Win Totals for College Football 2019
While March Madness may have the nation’s attention, the first taste of college football excitement is finally upon us. Spring practices are getting underway, and we are about a month from getting our first glimpse at what some teams will look like in the intersquad games. Along with the first breath of the new season, we also get our first look at early season win totals. BetMania has released season win totals on 23 high-profile teams. While some of the best value may be found as the other teams are released, there is certainly an opportunity to find value on some of the big programs early on.
There is a variety of factors that should be looked at when you are placing a wager this early in the year. You certainly want to identify the coaching situation, and see which direction the coach has the program going. Established coaches like Saban and Swinney are sure to have a team ready, but you may want to look at younger guys who are in the third or fourth season that have really made progress. On the contrary, you may see a coach on the way out who has been on a slide, who might not have the pulse of the team. While it should be obvious to look at who is returning, a recruiting class is also vital to a teams success. All it takes sometimes is one great class to spark a team, and help create a winning season. Most importantly, you need to look at scheduling. Quality of the win means nothing when making these bets, so identifying who has a few cupcakes and more home games can be crucial.
Below we have pinpointed a few teams that may have some early value for your 2019 NCAA football season win totals.
There has been no shortage of talent in the Hurricane program the last few seasons. They have had a dominant defense, highlighted by the defensive line that saw three players drafted last season. The speed at The U is always there, but they have had one major weakness that has derailed their season, and that is quarterback play. While N’Kosi Perry and Malik Rosier are both returning, it is the arrival of Tate Martell that that is most intriguing. The highly touted recruit arrives after leaving Columbus, and has been granted immediate eligibility. While no starter has been named, I find it hard to believe a guy as talented as Martell won’t be calling the shots come fall.
Manny Diaz takes the helm and I think the young energy is exactly what the Hurricane program needs. They jump out the gate with a real test, meeting the Gators in Orlando. All eyes will be on the Canes, and we will see if this team starts better then what we saw against LSU last year. The ACC schedule isn’t very difficult, and they also have Bethune-Cookman, Central Michigan and FIU on tap. They are also fortunate with a great travel schedule, as they only leave Florida one time until the end of October.
I think with a new coach, a great young core and a fresh face at quarterback we are going to see the Canes flex their might. I see them going over there win total.
The Pick: Miami Hurricanes O 8.5
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame was completely outclassed in the College Football Playoff by Clemson. While they were able to win all of their games going into that beat down, luck was certainly with the Irish. They skated by Ball State, Vanderbilt and Northwestern, teams with significantly less talent.
They lost their most productive offensive players in Dexter Williams and Miles Boykins, and while Ian Book returns you have to question the weapons around him. While Notre Dame will reload, the inexperience could cause some difficulties. Brian Kelly has been able to establish the program, but you have to question whether he has plateaued here. While they went to the playoff, they were clearly a class below the elite programs.
The schedule is not friendly, a road game at Georgia will be a big test and then they head to the Big House to play Michigan with revenge on their minds. Going to Stanford won’t be easy, and the ACC tilt they play also looks a little tougher. Virginia will be much improved, and the Hokies are always going to play you tough. I think this win total is inflated due to some lucky breaks last year, and I don’t see them duplicating it. I think we see a struggling Notre Dame team, and Kelly to begin to feel the heat.
The Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish U 9.5 wins
Lincoln Riley has established himself as one of the elite young coaches in the country. Taking over for Bob Stoops, he has led this team to consecutive playoff appearances. While many may think that there is no reason to think the Sooners slow, I have my concerns.
Is is no secret what has propelled the Sooners the last few seasons, elite play at quarterback. With the last two Heisman winners running the show, the Oklahoma offense has been an absolute juggernaut. They led the country last year in both marginal efficiency (how often plays are successful given a down and distance) and marginal explosiveness (how successful those plays are). When you have Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield back there leading the way, it’s no surprise why. Jalen Hurts will do his best to slide in and be the next successful transfer, but I am not sure he can duplicate it. Jalen was a national champion and had a tremendous amount of success in Tuscaloosa, but Saban saw enough in a young Tua Tagovailoa to give him the reigns last season. Jalen does not have the arm strength or accuracy that Kyler and Baker had. While he can take off and run, he isn’t in the same world as Kyler when it comes to speed and running ability. Oklahoma had one of the worst defenses in the country last year, and while I expect them to improve, I am not sure it will be enough to offset the dip in offensive efficiency. Combine that with the loss of Marquise Brown who was their best offensive weapon, and I think you see regression.
It is not the most difficult schedule, but there are some hurdles for them to climb. Dana Holgorson will have his Houston boys ready for that opening week clash. While UCLA is not what they have been in the past, a road trip to play Chip Kelly will not be a breeze. The Big 12 will be improved, and road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State late in the season could be the ones that help this under hit.
The Pick: Oklahoma Sooners U 10.5