College Football Futures Odds, Picks, Predictions: 9 Expert Bets, Including Ohio State, Utah
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: C.J. Stroud, quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The 2022 college football season begins on Saturday, Aug. 27. Mere days now separate us from finally being able to bet on football again.
But before we dive into specific Week Zero games and predictions, our experts are eyeing nine futures to bet in 2022. Check out each of our favorite futures bets before we kick off the brand new campaign this weekend.
Our Top College Football Futures to Bet This Season
The picks in the table below represent the futures bets that our college football staff is targeting this season. Click on any of the following picks to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Fresno State to Win Mountain West +240
Depending on which book you look at, Fresno State or Boise State are favored to win the Mountain West Championship. Is it a little square to bet on the conference favorite? Sure, but that is how bullish I am on the Bulldogs this season.
Quarterback Jake Haener returns for a team that went 10-3 last season. He threw for over 4,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. And that was all while dealing with some injuries throughout the season.
He brings back his top two receivers in Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly, as well as running back Jordan Mims.
All-Mountain West safety Evan Williams is also back after leading the team in tackles and interceptions.
He is the heart of what should be another strong defensive unit. The Bulldogs return seven starters to a defense that ranked fifth in the country in Havoc and seventh against the pass.
New coach Jeff Tedford is actually the old head coach who has the unique advantage of stepping in to lead most of the players he helped recruit before he stepped away in 2019.
Fresno State will have a favorable path to the division title, as it draws both San Diego State and San Jose State at home. The Bulldogs should have one of the best offenses in the entire Group of Five, and they will have an above-average defense to form the best team in the Mountain West.
Play the Bulldogs to win the conference at +240. Bet to +200.
Georgia State to Win Sun Belt +800
Georgia State opened last season with a 1-4 record while being outscored by 75 points by Army and North Carolina. The Panthers did a complete 180 the rest of the season, finishing 7-1 with an average score of 35-20.
That winning streak included a road victory over Coastal Carolina and a 31-point bowl victory over Ball State.
Shawn Elliott has taken his program to three straight bowl games and looks to be climbing up the Sun Belt totem pole.
Quarterback Darren Grainger (19 touchdowns to four interceptions) was electric after taking over the starting job. The 6-foot-4 quarterback is tough to take down in space and rushed for nearly 650 yards with three touchdowns.
The Panthers’ offense ranked 14th in the nation in Finishing Drives. They were a well-balanced group that averaged over five yards per carry. With nearly everyone returning for this program, they will be dangerous.
The defense was one of the most consistent groups in the country, allowing 27 points per game. The unit allowed only 3.5 yards per carry and ranked inside the top 40 in Havoc and Success Rate.
Georgia State avoids Louisiana, Troy and South Alabama from the West Division. The Panthers also have a bye week before traveling to Appalachian State.
I see value in the program making a run at the conference title with odds of +800. Play to +700.
Miami (OH) to Win MAC +450
The RedHawks will pursue their second MAC title in four years after capping off last season by taking down North Texas and winning their first bowl game since 2010.
Head coach Chuck Martin, who is 20-8 in MAC games since the start of 2018, returns his veteran quarterback in Brett Gabbert, who is the only returning All-MAC QB in the conference.
However, there are some personnel issues to figure out if the RedHawks want to find themselves at Ford Field come December.
Miami (OH) returns 14 starters total from last season, ranking 46th in offensive return production and 109th in defensive RP after losing some of its best players to the transfer portal.
Two of the most significant losses were Ivan Pace Jr. and Lonnie Phelps, who led the team in tackles and sacks, respectively.
But the transfer portal is a two-way door. Incoming transfers Corey Suttle and Ty Wise can be game changers if given an opportunity and playing time.
Defensively, there will be some struggles for the RedHawks, plain and simple. A young defensive line, a ton of new faces and a secondary that struggled last year are the biggest threats to Miami’s hopes of winning the MAC.
Even with the questions on defense, I believe there is value in the RedHawks, who will be one of the most productive offenses in the MAC.
Gabbert is a consistent and accurate QB with a 58% completion percentage in three years at Miami. He averaged 279 yards a game last season, not to mention four of his five starting linemen from last year are returning, along with a majority of the team’s receiving and rushing yards.
In the last seven years, 11 different teams found themselves in the MAC Championship. This year, the conference is once again wide open.
The RedHawks did finish last season at just 7-6, but four of those six losses came by a total of just nine points. The Action Network also projects Miami (OH) to be more than 10-point favorites in all but one of its eight conference games.
Because of that, I have no problem putting my faith in the conference’s most consistent coach and the highest-rated QB.
