By Michael Roth
Hello readers of Sports Regime, I am Michael Roth, a freshman at Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. I will be mostly covering football at Sports Regime and I view football through a strong gambling perspective. For the past 2 seasons I have been posting college football bets on twitter (my twitter is @mikerothou) and I have won at around 58% (most professional gamblers aim for a 55% win %). In this article I will be posting my picks for win totals for the upcoming college football season, these lines will be coming from Bovada or South Point (note: not all picks are -110 like ATS and Totals picks will be throughout the season)
Virginia Tech over 8.5 wins: I like Virginia Tech to go over 8.5 wins, as they return a successful coach in Justin Fuente who has won at least 9 regular season games in his last 4 seasons. The schedule for Virginia Tech is very favorable as well, in part because they open up against Florida State, who is under new coach Willie Taggart. While the Seminoles open as 6.5 point favorites, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hokies pulled the upset. After that, Virginia Tech has 3 straight games where they should be 20+ point favorites, before a tricky contest at Duke which should be a single digit spread, but the Hokies should be able to win in this contest as well. That leads into a huge contest against Notre Dame, and while the Irish are very talented, they could already have 2 losses with tough challenges against Michigan and Stanford before this game. Virginia Tech looks like a slight underdog in this game, but being at home gives me plenty of confidence in the Hokies having a least a chance of winning this game. After this, Virginia Tech gets 4 straight games against bottom feeder ACC teams, (none of them have a win total above 6.5) this should be at worst a 3-1 stretch with a high probability of 4-0. This leads into a huge contest where Miami travels to play Virginia Tech. While the Hurricanes are more talented than Virginia Tech, playing in a colder environment has been a struggle for Mark Richt’s squad– just last year they were unbeaten before going up to Pittsburgh and getting dominated by a below average Panthers squad. Finally, Virginia Tech wraps up with a home game against Virginia, a rivalry that the Hokies have dominated recently. Overall I see 9 probable wins for Virginia Tech, with 2 toss ups at home (Miami and Notre Dame) and only one probable loss (Florida State). Getting 3 potential losses makes this a definite over 8.5 bet.
Nebraska under 6.5 wins: Nebraska has fairly low expectations for Scott Frost’s first year in Lincoln, and that’s because he takes over a not very talented squad. There’s a chance they start off 3-0 against Mac bottom feeder Akron, PAC 12 bottom feeder Colorado, and a top Sun Belt team in Troy, but any loss in these games would be disastrous if you take the over. Nebraska does have 3 games where I see little to no chance that they pull out the win, they travel to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. They also will be strong underdogs at home against Michigan State when the Spartans travel to Lincoln and when Nebraska travels to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in week 12. Those 5 games I’d say Nebraska is probably 1-4 and closer to 0-5 than 2-3. Nebraska should be favorites Vs Purdue, At Northwestern, Vs Minnesota, and Vs Illinois. However a loss in any of these games would mean a likely under on the win total, and I think they disappoint at least once in this stretch.
Northwestern under 6.5 wins: Clayton Thorson is this year’s Josh Allen in my opinion. Some NFL draft scouts are enamored in his huge arm, but his inconsistent play hurts in the college game. He’s also not completely healthy to start this season. I think they start the year off 0-1 without him against Purdue (Northwestern is currently a 4 point underdog). They then should beat Duke and Akron at home, but that’s about where the fun ends. I see 6 probable losses in their schedule, At Purdue, Vs Michigan, At Michigan State, Vs Wisconsin, Vs Notre Dame, and At Iowa. The only way Northwestern goes over this total is if they win at least one of these games and then go unbeaten in the games they’re favored in, which I find very unlikely.
