The countdown to college football is on, and sportsbooks are ramping up the excitement around the 2018 NCAA campaign by releasing a series of odds offerings, including season win totals for the top programs in the country.
Here’s a look at three of the most notable season win totals on the board for college football bettors and whether they should be leaning to the Over or the Under in this popular futures market:
Alabama Crimson Tide (Over/Under 11 wins)
The defending national champs have 12 games on their regular season slate, so which game do bookies expect Nick Saban’s squad to squander? The Crimson Tide’s toughest competition will likely come once again versus Auburn in the Iron Bowl, which is being played Tuscaloosa this year. Beyond that, Alabama’s 2018 slate isn’t too daunting, save for a stop in Death Valley to play LSU in Week 10.
Saban watched 12 players jump to the pros, and for any other program a loss of such talent would be crippling. But we’re talking about Bama here. The Tide reload with another crop of future pros and already had a young team earning their stripes with a title in 2017-18. Even Alabama’s problems – like the pending QB controversy between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa – are the good kind of problems to have.
With a young roster getting another year older and a softer schedule in the SEC, Alabama will likely go undefeated en route to another spot in the College Football Playoffs. Go Over 11 wins.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Over/Under 9.5 wins)
One of the most popular programs in the country has high hopes for 2018. Notre Dame finished the 2017-18 campaign with nine wins but stumbled toward the end of the year as the pressure of a possible CFP vote lingered. Notre Dame took a bad loss to Miami and a defeat to Stanford, but shook it off for an impressive win versus LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
The 2018-19 season doesn’t waste time testing the Fighting Irish, hosting Michigan in Week 1. And since Notre Dame doesn’t have a conference championship to lean on as an independent, its schedule is packed with tough matchups. Coach Brian Kelly watched plenty of starters head for the pros, and will miss those elite talents most in the rushing game as will QB Brandon Wimbush. He’s a great red-zone threat with his legs but his accuracy is a huge question mark.
A loss to the Wolverines in the season opener could snowball, as it would all but erase Notre Dame’s chances of a CFP nod. Under 9.5 is a smart way to play.
Oklahoma Sooners (Over/Under 10 wins)
The Sooners move into the post-Mayfield era after watching the Heisman winner go first overall in the NFL Draft. The knee-jerk reaction would be to bet Oklahoma Under 10 wins without Mayfield under center, but the coaching and supporting cast is so good. You can’t count out OU, especially when you consider the state of the Big 12.
The Sooners’ closest competition from last year are all expected to regress, especially rival Oklahoma State, leaving West Virginia as their toughest challenge. Oklahoma will visit the Mountaineers in the final game of the year – and likely again in the Big 12 title game. The Sooners have some decisions to make under center, but have a receiving corps that can make any passer look good.
Ten wins should get Oklahoma back into the College Football Playoff mix – especially since the Big 12 has a proper title game – and given the state of the conference and their surplus of talent, Over 10 wins seems like a gift for football bettors.