I have Miami (OH) to win the MAC at +450 on BetMGM. However, the number was as low as +350 at other books. I would back Miami (OH) as low as +400.
Make sure to shop around to get the best number possible.
Ohio State to Win Big Ten -200
While I am never one to drink the juice, I just can’t help myself in this spot.
Ohio State will potentially field one of the best offenses in college football history — one that features a familiar face in Heisman-favorite quarterback CJ Stroud.
After throwing for an absurd 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns last season, we can expect similar video game numbers this season from Stroud.
As for another returning weapon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is back at wide receiver as Stroud’s go-to target in what could be the best one-two punch in 2022. Last time we saw this duo, JSN finished with a stat line of 15 catches, three touchdowns and 347 yards at the Rose Bowl.
While the offense was elite in 2021, it was the defense that hindered Ohio State’s success. Struggling to stop opposing offenses from marching down the field, head coach Ryan Day has looked to correct this by bringing in ex-Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to turn this unit around.
After multiple top-20 defensive finishes for the Cowboys, Knowles will look to bring his past success to the Buckeyes.
Drink the juice and expect Ohio State to dominate the Big Ten en-route to a playoff appearance.
Pittsburgh to Win ACC Coastal +180
By Dan Keegan
Let’s get this out of the way: Pittsburgh’s defense will be excellent again. Every unit is strong, and the front seven boasts all-conference (and all-name team) stars with DT Calijah Kancey, LB SirVocea Dennis and DE Habbukuk Baldanado.
This was the No. 13 defense in the country, according to EPA, and the Panthers will be at that level again this season.
It’s easy to project a big step back from the defending ACC champs when you look at the loss of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett and Biletnikoff Trophy winner Jordan Addison.
But last season, a soft slate of opposing defenses and incredible counting stats covered up an offense that was efficient but not explosive, and was overrated by narrative.
Your memory of 2021 Pitt might be Pickett hitting Addison for deep shots, but that was not what drove its success. The offense was 19th in Success Rate and only 66th in Explosiveness.
Efficiency will be easier to replicate than the narrative. Addison will be difficult to replace, but transfer Konata Mumpfield was a freshman All-American at Akron last season and is a budding star.
Kedon Slovis takes the reins, and should be expected to do a passable Pickett impression. Slovis’ 2021 Average Depth of Target was 9.0 while Pickett’s was 9.6. Slovis’ 2021 Adjusted Completion Percentage was 79.5%, and Pickett’s was 79.5%. Slovis will fit like a glove.
Most importantly for maintaining efficiency, the rushing attack returns intact. With an average snap count of 870 between them, all five starting offensive linemen return. This unit finished top-20 in Football Outsider’s Adjusted Line Yards.
The top three leading rushers all return, as well.
The collapse of the Panthers’ offense has been greatly exaggerated.
The Miami Hurricanes (+160) are the division favorite in Mario Cristobal’s first year. Miami has the bad luck of drawing Clemson and Florida State from the Atlantic Division, though. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s slate is far easier, with Syracuse and Louisville on the docket.
While Miami adjusts to new schemes, styles and systems, Pittsburgh’s veteran team will capitalize on its actual strong suits from last season and win this division for the second year in a row. The best odds available as of writing are Pittsburgh +180, but I would still bet this down to +150.
Stanford to Win Pac-12 +9000
Who doesn’t love themself a good longshot? You might be viewing this and thinking, “Really, the same Stanford team that went 4-8 a year ago?”
That’s exactly right.
I believe this play holds value for two main reasons. First off, there is no true heavyweight in the Pac-12 this season. USC is getting all of the buzz due to its offseason splashes, but there are plenty of holes on the Trojans’ roster. Utah will be good but not great, and Oregon also underwent a staff overhaul in the offseason.
Building off of that, I am betting on the track record of David Shaw and his ability to turn things around quickly. Shaw racked up 82 wins in his first eight seasons in Palo Alto, and he didn’t just forget how to coach overnight.
Injuries completely decimated the Cardinal a year ago despite them getting off to a decent start. Both lines should be much improved this season, and Tanner McKee is one of the best quarterbacks in this league.
I’m not saying Stanford is going to run the table in Pac-12 play, but with an improved roster and some Shaw adjustments, a 7-2 type of finish is within reason. In a league full of parity, that could very well be enough to get the Cardinal to the championship game in Vegas.
With a 90/1 ticket, you’d be left with endless hedge options before that title game in Sin City. I’ll bet this at anything north of +7000.
Utah to Win Pac-12 +250
By Alex Hinton
USC is getting a lot of hype because of the arrival of Lincoln Riley, and it is the betting favorite to win the Pac-12 at +170.
