Season Props to Watch
By Kyle Hunter
Who else is ready for college football?! If you aren’t ready yet, then you better get ready. It’s right around the corner. In a few weeks, we’ll have regular season games that mean something on the gridiron. Nothing against the NFL preseason, but it is nice when both teams are trying their best to pick up the win.
College football has been a strong sport for me. While many bettors only look at individual games for betting opportunities, I recommend looking deeper than that. There are absolutely good values to be found on individual games, but the season win totals, futures, and prop bets are often stronger investments for me.
Because these particular bet types aren’t as widely bet by the public, oddsmakers spend a little less time on these odds.
I had success last year with my season win total best bets. This year’s season Win Total selections are already up. I’m looking to find value in futures and prop bets as well this year.
Here are my top five college football futures and prop bets.
1) Auburn in New Year’s Six Bowl (Yes at -120)
I really like the Auburn Tigers heading into the 2015 season. Auburn was the runner up two years ago when Florida State edged them out. Auburn led for much of that game, and they were just a couple plays away. The Tigers took a step back last year and lost five games. It would be easy to write them off, but this Tigers team is going to be very good. Jeremy Johnson is a great fit at quarterback, and a Gus Malzahn offense is always going to be able to run the football. The big difference though is the defense. Will Muschamp is a tremendous defensive mind, and the Tigers return eight talented guys on that side of the ball. Auburn won’t have to outscore everyone this year. They should at least be in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
2) Houston Cougars to win American Athletic Conference (+675)
The Houston Cougars have gone 8-5 in the last two seasons, but they have a new coach this year. Tom Herman is the man, and I think he’s a fabulous hire for the Cougars. Herman was a great recruiter at Ohio State, and there’s always tons of talent in the Houston area. If Herman can keep a few more of those guys home, Houston could be the team to beat every year in the AAC. Herman has been a quarterbacks coach for a long time, and I fully expect Greg Ward to be much more productive with Herman showing him the way. The AAC should be an exciting conference with a lot of improved offenses this year. The primary reason I like Houston though is their strength on the defensive end. Houston should be able to come up with key stops when other AAC contenders can’t, and +675 is a steal of a price.
3) Wisconsin Badgers to win Big Ten West (+150)
Melvin Gordon Jr. isn’t an easy guy to replace, but Wisconsin can always run the football. Corey Clement averaged 6.5 yards per carry last year, and he should be very good running behind the Badgers strong offensive line in the season ahead. Paul Chryst is the new head coach here, and he’s all about running the football and controlling the clock. Why is there value on the Badgers? Wisconsin plays in the much weaker division of the Big Ten. Nebraska should be down in their first year of a new system, Iowa is as inconsistent as any team in the nation, and Northwestern has taken a significant step back of late. Add in the fact that Wisconsin plays the easiest conference schedule of any Big Ten team. While I don’t think Wisconsin is an elite team this year, I think it’s very likely they win the weak Big Ten West.
4) Virginia Tech to win the ACC (+700)
I think this one is a tremendous value. I also like Virginia Tech to win the Coastal at +150 or better. The Hokies upset Ohio State last year in Columbus, and then proceeded to fall off the map. Injuries were the primary reason for that huge fall. Frank Beamer is a quality coach, and Bud Foster’s defense will be one of the top five in the nation. Unlike the past two seasons, there is no dominant team in the ACC this season. Florida State is definitely down a couple notches, and Clemson has a lot of question marks on defense. Why can’t Virginia Tech sneak in here? If you take them at this big of a price to win the conference, you could easily hedge out with a big winner before the title game is played if they reach that game. Good price on an underrated team.
5) Florida State Not in a New Year’s Six Bowl (-140)
The Seminoles weren’t really as good as their record last year, and they should be significantly worse this season. Without a star at quarterback, the Seminoles will have to rely on the running game. Dalvin Cook is a star, but the offensive line isn’t very good. Everett Golson still has to prove a lot to me. He turns the ball over far too much, and hasn’t been big in the biggest games. Is he really the answer at quarterback for Florida State? The ugly drop in production from the Seminoles defense last year would worry me a lot if I was a Florida State fan. The team gave up 116 yards per game more than they did in 2013. If that continues, Florida State won’t be in a major bowl game this season.