College Football Futures: Betting Value on Ole Miss & North Carolina Ahead of Week 4
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Corral.
Kody Malstrom: I grew up a North Carolina football fan for college football and a Detroit Lions fan for professional football. All I know is pain.
Over the past few years, the college football community has grown weary of watching the same powerhouses make it to the College Football Playoff, and I can feel for them.
Excluding LSU in 2019, we have seen either Clemson or Alabama hoist the trophy in five of the past six years.
This year could look a little different. Alabama looked vulnerable against Florida, and in my opinion, should have lost that game, as Florida dominated the stat sheet.
Clemson can’t score. Oklahoma is playing down to the competition, and Ohio State already lost.
I’m still not sold on Oregon, although the opportunity to make it to the playoff gives its number some value.
With all this said, now seems like a better time than ever to start throwing some darts. If you have followed along with this weekly piece, we have already given you Iowa and Oregon — noth looking great so far.
Now, I am here to tell you to add another juicy dart to your portfolio.
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via WynnBET
National Championship Picture
Kody Malstrom: Death, taxes, and the Ole Miss Rebels offense steamrolling everyone.
Listen. It won’t be easy. The division is brutal and still would need to most likely face Georgia in the SEC Championship unscathed, but I am now a believer.
Matt Corral is that dude. That’s simple as I can put it. Three games into this season, he is now the Heisman frontrunner. He has thrown for 662 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions — all at a 66% completion percentage. He has also added 90 yards on the ground with one touchdown.
If you’re going to beat Alabama and dethrone it for a spot in the SEC Championship game in that division, then Ole Miss will have nothing to fear out of its quarterback.
Corral has been leading an offensive juggernaut. Ole Miss isn’t just beating teams; it’s dominating from an offensive perspective.
Heading into last week’s Tulane game, Ole Miss ranked top-50 in both Pass Success and Finishing Drives. More impressively, it ranked top-10 in Rush Success, Line Yards, big plays, and Havoc.
The Rebels are executing their game plan at will and not making mistakes, which is a recipe for success for a potential showdown with Georgia’s stout defense down the road.
What is more certain than the Ole Miss offense is that Alabama’s defense is not the same as Alabama’s 2020 defense.
Florida steamrolled Alabama in a very eye-popping loss. The Gators led the box score in most categories, only to fall to Bama by two points — a crushing loss.
I believe Ole Miss will have a great opportunity to keep pace with Bama by putting up points and hoping for a prayer or two when it comes to stopping it on defense.
This is a situational spot future, as Ole Miss has a bye this week. The Rebels receive an extra week to prep for Bama. I believe Ole Miss has what it takes to pull the upset and continue on this crazy season.
If it wins, the future will most likely be cut in half. I want the +5000 now, as it gives multiple chances to hedge some pieces out of it later down the road.
Depending on how Ole Miss looks beating Bama, you may not even have to.
Mike McNamara: Many people out there wrote off this North Carolina football team after its disastrous Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
After scoring only 10 points in that opener, the Carolina offense has responded in a massive way.
The Heels have gone for 59 points in back-to-back weeks against Georgia State and Virginia, and Sam Howell has started to look like the player who was on the Heisman shortlist to begin the year.
Carolina comes in at (+600) on WynnBET to win the ACC, and this number makes it worth an add for two main reasons.
No. 1, I just don’t see a legitimate challenger in the Coastal Divison to the Tar Heels. They just beat Virginia by 20 — that was a team that was supposed to be one of the better groups in that division.
Miami has had a horrendous start, Pitt just lost at home to Western Michigan, and Georgia Tech and Duke are both very flawed teams.
You’re probably wondering right now, “Does this guy realize Virginia Tech is in the Coastal and has the tiebreaker on UNC due to its Week 1 win?”
Indeed I do, but when I watch VT and then take a look at its schedule, I’m willing to take my chances that the Hokies will drop at least two more ACC contests.
I make UNC healthy favorites in all of their remaining ACC games and see no reason why the Tar Heels can’t run the table in conference play and finish with a 7-1 record.
Remember, Notre Dame’s ACC stay was solely for 2020, so if the Heels lose the night game in South Bend on Halloween weekend, that result will have zero impact on the ACC standings.
Secondly, I think at this point, it’s safe to say that this is the worst Clemson team of the last six years.
The Tigers are not the juggernaut they have been of late. They’re still very likely to win the Atlantic Division, but if Clemson and UNC squared off in Charlotte for the ACC title, I don’t think Dabo Swinney’s squad would be anything more than a short favorite.
With a price of +600 at WynnBET, you could definitely hedge a bit in the title game if you so desired, but I would be very comfortable backing the Tar Heels to finally get over the hump in that game.
Mack Brown’s still got a few tricks up his sleeve, and now is the time to hop on the Carolina Express as the Heels chase down an ACC title.
What to Watch in Week 4 and Beyond
Mike McNamara: In terms of other Week 4 matchups that could have an impact on the futures market, I’ve got my eyes on an under-the-radar game in Stillwater between Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Both teams have started the year 3-0, and while neither team has looked perfect while doing so, they’ve both shown some promise.
With the pedestrian results from the Sooners thus far and the Iowa State disaster in the Cy-Hawk game, I believe the Big 12 is far more open than many believed to start the year.
This is no longer just a two-horse race. I would throw TCU and Texas in with the Wildcats and Cowboys as four teams in that second tier that can absolutely make a charge to JerryWorld for the Big 12 Championship game.
Oklahoma State has been playing some suffocating defense, and if it can get some of its starting wideouts back, this offense can vastly improve as the year goes on.
On the KSU side, the Skylar Thompson injury was a big bummer, but Will Howard stepped in and played well last week against Nevada. Thompson should be back in the coming weeks.
Deuce Vaughn is arguably the most explosive back in the league, and the Wildcats are playing well on the defensive side of the ball.
There’s more to come later in the week, as I will be writing up a full preview for this game, but I expect a tight and hard-fought battle on Saturday night.
The winner will get a huge jolt in the arm to start conference play, and whether that’s the Cowboys or the Wildcats, I will be targeting that team to add a Big 12 future on.
Oklahoma State is currently +2500 to win the league, while Kansas State comes in at +10000 on WynnBET.
I believe both of those numbers are too high as is, but I will wait to see who wins on Saturday and then look to pounce from there.