Riley will win at USC, but this is not the roster he inherited at Oklahoma. He hit the transfer portal to fill some holes and brought in big-time additions like Caleb Williams, Travis Dye, Jordan Addison and Mario Williams.
However, all those additions are on the offensive side ball. SP+ projections have USC 65th defensively to enter the year.
Utah is the team that won the Pac-12 last season and represented the conference in the Rose Bowl. It returns two dark horse Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas.
Overall, Utah returns 72% of its offensive production, and SP+ projects it as ninth offensively entering the year.
Defensively, the Utes will miss linebacker Devin Lloyd, who is off to the NFL. However, Utah returns 66% of its defensive production.
Utah’s stiffest competition figures to come from USC and Oregon. Utah hosts USC, while it will visit Eugene in the regular season.
I expect Utah’s physical style to give USC problems while Riley looks to improve the Trojans in trenches.
Meanwhile, Oregon is going through a coaching transition, with Dan Lanning replacing Mario Cristobal.
At +250, I will take the value on the team I believe is the best in the Pac-12. I’m willing to bet Utah down to +200.
Max Johnson to Win Heisman Trophy +8000
This is an opportunity to grab market share of an Aggies team clicking on all cylinders.
I’m expecting former LSU quarterback Max Johnson to win the position battle against Haynes King.
Johnson, the son of former NFL QB Brad Johnson, is 6-foot-5, completed 60.3% of his passes and threw 27 touchdowns last year at LSU.
When you consider the injuries that plagued his wide receivers, the poor offensive lineman play and the drama surrounding the exit of head coach Ed Orgeron in 2021, Johnson’s performance perhaps didn’t reach his pinnacle. That sets the stage for a buy-low opportunity.
Jimbo Fisher has a history of being a quarterback whisperer, circa 2013 Jameis Winston.
The path to a 5-0 start is feasible, as the Aggies will be laying seven points or more in all contests. That sets the stage for a trip to Tuscaloosa against the Tide as a projected 14-point dog.
When you’re wagering on awards props, you need to have the public’s backing. I think the Heisman voters are pro-Texas A&M after the media beef back in May between Fisher and Nick Saban.
The script is there. It’ll just take an Aggies team seizing their opportunity, which I believe is incredibly possible. If the Aggies beat the No. 1 Crimson Tide on October 8, your 80-1 ticket would be live, regardless of its original flier status. Bet this to +6500.
Stetson Bennett to Win Heisman Trophy +15000
Stetson Bennett, Georgia’s favorite native son, a former walk-on and a JUCO product, returns to help the Bulldogs defend the national title.
Fitting that @StetsonIV wore a US Mail hat to the @Elite11 Charlotte. The guy just flat out delivered. #Dude pic.twitter.com/SC2zvOQ7Sj
— Next Level Athletix (@NxtLevelAtx) April 25, 2016
Last season, Bennett completed 64.4% of his passes (185/287) for 2,862 yards, 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. In the CFP title game, Bennett was at his best, completing 65.3% of his passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no picks.
Bennett has also proven to be elusive on foot, rushing for 259 yards (4.6 yards/carry) and one touchdown last season.
In the past 20 years, quarterbacks have won 17 of the Heisman Trophy awards. The last five QBs to win the award (Bryce Young 2021, Joe Burrow 2019, Kyler Murray 2018, Baker Mayfield 2017, Lamer Jackson 2016) had an average of 4,615 yards, 44 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Bennett will have to steadily increase his production and stay healthy to get there.
On defense, the Dawgs lost a record five first-round draft picks and nine overall to the NFL, so there will be a bit of a readjustment – to say the least – on the opposite side of the ball.
Georgia isn’t depleted by any means on defense, but it probably wouldn’t hold Clemson to just three points again this season.
I expect the Dawgs to rely on offense significantly more than last season. In his second full campaign as the go-to guy, look for Bennett to have more autonomy and swagger. More will be asked of Bennett, and he has the experience to deliver.
Bennett will have to be in the 40-touchdown range to be in Heisman contention, but this could be feasible for the 24-year-old.
This season is on Bennett, given the massive departures from a generational defense. With Bennett and six other starters returning on offense, the QB has all the tools for a fast start.
Defense will still be a mainstay of Kirby Smart’s squad, but Bennett deserves more credit for what he has achieved, and is usually at his best when the pressure is on.
Bennett will have to deliver above and beyond what he produced last season to capture the national title in back-to-back years, and if he does, his name should be in the mix for the award.
I am no fan of tying my capital up for the entire football season unless there is a large plus-money return. I see strong value at a 150 bagger on capital for a scrappy veteran that won the national championship last season and returns for an encore.
Look for Smart to turn the keys over to his veteran quarterback this season. I would bet this to +8000.
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