West Virginia over 7 wins: West Virginia is a very popular team because of the fact that they return first team All-America selections in star QB Will Grier and WR David Stills. This gives me cause for concern for taking the over on their season win total, but I still think over 7 is too good of value to pass up. West Virginia should start off 2-0 opening the year with a neutral site game against a Tennessee team rebuilding with a new coach, they then play Youngstown St, and despite the Penguins being one of the best FCS teams in the nation they should provide no match for the Mountaineers. West Virginia then has a bunch of interesting games which could go either way: At NC State, Vs Kansas State, At Texas Tech, At Iowa State, with a easy win over Baylor and Kansas in between these games. These 5 games are very interesting to me because they could easily win any of these games (At Nc State and At Iowa State are games where West Virginia are likely close to a pick’em) and could lose any of them as well. West Virginia wraps up their season against the 4 teams with higher win totals in the Big 12 in Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. I’d expect them to go at least 1-3 in these games, leaving them at likely 7 or 8 wins on the season. For West Virginia to go under this total they would most likely have to lose 3 of the 4 ‘toss up’ games in the middle of the season, which appears unlikely.
Texas Tech under 6 wins: Texas Tech is a team that I’d expect to miss out on bowl eligibility. This is due to a difficult schedule without many easy wins. Texas Tech only has 3 games where they will likely be above 3 point favorites. These games are a home game Vs Lamar, home Vs Kansas, and home Vs Baylor. They have tricky games against Ole Miss and Houston in non-conference play and I’d expect them to go 1-1 in these 2 games. This would require Texas Tech to win 2 of the 7 games where they should be underdogs just to push this win total. I find this to be a difficult task for the Red Raiders to achieve.
Washington under 10.5: The Huskies are the early favorites for the PAC 12 title this year, but I’m going under on their win total. While I don’t disagree with this statement, I think they are overvalued largely due to the fact that Jake Browning is a very overrated quarterback and I think that he will cost the Huskies at least 1 game this season. I think they probably lose to Auburn in week 1, (Auburn is about a field goal favorite) and if this happens, I find it very likely they slip up at least once more throughout the rest of the season. Even if they manage to win in the tough week 1 challenge, they still have to travel to Utah, UCLA, Oregon, and rival Washington State. Add this with a difficult home game against Stanford, I’m confident that the Huskies are a 10-2 or 9-3 team this season.
Georgia over 10.5 wins: The top 3 teams in the country in my opinion are Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia. The former both have a total of 11 which provides little value on either side, however with Georgia at 10.5, I’m very confident in their ability to go over the win total. Out of all the playoff contenders, Georgia has arguably the softest schedule. I see only 4 games where they will be under a 2 touchdown favorite and those games are At South Carolina, At LSU, Neutral Vs Florida, and Vs Auburn. There should be a low chance Georgia loses more than 1 of these games, and to go under this win total would require a massive upset by someone else. I’ll take my chances against that happening.
South Carolina over 7.5 wins: The Gamecocks obviously have 2 games against top title threats in Georgia and Clemson, but besides those games their most difficult contests are at home vs Missouri and Texas A&M and a road trip to Florida. South Carolina should go 2-1 in that stretch, and that would require 2 fairly sizable upsets to go under this win total. Every season I pick one or two teams from outside the preseason top 25 to be my sleeper team for the season. Last year I picked UCF and North Carolina State–this year my pick is South Carolina.
Non Power 5 picks
UCF over 9 wins: While UCF does lose Scott Frost and some defensive pieces including Mike Hughes, I still like them to go over 9 wins. This comes from a strong faith in McKenzie Milton, who is in my opinion one of the best quarterbacks in college football. I see little regression from this offense because they return him along with many speedsters capable of making the big play for this offense. Their out of conference schedule also became much more manageable when North Carolina suspended many players for their contest against UCF. UCF should be at worst 5-1 when they travel to Memphis which should be a tough contest, but this should be close to a pick’em. After that, games Vs Navy and At South Florida are the only roadblocks from another very successful season in Orlando.
Ohio over 8.5 wins: I know this might sound like a biased pick as I am an incoming freshmen at this school, but it isn’t. Ohio over 8.5 wins is one of the best values on the board right now. Ohio does travel to 2 bigger schools in Virginia and Cincinnati, and even in a worse case scenario where they go 0-2, they would still have to lose 2 Mac games, which seems unlikely. A road matchup against Northern Illinois and a home game against Buffalo seem like the only difficult games in their conference schedule. I see this as a 10-2 football team going to the Mac title game, which would give you a comfortable over ticket cashed.
Those are all my picks for college football, I will post a NFL season win totals picks piece as well, but I’m much more involved in College Football gambling and will be throughout the season.