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2015 FBS Independents Betting Preview

The FBS Independents includes just three squads in 2015 following the departure of the Navy Midshipmen for the American Athletic Conference.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish climbed as high as No. 6 in the AP Top 25 rankings last year before ending their regular season schedule with four straight losses to finish at 7-5 and well out of College Football Playoff contention.

But despite their late-season swoon and the loss of quarterback Everett Golson, who has transferred to the Florida State Seminoles for his final college season, the Fighting Irish easily top the short list of FBS Independent squads in national championship futures betting odds at BetOnline, perched at +2500.

The BYU Cougars posted their third straight 8-4 season in 2014, dominating a schedule that featured no games against nationally-ranked squads.

Things get tougher for the Cougars in 2015, with a schedule that includes meetings with  the Boise State Broncos, UCLA Bruins, and the improved Michigan Wolverines. Consequently, BYU have seen their national championship odds tumble to +25000, well back of the +17500 odds they owned prior to the start of last season.

Army also returns to action this year as part of the FBS Independents. The Black Knights stumbled to a 4-8 record in 2014, and enter the 2015 college football season off the board in national championship betting at BetOnline.

Indeed, one of the Black Knights' primary objectives in the upcoming season will likely be to end Navy's continued dominance in the annual Army-Navy Game. The Midshipmen have dominated Army in recent years, winning their last 13 meetings, and 16 of their last 18.

2015/16 College Football Champion
  • Notre Dame +2500
  • BYU +25000
  • Army OFF BOARD
Odds as of July 20 at BetOnline

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Notre Dame and Navy both went 9-4 SU last year, but it was the Midshipmen that were one of the most lucrative teams in college football last season. Still, Navy is well down the list of odds to win the national championship in the upcoming season.

At 5Dimes Notre Dame is sitting at +11000 on the odds to win the national championship in the upcoming season, with fellow Independent BYU at +17500, and Navy well behind those two teams at +50000 on that futures list.

Notre Dame went 9-4 SU and 5-7-1 ATS last season, while Navy was 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS, BYU was 8-5 SU and 5-7-1 ATS, and Army was 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS. Those are the only four teams left as FBS Independents in college football.

2014 Odds to Win the National Championship at 5Dimes as of August 18:
Notre Dame +11000
BYU +17500
Navy +50000
Army (no line)


The number of Division-IA Independents has grown to seven teams for 2013 as a few programs find themselves in a one-year holding pattern before joining a new conference. At the top of this list, as always, is Notre Dame.

Notre Dame (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada 50/1)

The Fighting Irish set the bar pretty high for this season after last year’s 12-1 straight-up run that ended on a sour note with a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game as 10-point underdogs. They did not fare nearly as well against the spread with an overall record of 7-6 that included a 3-5 ATS record at home. The total stayed UNDER in 10 of their 13 games.

BYU (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada 200/1)

The Cougars' first season as Independents resulted in an 8-5 record SU and a 7-6 record ATS. They were 2-4 ATS at home but a profitable 5-2 ATS on the road. BYU closed out the season on a 4-1 SU (3-2 ATS) run including a 23-6 victory over San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl as a 3-point favorite.

Army (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada OFF)

In was a long season for the Black Knights in 2012 with just two SU victories against 10 losses. They went 4-8 ATS overall while failing to cover in all four of their road games. Army closed out the season with a tight 17-13 loss to Navy, but as a moral victory to bettors, it covered as a 6.5-point underdog.

Idaho (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada OFF)

The Vandals will play as an Independent this season after the Western Athletic Conference decided to disband for the sport of football. They won just one conference game in the WAC last season and finished the year 1-11 SU. Idaho was also costly to wager on with a 3-9 record ATS.

Navy (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada OFF)

The Midshipmen went a solid 8-5 SU last season but they failed to cover in nine of their 13 games. They went 3-2 SU in their final five games of the year but 0-5 ATS. After the total went OVER in Navy’s 50-10 loss to Notre Dame on opening day, it stayed UNDER in eight of its next 11 games.

New Mexico State (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada OFF)

The Aggies are another casualty from the WAC and they will play as an Independent this season before joining the Sun Belt in 2014. They have nowhere to go but up this season after posting a dreadful 1-11 SU record in 2012. They were slightly better ATS at 4-8 with a 2-4 ATS record both at home and on the road.

Old Dominion (Odds to win BCS Championship at Bovada OFF)

The Monarchs join the ranks of Division IA after a two-year stint in the D-IAA Colonial Athletic Association were they went 21-5 SU the past two seasons. They will join Conference USA in 2014 after playing this season as an Independent.