While the summer may be kicking into high gear, the opening of the 2019 College Football season is not too far off on the horizon. It all begins on Saturday, August 24 with a pair of interesting matchups, but the action really ramps up the following week.
A big Thursday night slate is followed by another eight games on Friday night. That sets the stage for the main course, our first full Saturday of wall-to-wall pigskin action. As an added bonus for opening weekend, we have games to look forward to on both Sunday and Monday night as well.
That’s still a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead and breaking down the games to come. The same applies for the season as a whole. Which teams are poised to outperform expectations? How about the ones which look like they may take a step back?
For benchmark expectations, we need to look no further than the NCAAF futures market on season win totals for the major programs. Here are the latest lines, courtesy of PointsBet.
We’ve done the heavy lifting and examined each of the schools listed for potentially attractive opportunities. Here are our five favorite totals for the programs listed, starting with the defending national champions.
Over 11.5 +105
Under 11.5 -136
The Tigers may have lost plenty of talent to the NFL, but they’ve also had little trouble restocking the cupboards in the Dabo Swinney era. Trevor Lawrence will be back for his second year behind center, while Travis Etienne leads the way for a potent ground game.
In the ACC, it’s Clemson and then everyone else. There simply aren’t that many potential trouble spots on the schedule. The toughest tests may come in Weeks 2 and 3. Texas A&M comes to town on September 7, and that’s followed by a trip to Syracuse the week after that.
Outside of that, the only game which has the potential to be close at the half is a trip to South Carolina in the regular-season finale. Clemson needs to run the table to hit the Over, but we like them to do it.
The Bet: Clemson Over 11.5
Over 9.5 +135
Under 9.5 -170
The Gators racked up nine wins in the regular season last year before going on to hammer Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl by a score of 41-15. Oddsmakers have set the bar a little higher this time around.
Exceeding those expectations won’t be easy. In addition to the annual game with powerhouse Georgia, Florida has a number of challenging road games on the 2019 schedule, namely at Kentucky and LSU.
While we expect the program to be in the running for second-best team in the SEC East behind Georgia, 10 wins is a little too rich of an expectation for us.
The Bet: Florida Under 9.5
Over 9.5 -164
Under 9.5 +130
It was looking like 2018 might be the year of Michigan in the Big Ten. Then the team proceeded to fold like a card table when they traveled to Ohio State for the regular-season finale, losing by a score of 62-39. That demoralizing loss was followed by a shellacking at the hands of Florida in the Peach Bowl.
As the season approaches in Ann Arbor, one question is at the top of the list: Can the Wolverines finally get over the hump and take care of the nemesis Buckeyes? The rest of the schedule has a few potential trouble spots, including a trip to Penn State, but it should all come down to the finale once again.
We’ll wait and see on the game with Ohio State, but we like Michigan to head into it with 10 wins already in the bag.
The Bet: Michigan Over 9.5
Ohio State Buckeyes
Over 10.5 +105
Under 10.5 -130
Change is the name of the game in Columbus this season. Ryan Day will be patrolling the sidelines for his first year at the helm, while there will also be a new signal caller behind center after the departure of Dwayne Haskins to the NFL.
The coffers have been restocked after the annual round of attrition in the offseason. Georgia transfer Justin Fields is expected to start at QB, while this year’s solid recruiting class suggests there’s some much-needed improvement to come on defense.
On the schedule, trips to Nebraska and Northwestern should be interesting, as should the finale on the road at Michigan. When all is said and done, we expect the Buckeyes may stub their toe a time or two in the regular season.
The Bet: Ohio State Under 10.5
Over 9.5 +100
Under 9.5 -125
Oklahoma is expected to take down the Big 12 once again, but the Longhorns are creeping toward closing the gap. The team closed out last year with nine regular-season wins and followed that up by upsetting Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl by a score of 28-21.
The Longhorns open up this year with four straight games in the state of Texas. The biggest challenge on the schedule is the annual date with Oklahoma, but there are some potentially challenging road dates, including trips to West Virginia and Iowa State.
We like the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia to be a catalyst for bigger and better things for Texas, which places us on the Over.
The Bet: Texas Over 9.5
While the season may be seven weeks away from kicking off, it’s never too early to get in the game via the active College Football futures market.