Stuckey’s 10 Favorite Power 5 Win Totals and Futures
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jim Harbaugh
We’ve covered the small schools. Now it’s time to get to the big boys.
I’ve detailed my favorite Power 5 futures below, including five win totals and five outrights — some to win the conference, one for the national title.
Most of these numbers should still be available around the market — I left out some numbers I bet earlier that are long gone.
It’s really difficult to find any futures value in what should be renamed the Atlantic Clemson Conference. Dabo Swinney’s bunch should walk to another conference title, but I don’t see any value with the Tigers.
I don’t like many win totals in the ACC since so many of the teams are similarly rated. With so many coin flips on the schedule for the middle of the pack, there’s really no reason to tie up your money for a full season with most of these teams.
That said, I do like two win totals in the ACC.
Let’s start in Blacksburg.
If the Hokies simply win all of the games they’re projected to be favored in by at least a touchdown, they should get to eight wins. Assuming they lose at Notre Dame, that leaves three road games (at Miami, at Virginia, at Boston College) to get at least one win to cash this over.
A road trip to Miami will be tough but certainly winnable. They’re favored in Week 1 against Boston College and have beat their in-state rivals Virginia in 15 straight years.
The defense was atrocious last year but extremely young. I trust defensive coordinator Bud Foster to turn it around in his final season.
The Hokies are also a strong candidate for positive regression after dealing with so many injuries last year. They bring back a ton of production and should be in the mix for a division title. And again, if they just win all of the games they should, this will push at worst. (They could end up being double-digit favorites in eight games.)
The other win total I like is the Georgia Tech under.
Since Geoff Collins can recruit with the best of ’em, I think transitioning the Yellow Jackets from the option to a more modern offense will pay off long term but it could turn disastrous this year. I just don’t think they have the personnel or talent to succeed in the new system this year.
I only have Georgia Tech favored in one game this season, which ironically comes against the Citadel’s option offense. I’ll gladly bet on things going sideways in Atlanta this season.
Favorite ACC Preseason Bet
- Virginia Tech Over 8 Wins (-145)
- Georgia Tech Under 3.5 Wins (+105)
In case you missed it, I previously put out a piece on my favorite 2019 Big Ten win totals and futures. My three favorite come from the Great Lakes State.
Let’s start in East Lansing.
Michigan State won only seven games last season. Under head coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have won seven or fewer games four previous times. In each of the following four seasons, the Spartans won at least nine games, averaging 10.75 wins.
The defense should be one of the best in the nation once again and the offense should improve with a more experienced offensive line and a healthy Brian Lewerke. I expect a big bounce-back season from Sparty.
But be advised: someone’s falling in love early this year…
But be advised: someone's falling in love early this year…
— The Action Network Podcast (@ActionNetPod) July 29, 2019
If you head about an hour southeast of East Lansing, you’ll get to Ann Arbor — home of the Wolverines, who I’m even higher on than the Spartans.
I think this is the year that Michigan breaks through under Jim Harbaugh. The defense did lose some key pieces but should have no problem reloading.
More importantly, the offense should give the Wolverines much more than it has in the past. I think new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will end up being the most impactful hire of the offseason. He’s implemented a more modern, no-huddle spread scheme, allowing Michigan to finally roll out an explosive offense with Shea Patterson back under center to complement its always stingy defense.
The schedule isn’t easy, but the Wolverines host their three toughest opponents in Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State. I think this is the year that Harbaugh finally beats an Ohio State team I’m lower than most on and gets Michigan to its first ever Big Ten Championship Game…seriously!
If Michigan wins at Wisconsin in Week 3, look out! There’s unlimited upside if the offense comes together under Gattis.
Favorite Big Ten Preseason Bets
- Michigan to Win National Title (14-1)
- Michigan to Win Big 10 (+225)
- Michigan State Over 8 Wins (-110)
A lot of people are assuming Oklahoma will cruise to another Big 12 title but I’m not as convinced. The Sooners had back-to-back Heisman quarterbacks that got all of the publicity but their elite offensive line played a huge role.
