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NCAA Football: The Best Bets for the Best Teams

Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The NCAA football season is just around the corner and that means you’re probably getting happy fingers to lay some preseason bets. Well, you’ve come to the right place because OddsShark has put together the best bets for the best college teams. Find your bet below:

Alabama Crimson Tide:  National Champions (+190)

If you’re planning to put money down on ’Bama to repeat as national champs, there’s no time like the present. As the season begins and teams start to slot into positioning, it’s likely that these odds will creep closer to even or possibly minus-money.

Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa provide an embarrassment of riches for the offense. The 'Bama offense registered an average of 444 yards and 37 points per game in 2017 - they're expected to be more dangerous this year en route to another SEC Championship and College Football Playoff.  

Clemson Tigers: 11 Regular-Season Wins (OVER -120)

There’s not a lot of prop odds offering a whole lot of value for Clemson this year as they are expected to be a dangerous team. The Tigers are returning a plethora of players from last year’s roster that finished 12-2 overall and ended their season with a loss in the Sugar Bowl. Experts have predicted the floor on this bet to be a push.

Auburn Tigers: 9 Regular-Seasons Wins (OVER -120)

The Auburn Tigers play in a conference with the Alabama Crimson Tide, so that makes betting on them for the conference title a little tough. However, they’ve got a good team and a quarterback that Jonny OddsShark believes to be the best in the SEC. The defensive line is consistently near the top in the NCAA and that leads to wins (sometimes even when you don’t deserve them).

Georgia Bulldogs: Jake Fromm to win the Heisman (+1500)

Jake Fromm brought the Georgia Bulldogs painfully close to winning the national championship last season and was an early front-runner at many sportsbooks for the Heisman immediately after the national championship game.

Somewhere along the line, opinions have changed on Fromm and the odds have moved to +1500, although Fromm hasn’t been on the field to drive any tangible change. With a decent schedule and most of the offensive line returning, Fromm has the potential for a better season than last year, and a shot at the Heisman.

Florida State Seminoles: 8.5 Regular-Season Wins (Under -140)

A strong schedule and a weak offensive line make 8.5 wins too lofty a goal for the Seminoles according to our Jonny OddsShark. We’re going to fade the Seminoles in 2018.

Ohio State: J.K. Dobson - Regular-Season Rushing Yards (1374.5, Over -115)

J.K. Dobson ran for 1,403 yards in 2017 and returns for his second year under Urban Meyer’s offense. The lead running back at OSU has compiled more than 1374.5 yards in four of the last five seasons, and Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde combined for over 2,200 yards on the ground in 2012. With a new QB in Columbus, look for Dobson to get lots of work early and have plenty of opportunities to eclipse this total.

Michigan: 9 Regular-Season Wins (OVER -135)

Our own Jonny OddsShark has predicted Michigan to eclipse the nine-win mark, and who am I to argue? The Wolverines have a tough schedule and many think their conference will be a battle every week. Improvements at QB and the offensive line combined with hallmark defensive play make this the best bet for the Wolverines.

Michigan State Spartans: 9 Regular-Season Wins (UNDER -120)

Spartans fans are unlikely to bet on their team finishing worse than in 2017 when they went 9-3, but a lot of things will need to go right for them to win 10 games this season. Michigan State is returning 21 starters, however, with five of their nine victories last year coming by eight points or less, you’d be putting a lot of faith in a team that has a tough schedule and an unproven offense.

Washington Huskies: Win the Pac-12 (Even)

The Huskies return competent quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. Gaskin ran for just under 1,400 yards in 2017 and Browning is in the preseason discussion for the Heisman.

Florida Gators: 8 Regular-Season Wins (OVER -135)

Florida returns its entire offensive line as well as Feleipe Franks at QB. Jordan Scarlett returns after being suspended for all of 2018 and he’s saying and doing all the right things leading up to the new season. Physically, Scarlett is said to be NFL-ready, however, it’s between the ears with his off-field decision-making that has Gators’ supporters a little nervous.

Oklahoma Sooners: Win the Big 12 Conference Championship (+130)

It won’t be easy for Oklahoma in 2018, but they’re still the favorite to win the Big 12 at +130. They’re not currently in the national championship conversation and there’s no replacing Baker Mayfield, but look for them to keep rolling through conference play in 2018 and worry about bowl games when the time comes.

