The dog days of summer are winding down, which can only mean one thing — the return of college football! The season is less than six weeks away and there are a slew of futures bets surrounding it. We’re talking over/under on program wins, conference title winners, and yes, the national champion. To help you out, we’ve selected the very best picks for NCAA football futures. Let’s not waste any time and get right into it:
Alabama Regular Season Wins — Over/Under 11.5 Games
|Over 11.5 Wins||+105||+105|
|Under 11.5 Wins||-135||-135|
We start with the reigning champions in Tuscaloosa. Can they go undefeated in the regular season? That’s the only way the over hits, which is the slight underdog outcome.
No, we’re of the belief the Tide will get tripped up at least once. Look, even for an all-time coach like Nick Saban, going perfect is increasingly hard. In 14 seasons at the helm of the program, Saban-led Bama teams have gone unbeaten in the regular season only four times.
Not only are the odds against the Tide, but hey, this team is seriously unproven, especially on offense. In the NFL Draft’s first two rounds alone, six starters from last year’s undefeated title team were taken — quarterback, running back, wide receiver (two of ’em), and lineman (two more). Yes, we know that’s not uncommon for this vaunted program, but in years before, those losses in talent were masked by a proven signal-caller, which this year’s Alabama team is missing. We’re not saying quarterback Bryce Young can’t become a star eventually, but maybe not in year one as the starter.
Making matters worse for Bama is its road schedule. This year, they’ll have to trek to Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M — three tough matchups for anyone, little less an unproven roster like the Tide. Yep, we’re confident they’re not going undefeated.
To Win American Athletic Championship Conference
Don’t confuse this with the ACC, which Clemson is the overwhelmingly favorite to win anyway. There’s no betting value there, but there is with “Group Five” conference, the AAC.
In the American, we think UCF steals the conference crown. The talent has always been there for the Knights, but it was tripped up with bad coaching. That’s no longer the case with Josh Heupel now Tennessee’s problem. In Heupel’s place is ex-Auburn coach Guz Malzahn, a clear upgrade with national title game experience.
Watch out for this UCF attack. Dillon Gabriel is one of the most explosive and efficient throwers in the whole nation. Last season, he racked up 3,570 yards passing (fifth-most in the country) and had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 32:4. Yeah, he’s scary good and so will the better-coached Knights be in 2021.
Michigan Regular Season Wins — Over/Under 7.5 Games
|Over 7.5 Wins||-150||-150|
|Under 7.5 Wins||+120||+120|
The bar sure is low for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines, eh? Too low, in our opinion. Yes, last season’s 2-4 finish was embarrassing. But thinking Michigan is headed for a similar outcome is recency bias more than anything else.
We’re not quite sure who Harbaugh will entrust at quarterback this season, but we’re not worried. This Wolverines team has all the makings of a smashmouth run-first offense anyway. Most of the offensive line, which did play well last season, is back and so is running back Hassan Haskins. The junior averaged 6.1 yards a carry in 2020 and we expect him to be a workhorse for Harbaugh and company. Off Haskins workload, count on Michigan to get at least eight wins.
To Win The NCAA Foobtall Championship
We said what we had to say about Alabama earlier and we’re not taking them to repeat either. Instead, we’re choosing its old foil — the Dabo Swinney-led Tigers to win it all. After earning six straight invites to the College Football Playoff, we think Clemson has become an “automatic” bet in this category. Nothing has changed and we think the door is open for the Tigers to win its third championship in that span, too.
The Tigers, like the Tide, are also replacing a slew of first-rounders this season, but the difference between the two is we’re convinced Clemson’s replacements can fill in the gap without hesitation. That’s mainly on quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, who did step up admirably twice last season in lieu of Trevor Lawrence. He’s a real Heisman contender and we think he becomes the next great Tiger QB, following Lawrence and Deshaun Watson’s foot steps.
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