Well, OU lost four offensive linemen who started a total of 144 games and all were selected in the NFL Draft. They’ll also take a step back in the talent department at quarterback with Jalen Hurts. Oklahoma is more vulnerable than the market is implying, which I think creates some value in a conference championship future.
In my eyes, the three most realistic choices to prevent Oklahoma from winning its fifth-straight conference championship are Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. You could also make cases for Baylor and TCU, but I don’t see either taking the crown.
I chose to go with the Cyclones, who I’m really high on this year. They did lose their two best skill position players to the NFL in running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Hakeem Butler. However, the rest of the roster is stacked with an excellent head coach in Matt Campbell at the helm.
Iowa State is especially strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The ‘Clones have two All-Big 12 players on the defensive front who lead a very deep group. And they return all five starters along the offensive line in front of quarterback Brock Purdy.
They also have two of the best linebackers in the conference in Marcel Spears and Mike Rose. If the inexperienced skill position players and a secondary with plenty of potential comes together, this team can get to Arlington.
This is the best defense in the Big 12 with an outstanding quarterback and head coach. Plus, what really put me over the edge on Iowa State is it hosts both Texas and Oklahoma State in Ames.
Anything better than 8-1 is worth a shot.
Favorite Big 12 Preseason Bets
- Iowa State to Win Conference (+1100)
My love for Utah knows no bounds.
Well, at least in the context of the Pac 12. I’m not going to get too crazy with any Utes claims — unless you can find 100-1 national title futures still in the market.
My colleague Collin Wilson and I have hyped Utah to win the Pac-12 all offseason, but there just isn’t a ton of value left in betting them to win the conference. After opening up at an egregious 10-1 at some books, Utah is now right in the neighborhood with Washington and Oregon.
This is a team that made the Pac-12 title game last year even after losing starting QB Tyler Huntley and starting RB Zack Moss in the first week of November. Both will return this year.
Led by a dominant defensive front, Utah will once again boast one of the conference’s best defenses. The special teams may take a slight step back but not by any worrisome margin.
I still like the Utes at anything north of +325 but actually now prefer -210 to win the absolutely dreadful Pac-12 South. I just can’t envision any other team really challenging Utah for the division.
Favorite Pac-12 Preseason Bet
- Utah to Win Pac-12 South (-210)
I may end up regretting this come January, but I’m selling Alabama.
Yes, Alabama simply reloads every year and has Tua back under center to lead what will be an electrifying passing attack. But the Tide lost so much NFL talent on defense and the assistant coaching carousel continued in the offseason. That’s eventually going to catch up (and by catch up. I mean 11 wins and a loss in the SEC title game) and I think this is that year.
The Crimson Tide have three potential road games (at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State and at Auburn) that wouldn’t stun me if they lost. (And that’s not including a home game against an uber-talented LSU squad. ) I think they drop at least one of those three, so I’ll pay the price to take under 11.5.
Sitting in the Westgate SuperBook for the national championship, I bet Georgia at 12-1 to win the national title minutes after Clemson finished its beatdown. Well, like Utah, that price is no longer available, so it doesn’t do anybody any good to recommend now.
What I still do think holds value is betting Georgia to win the SEC at anything over 2-1.
I love this team that will obviously benefit from playing in the much weaker SEC East. I just can’t see the Bulldogs not getting to Atlanta, where I think they’ll get their major revenge from last year over Alabama (assuming it gets there). Don’t sleep on the big advantage Georgia has over Alabama at kicker!
Lastly, I hardly ever blindly tail anybody in any sport but one of those exceptions is when Collin recommends a bet on Arkansas football. Simply put, he likes the under and I’m following along.
Favorite SEC Preseason Bets
- Alabama Under 11.5 Wins (-160)
- Georgia to Win SEC (+250)
- Arkansas Under 5 Wins (+115)