Here are the college teams that should beat the odds
The start of the 2019 college football season is just under two months away, and FanDuel is out with its over/under win total future bets for the upcoming year. As expected, there were plenty of interesting projections when the company released its totals in late June. While a lot can change over the next few weeks until kickoff, these 15 picks caught our attention. Which teams are worth a look to bet big on this season? We examine 15 over/under picks that are worth a look in FanDuel's over/under win total bets.
College Football Win Totals: Teams to Bet On
Arkansas (under 6)
The Razorbacks should show improvement in coach Chad Morris’ second year. The addition of quarterback transfers Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks will provide a spark on offense. However, big question marks remain on defense and on the offensive line. Arkansas should be favored in its four non-conference games but finding two wins in SEC action seems unlikely.
Army (over 8.5)
The Black Knights have won at least eight games in each of the last three years and have posted 21 victories since 2017. Behind quarterback Kelvin Hopkins and a solid defense, Army could be favored in 11 of its games this season. Hitting the over on 8.5 seems like one of the best bets on the board.
Cincinnati (over 6)
The Bearcats were one of the most-improved teams in college football last season. While coach Luke Fickell’s squad has to reload on both lines of scrimmage, regressing from 11 to six seems unlikely. Quarterback Desmond Ridder and running back Michael Warren anchor a potent offense, and seven starters return from a defense that ranked first in the AAC in fewest points allowed last fall. Non-conference games against UCLA, Ohio State and Marshall are tough, and the Bearcats get Houston and Memphis in crossover play with the West Division. Despite that, this team should hit the over.
Colorado (under 4.5)
The good news for new coach Mel Tucker: Quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Laviska Shenault form a promising connection on offense. The bad news: Question marks remain up front on the line and at running back, while each level of the defense has holes to fill. The schedule also doesn’t do Tucker any favors. Colorado gets the projected top four teams from the North – Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Washington State – plays Nebraska in non-conference play and gets swing games versus Arizona State and UCLA on the road.
Duke (under 6.5)
Coach David Cutcliffe is one of the top developers of quarterback talent in college football, so the offense may not slip too far despite losing Daniel Jones to the NFL. However, this team has to navigate a brutal schedule that features 10 bowl teams from 2018, including non-conference matchups versus Alabama and Notre Dame. Duke also gets Syracuse in crossover play with the Atlantic Division.
Louisiana (over 5.5)
It was a close call in Athlon’s picks between Louisiana and Arkansas State for No. 1 in the Sun Belt’s West Division for 2019. The Ragin’ Cajuns are the defending West champs and return one of the deepest backfields in the nation. Even though coach Billy Napier’s team has to break in a new quarterback and improve on defense, getting back to seven wins seems like a reasonable expectation.
Mississippi State (under 8.5)
Despite having a defense that limited teams to just 13.2 points a game last fall, Mississippi State finished 8-5 in coach Joe Moorhead’s debut. While the defense will remain strong despite some key losses, exceeding eight victories seems unlikely without major improvement on an offense that ranked 10th in the SEC in scoring. Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens could be the right answer under center. But even if Mississippi State improves offensively, projected losses to Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU and Alabama drops this team to 8-4 – just under the 8.5 mark by FanDuel.
Missouri (over 6.5)
Of all of the win totals on the board, this one seems like the easiest call on over. Sure, the Tigers are banned from postseason play and motivation may be an issue with nothing to play for at the end of the year. However, Clemson transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant is poised to lead a dynamic offense, and six starters provide a good foundation on defense. Missouri could be favored in its first eight games and five of the first six matchups take place at home.
New Mexico (under 5)
After back-to-back 3-9 seasons, it’s no secret the 2019 campaign is a make-or-break year for New Mexico coach Bob Davie. Since taking over in 2012, the Lobos have only two seasons of more than five wins under his watch. Getting to five in 2019 seems unlikely for a team with major defensive concerns and an offense that averaged only 4.99 yards a play last fall.
Notre Dame (over 8.5)
The Fighting Irish have won at least 10 games in three out of the last four years. Even with road trips to Georgia and Michigan this season, reaching nine or 10 victories seems realistic for coach Brian Kelly’s squad. Quarterback Ian Book returns after helping to lead Notre Dame to a playoff trip last fall. Kelly’s defense has to retool a bit, but coordinator Clark Lea should ensure this unit doesn’t fall too far on the stat sheet.
Oklahoma State (over 6.5)
The last time Oklahoma State won fewer than seven games? 2005. And after an uneven 2018 season, coach Mike Gundy seems motivated to get this team back in the mix for a top-25 finish. The Cowboys are loaded with skill talent, and new quarterback Spencer Sanders is promising. The biggest question mark for Gundy rests with a defense that is inexperienced up front. Despite the defensive concerns, Oklahoma State has enough offensive firepower to sweep its non-conference slate and find four (or five) wins in Big 12 play.
Purdue (under 8)
It’s tough to bet against Jeff Brohm, but eight is too high of a total for Purdue. The Boilermakers return dynamic playmaker Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar should provide an easy transition from David Blough at quarterback. Purdue’s defense is also poised to improve with nine starters back. However, the schedule features non-conference games against Vanderbilt and TCU and road trips to Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Brohm’s team also has to contend with two other teams trending up – Nebraska and Minnesota – in its division.
Syracuse (over 5)
Eric Dungey will be missed, but coach Dino Babers seems to have a capable replacement waiting in the wings with sophomore Tommy DeVito. Additionally, the Orange are stocked with talent at the skill positions, and the defense could be the best of Babers’ tenure. After winning 10 games last fall, regressing to five with a favorable schedule seems unlikely.
Troy (over 6.5)
Provided there’s a smooth transition from Neal Brown to new coach Chip Lindsey, Troy should push for the Sun Belt title and easily hit the over on 6.5 in 2019. Quarterback Kaleb Barker is back after missing seven games due to a knee injury last fall, and he’s joined by one of the Sun Belt’s top lines and running back B.J. Smith. The Trojans have won at least 10 games in each of the last three years, and even with a new staff, regressing to six victories seems unrealistic.
Virginia (over 6)
The Cavaliers won eight games and lost three others by four points or less last season. In other words, this team wasn’t far off from a 10-win season. With quarterback Bryce Perkins and seven starters back from one of the ACC’s top defenses, coach Bronco Mendenhall’s team could be the favorite in the Coastal Division. Even with road trips to Pitt, Miami and Notre Dame, the 2019 slate is a favorable one for Virginia to easily eclipse six victories.