict: The over could be worth a look here. With good QB play, eight wins are certainly possible.

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UAB Blazers

Over 7 wins -150...Under 7 wins +130
Non-Conference Games: Alabama State, at Akron, South Alabama, at Tennessee

UAB went 11-3 last year and Bill Clark continues to work magic with the Blazers. Clark is 25-14 in three years with them. The offense is going to rely now on Tyler Johnston III who got a lot of work last year when they switched to him from A.J. Erdely. Spencer Brown is a really good running back who ran for almost 1,300 yards in 2018. Other then that, there are a lot of new players to break in. The defense is led by Garrett Marino who signed with UAB back in 2015. Florida transfer linebacker Jordan Smith got cleared and has enrolled. We'll see what Clark can do with this team.

Verdict: I got seven wins so no lean either way.

College Football Rankings: UTEP

UTEP Miners

Over 3 wins -108...Under 3 wins -108
Non-Conference Games: Houston Baptist, at Texas Tech, Nevada, at New Mexico State

Dana Dimel went 1-11 in his first season as UTEP's head coach. They Miners beat Rice 34-26 and once again, that could be their best chance at a win depending on how good FCS foe Houston Baptist is this year. Expected starting quarterback Kai Locksley was just arrested, putting his status very much in doubt. Quardraiz Wadley is a decent running back, but teams loaded up the box against him because they knew the passing game wasn't a threat. The defense is serviceable when healthy. UTEP was tied for last nationally in turnover margin (-17) in 2018, but this team dealt with a ton of injuries.

Verdict: Ever-so-slight lean to the under although there isn't much margin for error.

College Football Rankings: UTSA

UTSA Roadrunners

Over 2 wins -182....Under 2 wins +142
Non-Conference Games: Incarnate Word, at Baylor, Army, at Texas A&M

Frank Wilson's had a couple of tough years with UTSA after a good start. The offense will go as quarterback Frank Harris goes, assuming he wins the job. The lefty was injured last year and does well with his arm as well as his legs. The offensive line is almost intact, but the skill positions leave a lot to be desired. Kirk Johnson Jr. is the leading returning receiver after registering just 20 catches in 2018. The defense needs to find two new linebackers for its 4-2-5 alignment. The Roadrunners had great special teams last year, but both the kicker and punter are gone.

Verdict: The over is the right side, but not at that price. Maybe wait for a line move to get more value. I have five wins.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.