Penn State Nittany Lions: 3450.5 Total Passing Yards – Trace McSorley (OVER -115)

Trace McSorley has thrown over 3,450.5 yards (3,614 and 3,570) in his first two seasons at pivot for Penn State and I expect that will continue in 2018. McSorley has familiar targets in returning receivers Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins, who combined for 1,144 yards and 82 receptions in 2017. Junior slot receiver Brandon Polk returns as well.

LSU Tigers: 7.5 Regular-season wins (UNDER -145)

It’s an expected down year for the Tigers who play in a difficult SEC with some of the best teams in the country. Without an undisputed No. 1 QB in the fold and unproven running backs, it will be a challenge for first-year offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. Apropos of nothing, my favorite LSU athlete of all time is John Tenta, better known as WWE superstar Earthquake.

Miami Hurricanes: Win ACC Coastal Division (+115)

Clemson is expected to have a powerhouse team this year, so the U will have a hard time winning the ACC championship. However, they are the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division and that’s where the smarter money is for the Hurricanes. Miami won the division in 2017 and is hungry to get back to that ACC championship game.

Texas Longhorns: 8.5 Regular-Season Wins (UNDER +120)

The Longhorns have the second-highest predicted win total in the Big 12 and Jonny OddsShark doesn’t understand why. In addition, the OVER on this bet is -150, making it a risky yet low-profit bet for bettors. We’re saying the UNDER is a better bet on the Longhorns, who still have question marks at QB and offensive line. Their run defense was eighth in the NCAA in 2017 and the seven TDs scored by their defense may have masked some offensive deficiencies.

Oregon Ducks: Regular Season- Justin Herbert 25.5 Total Passing TDs (Under -120)

Herbert has never thrown more than 19 touchdowns in an NCAA season, however, he’s been limited to a maximum of eight games per season. There are questions surrounding Herbert’s durability and even if you extrapolate his totals from the eight-game seasons, it’s close as to whether he gets to 25.5 or not.

Texas A&M Aggies: 7.5 Regular-Season Wins (UNDER -125)

A new coach and a rebuilding year do not bode well for the Aggies reaching the 7.5 win total. Texas A&M allowed 35 points or more on six different occasions last season. In addition, the Aggies will be getting used to a new quarterback and a new game plan.

USC Trojans: Win Pac-12 South (+150)

Pundits have USC as the top team in the Pac-12 South but there are some questions surrounding the starting quarterback position since the departure of Sam Darnold. Questions also surround the health of Stephen Carr, who is coming off back surgery and it’s still unknown how his back will hold up through a full season. Despite the questions, USC is still expected to win the South and +150 makes for great value.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 9.5 Regular-Season Wins (OVER +110)

Opinions are split about whether the Fighting Irish can replicate last season’s success, especially after the departure of some key linemen and coaches, but to pick the UNDER on this bet at -140 is no fun, so let’s take the OVER and see if they can do it all over again. If Brandon Wimbush can progress in his second year, the Irish are considered an X factor due to their independent status and could surprise some schools.

Ole Miss Rebels: A.J. Brown Regular-Season Total Receiving yards (1300.5, OVER -115)

A.J. Brown has a breakout season as a sophomore in 2017, catching 75 footballs for 1,252 yards. With the total just 48 yards more than his 2017 numbers, we’ll look for Brown to eclipse that mark as he will be the go-to guy once again for the Rebels.

Virginia Tech Hokies: 8.5 Regular-Season Wins (OVER +145)

The Hokies have a fair schedule, especially early, and that could help them gain some momentum. Their Week 1 game at Florida State could set the tempo for the whole season. The Hokies have eclipsed 8.5 wins in both seasons under Justin Fuente and the +145 odds made this a valuable bet on VT.

Wisconsin Badgers: 10 Regular-Seasons Wins (OVER -120)

I’d love to say it’s a good bet to pick Wisconsin to win the Big Ten (and you can go ahead and make that bet), but they’ve not proven capable of getting past the conference championship and have a rebuilt defense on the field in 2018. A safer bet for the Badgers is OVER 10 regular-season wins as they are still expected to win the Big Ten West.

All odds quoted in this article from Bovada - August 20, 2018.

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