Last Updated: 2019-08-20
It can be a challenge to tie up bankroll funds for more than three months playing college football futures, but there can be a significant amount of equity in playing these long-term investments. Variance is high within a one-game sample size during the season. With 12 or 13 regular season data points, variance is limited a little bit with props and futures.
Of course, you do still have to tie up those funds for an extended period of time and that is the downside, but the upside is that you should be able to pull a greater ROI out of your futures positions if they have been properly researched. There can be a tremendous amount of value in playing look-ahead lines and these futures, especially if you nail the long-term outlook for that team. It can turn tying funds up for three months into just waiting for a paid ticket.
The dynamics of the win total market are always fun to follow. The inclination from some people is to play the over because of national hype or because we try to be optimistic about teams and situations. On the other hand, some people prefer the pessimistic approach, especially in situations with a starting quarterback that stands out above the rest. An injury in that situation would wreck a season. It’s also hard to bet on the chance of an injury.
There are many reasons why people wouldn’t get involved in the win total markets, but I think those people are missing out on opportunities. Beating single game betting markets isn’t easy. Beating a larger sample size is a little bit easier, though nothing is truly easy in this business, if we’re being completely honest.
My strategy for win totals is to take my season-opening power ratings and create spreads for all 12 or 13 regular season games. Using those, I convert the spread to an expected number of wins. For example, a -7 favorite is going to win 70% of the time in college football, so that equates to .7 wins for the favorite and .3 wins for the underdog. A -3 favorite is a 57/43 proposition, so the favorite would get .57 wins and the underdog would get .43 wins.
This may not be the *best* way to do it, because power ratings are going to change over the course of the season. The best thing to do in that instance is to take your biggest overlays on the plus side or on the minus side and play them because those are obviously the teams that you have the most or the least confidence in for the upcoming season. Also, check out my top under season win total bets.
With that, here are my top three season win total OVER bets:
FIU Over 7.5 (+110, BetOnline) – Maybe I’m just way too high on Butch Davis’s team, but this appears to be the biggest overlay in my spreadsheet. This is an over 7.5 at plus money when I have the Panthers with 8.82 wins. There are some regression signs for FIU. They only allowed eight sacks last season and have to replace two starting linemen. They were +9 in turnover margin. Defensive coordinator Brent Guy left the program.
But, the Panthers also return quarterback James Morgan, most of the top skill guys, and the defensive losses weren’t that heavy. FIU has a pretty fabulous schedule as well. My numbers only have them an underdog in their last two games of the season, in a neutral-site game against Miami and at Marshall. They may very well be an underdog at FAU and at Louisiana Tech, but those games would be no worse than a coin flip.
FIU avoids Southern Miss, UAB, and North Texas in crossover play in Conference USA. Not only is the season win total worthwhile, but FIU to win Conference USA and Conference USA East at +525 and +240, respectively at 5Dimes, are good bets in my estimation as well.
Troy Over 7.5 (+100, 5Dimes) – This one appears to be my second biggest overlay based on my projected spreads for the 2019 season. I have Troy down for 8.72 wins. Like App State, Troy has so many games that should be runaways. I have the Trojans as a 20-point favorite four times and their only significant underdog role comes at Missouri on October 5. That is really the only game that they don’t have much of a chance.
Troy would be a coin flip at home against Southern Miss and about a field goal underdog to Appalachian State. Neal Brown is no longer there, which may be why the market has soured a little bit on Troy, but Chip Lindsay should be fine and he walks into an outstanding situation. Troy gets Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, and App State at home, which doesn’t hurt one bit.
Kaleb Barker had a 10/2 TD/INT ratio before tearing his ACL midway through the season. He’s back, along with a 1,200-yard rusher in BJ Smith. Troy returns four starters on the offensive line and 13 starters overall. The defense did regress a little bit, but things should pick back up with linebackers coach Brandon Hall now elevated to defensive coordinator.
Troy’s schedule is travel-heavy in the second half of the season, but they’ll be a road favorite at Georgia State, Coastal Carolina, and Texas State before a tough game at Louisiana, where I currently have Troy -3.
Appalachian State Over 9 (-140, BetOnline) – The Mountaineers have a first-year head coach in Eli Drinkwitz, but not much should change in Boone other than that. App State returns 16 starters, including 10 on offense from a group that scored 37 points per game last season. Drinkwitz was a very successful OC at NC State and Boise State, so I would surely expect the offense to stay strong.
Longtime defensive coordinator Ted Roof has a lot to work with on defense as well, as App State recruits better than anybody else in the conference on a regular basis, so the group that allowed 15.5 points per game last season should be strong again.
With a weak schedule, the Mountaineers are set up for success. The only clear underdog role for App State is on the road at South Carolina in a game that could trip up the Gamecocks because their schedule is miserable this season. The Mountaineers are favored in all of their conference games, by 20+ points in five of them, and are road favorites at North Carolina in non-conference play for me.
Using my projected spreads for App State’s schedule, I have the Mountaineers down for 10.21 wins. This line implies a season win total line of around 9.3 with the juice. Every 10 cents on top of -110 is roughly equitable to .1 wins.
This is one of my biggest overlays. Keep in mind that conference championship games and bowl games do not count towards the total, so App State could very well end up with 13 wins when all is said and done, but only scheduled regular season games count. There is a 9.5 with plus money on the over out there, but the safety net of a worst-case scenario push at 9-3 is nice to have.
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