Florida State looks like an over candidate, while LSU gets a fade.
In yet another sign that the college football season isn’t as far away as it seems, oddsmakers are releasing season win totals. Here’s a look at one intriguing proposition from each of the Power Five conferences. For entertainment purposes only, of course.
ACC: Florida State over 5 (-130)
As previously discussed, the Seminoles could be the most improved team in the entire country this season – even if their record doesn’t show it. How big might the disconnect be between the wins and losses versus the quality of play?
Count on two wins in non-conference games versus UMass and Jacksonville State in Tallahassee and two losses to Notre Dame and Florida. Give the Noles another guaranteed loss at Clemson.
To push, FSU just needs to take home Ws in three of the remaining seven games, which include a contest at Wake Forest and a visit from Syracuse. Put those in the win column, and then the Noles only have to beat Louisville at home and Boston College on the road to cash the ticket.
Give Mike Norvell and his coaching staff a full year of work with their team, and the results should be far better than 2020.
Big 12: Kansas over 1.5 (+180)
This football laughingstock managed to land a solid coach in Lance Leipold, who rebuilt Buffalo into a competitive program. That has to give KU fans hope for the future, and bettors may have a chance to capitalize on the optimism around Lawrence.
The Jayhawks should treat Leipold to a victorious debut when they host South Dakota on Labor Day weekend. While KU has dropped the ball in these paycheck games against FCS teams before, the Coyotes are putrid. After that first W, the Jayhawks need just one win to put them over the top.
Keep an eye on the Oct. 16 matchup with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders will be coming to Lawrence for what will be their seventh consecutive game. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, have an open date on Oct. 9.
Clearly, Chip Kelly has yet to restore any semblance of respectability to this program. That gives the ‘21 season one of those “If not now, when?” feelings. We’ll see if that lights a fire under the Bruins.
If UCLA’s play in ‘20 is any indication, Kelly could have the team on the verge of a breakthrough. Despite the 3-4 record, UCLA played hard. All four of the Bruins’ losses came by a score or less. In defeats at the hands of Colorado and Oregon, they turned the ball over a total of eight times to just one takeaway of their own.
Returning starters don’t give teams as much of an edge this season, but UCLA does have 18 of them. Additionally, the Bruins will get a chance for a hot start with a game against Hawaii on Aug. 28, meaning they will have an outing under their belts before facing off against LSU at the Rose Bowl the next week.
Big Ten: Maryland under 5.5 (+115)
Plus money to fade a team coached by Mike Locksley? Don’t pass up these opportunities.
The Terrapins are acquiring better players on the recruiting trail lately thanks to Locksley, who is going into his third season in College Park. On the field, however, Maryland still looks lost. In particular, the Terps couldn’t get stops the last two years and are starting over with a new defensive coordinator.
SEC: LSU under 8 (+105)
A mere two years off of winning a national championship, Ed Orgeron’s status as LSU’s head coach is starting to look awfully perilous. Perhaps Coach O could survive off-the-field issues that seem to pop up around Baton Rouge every few months. He probably won’t make it if his squad plays the way it did last season when LSU went 5-5.
Notably, when the Tigers lost last year, they tended to get rolled. The wins, meanwhile, didn’t come easy – the final margin in four of five were by eight points or fewer. That seems ominous for a team playing in an SEC West division that could prove even deeper than usual in ‘21. On top of that, the aforementioned road trip to UCLA feels all kinds of dangerous.
All in all, the Bayou Bengals have serious implosion potential this season.