Wilson: 3 College Football Win Totals I’m Betting Now

Wilson: 3 College Football Win Totals I’m Betting Now article feature image

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Stephen Calvert

  • Sportsbooks across the United States are starting to release win totals for every FBS college football team.
  • Collin Wilson dives into three Group of Five schools he thinks have value right now.
  • Using his power ratings and projected point spreads for every game, he can derive an expected win total.

College Football win totals are slowly leaking for all FBS teams. Most shops in Las Vegas have the weekend around the July 4 targeted for mass release, but a few books in New Jersey and Vegas have nearly every team offered, and I’m pouncing on a few now.

The Action Network Power Ratings were designed to help build a win total so we can use them when books release those numbers. Of the recently released lines, three Group of Five teams caught my attention.

During the first week of May, I spoke briefly about the Group of 5 win totals on The Favorites podcast. While the Power 5 is the best place to look for a season long unders, its the G5 that can supply sneaky over wagers.

In this article we will focus on the Group of 5, with further content to follow on the Power 5 teams to bet now. As more win totals and conference odds are released, subsequent content will be in the pipeline as tickets are printed.

Memphis Tigers 

How much of a workhorse was now-departed running back Darrell Henderson for this team? Just look at his highlight yards per opportunity.

It measures how many yards the running back was responsible versus the opportunity the offensive line provided. Henderson’s 12.15 highlight yards per carry more than doubled Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor at 5.82.

But despite the loss of Henderson, Memphis ranks seventh in returning production. The return of 1,100 yard running back Patrick Taylor Jr., quarterback Brady White, and top target Damonte Coxie boosts the experience numbers.

The Action Network numbers dictate a win total over 10, while S&P+ comes in at 9.7. If returning production wasn’t enough for head coach Mike Norvell, the schedule should provide smooth sailing.

Memphis gets two weeks to prepare for the Navy triple option, an additional bye week before division rival Houston, and no Central Florida from the AAC East. The Tigers will not be less than a 7-point favorite to any AAC opponent.

Not only is Memphis the class of all G5 teams, the Tigers are an over team at 9 and 9.5 for me.

Win Total: Memphis Over 9

Liberty Flames 

On the Action Colleges podcast, we were so enamored with Liberty in 2018 that our audio engineers created several different sound drops. In 2019, expect more clips of Buckshot Calvert and complimentary audio for Hugh Freeze and his off-the-field activities.

As for on the field, Freeze inherits an offense that is top 20 in returning production. Quarterback Stephen Calvert will be joined by 1,000 yard back Frankie Hickson, his two top receiving targets and six offensive lineman that have double digit starts. Beating the Sun Belt and Conference USA while making the Cure Bowl is the 2019 goal.

Liberty comes in at 6.12 wins from The Action Network Power Ratings, while S&P+ has the Flames at 5.5. The schedule certainly dictates at least 5 wins, with games against FCS Maine and Hampton. Per Sagarin ratings, Liberty would have been favored by 27 points over Hampton, while FCS semifinalist Maine will be a tougher game.

Liberty will be favored against New Mexico, New Mexico State twice (seriously, they play twice again), and UMass. The Flames will have coinflip games come against Rutgers, Louisiana and a depleted Buffalo.

In Huge Freeze’s initial year at Ole Miss in 2012, the Rebels improved from 2-10 to 7-6. Similarly, Arkansas State moved from 4-8 in 2010 to 10-3 in Freeze’s first year. Regardless of Freeze’s past off the field, there is a track record of major improvement in the first year.

Win Total: Liberty Over 5

UMass Minutemen 

After what felt like a decade, the quarterback combination of Andrew Ford and Ross Comis hitting wide receiver Anthony Isabella is over. Due to graduation, the Minutemen will be without any experience on offense or in the secondary.

A ‘mutual agreement‘ between UMass and head coach Mark Whipple came before Thanksgiving in 2018. New head coach Walt Bell enters after a tumultuous 2018 as Florida State offensive coordinator.

Plenty has been written about the Seminoles offensive line, but Bell was rumored to have conflicts late in the season with head coach Willie Taggart over play calling.

Before Florida State, Bell did not have much success as Maryland’s offensive coordinator in previous years. During 2016 and 2017, the Terrapins offense ranked 86th and 113th in offensive S&P+. Up until Florida State, a Walt Bell offense was midrange in explosiveness and bottom of the barrel in efficiency.

The new defensive coordinator is Bell’s previous peer Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, former defensive backs coach for Maryland. Rahim mentioned having a ‘vanilla scheme‘ until players can grasp more complex concepts. Needless to say, this is a Year Zero effort all around.

Our Action Network Power Ratings have UMass at 2.7 wins, while S&P+ is a bit more optimistic at 3.9. Both systems agree an under is the play at 4.5 and 4. There are five coin flip games in Southern Illinois, Coastal Carolina, Akron, UConn and Liberty.

But new players, new coaches and new schemes make it highly unlikely that UMass will sweep their coin flip games, which is likely needed to get to five wins.

Win Total: UMass Under 4.5

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