Monday, July 18, 2016

Is It Too Early To Start Looking At College Football Team Props?

The answer, of course, is no. There are so few sports happening right now that the biggest story on my Twitter timeline is Taylor Swift Instagramming that she's going to sue Kim Kardashian for Snapchatting a recorded phone conversation with Kanye West.

Peak Millennialism.

So let's cut the nerd social media talk and start talking about football, like men. College football season props are out on Bovada, and I'm going to give you picks for every division that matters.


(Editor's note: the Big 12 doesn't have divisions, so they just lump everyone into one huge division and the whole thing ends in a three-way tie every season.)

Who Won Last Year: Oklahoma

Who's Favored This Year: Oklahoma -140

Some Other Teams To Consider: Oklahoma State +500, TCU +500

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Kansas +25000

Bob Stoops' Sooners are the heavy favorite to repeat, primarily because they'll be returning quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Samaja Perine. There's no reason to bet against them, just accept the moneyline wherever you can get it and count your money in December.

And oh by the way, you could add three more zeroes onto the end of that Kansas moneyline and I still wouldn't bet a dollar on it.

ACC - Atlantic

Who Won Last Year: Clemson

Who's Favored This Year: Clemson -110

Some Other Teams To Consider: Florida State +125, Louisville +600

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Wake Forest and Syracuse are both +5000, which really makes me happy

As tough as it might be to bet against the defending conference champions that came within one score of being national champions, I reside in a Florida State household.

Dalvin Cook is going to be the best running back in the conference. Sean Maguire will be a solid quarterback, and if he gets beat out for the job it will be by a stud underclassman. Defensive end Marcus Walker decided to stay in school for his senior season, and he's probably going to be a first round pick next year. I love the payout of +125 and I'm all over FSU this year.

ACC - Coastal 

Who Won Last Year: North Carolina

Who's Favored This Year: Miami +150

Some Other Teams To Consider: Pitt +300, Va Tech +325, UNC +400

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Virginia +4000

The Coastal division is a real crapshoot this year. Other than Duke and Virginia, every team has odds of 10/1 or shorter. That's a plus if you are a fan of a team and are going to bet them anyway, but it's a negative for us because it just means we're going to lose money.

But I told you I'd give you a bet for every division, so here's your bet for the Coastal: bet on your Atlantic team to win the whole ACC. Bingo bango.

Big Ten - East

Who Won Last Year: Michigan State

Who's Favored This Year: Ohio State +100

Some Other Teams To Consider: Michigan +125, Michigan State +600

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: All of the rest of the teams Rutgers +5000

This is what the Big Ten East should be. Just Ohio State/Michigan/Michigan State dominance and hatred. This is, outside of the SEC, the one division you want to make sure you have a dog in the fight.

For us, it's Michigan because the other two have to replace Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliot, Connor Cook, and some other NFL-bound players.

Big Ten - West

Who Won Last Year: Iowa

Who's Favored This Year: Iowa +100

Some Other Teams To Consider: Nebraska +200, Wisconsin +400, Northwestern +900 (kidding?)

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Purdue +3300

In a similar sense as the ACC Coastal, this division is kind of a crapshoot. Iowa is probably going to win, but they aren't really blowing anyone away in any aspect of the game. If you like Wisconsin or Nebraska, throw some money down on a beefy line. If you like getting drunk at 11:30am on Saturdays, bet on Northwestern.

It's really whatever you prefer, but personally I am a fan of morning drinking and football so I am in on the Wildcats.

Pac-12 - North

Who Won Last Year: Stanford

Who's Favored This Year: Stanford +160

Some Other Teams To Consider: Washington +175, Oregon +300

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Oregon State +5000

One quick note: Oregon State has a 0% chance of winning the divison, but they have a 100% chance of upsetting someone and throwing a wrench into that team's National Title hopes.

As far as the actual division winner, I think Stanford is overvalued based on recent success and Washington is undervalued for the same reason (or the opposite reason, depending on how you see it).

The Huskies are returning their entire offensive line and backfield, plus receiver John Ross III should be huge. Oh and their defense last year led the conference in yardage and scoring and will return 7 starters for this season.

Pac-12 - South

Who Won Last Year: USC

Who's Favored This Year: UCLA +140

Some Other Teams To Consider: USC +175, Utah +500, ASU +650

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Colorado +2000

Really, this is a two-horse race between the Los Angeles teams. It comes down to who you prefer, and I'm going to make a quick and easy comparison chart for these two (sources here and here):

  • Quarterback: UCLA's Josh Rosen is unquestionably more valuable than anything USC will be able to replace Cody Kessler with. 1-0 Bruins. 
  • Rest of the offense: UCLA's got a three-headed running back trio, and they're apparently going to be employing a fullback and at least one tight end for most of the time. However, USC's returning their whole offensive line and they have a pair of running backs that should be as good if not better than UCLA's. 1-1, tied game. 
  • Defense: UCLA has a very staunch defensive line, a less solid group of linebackers, and some brittle-boned defensive backs. USC is about the exact opposite, in that they have a fuckton of talent in the secondary and it gets less impressive as you move toward the line of scrimmage. This one is a tie, so we'll move the score to 2-2. 
  • Other/intangibles: UCLA's two best players are their quarterback and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes. USC's two best are a wide receiver and a cornerback. I'm taking the QB and the big man as more important, and UCLA wins this little exercise by a hair. 
SEC West

Who Won Last Year: Alabama

Who's Favored This Year: Alabama -130

Some Other Teams To Consider: LSU +225, Auburn +700, Ole Miss +1200, Texas A&M +1400, Arkansas +1400

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: Mississippi State +2000

While it may seem like it's a two horse race, it's the SEC West so any of these teams (or at least most of them) could end up being the best team in the country. There isn't a ton of value on 'Bama, but if you think another year of development for Leonard Fournette could bump LSU up from their 5-3 record last year, the Tigers might be the play. Really, anyone other than Bama or LSU is a long shot that you shouldn't expect much from.

For me, the questions in the passing attack make LSU really tough to pick. But Alabama has question marks at basically every position in the backfield, so I feel safer with LSU at +225 than I would with Alabama -130.

SEC East

Who Won Last Year: Florida

Who's Favored This Year: Tennessee -125

Some Other Teams To Consider: Georgia +200, Florida +450, Mizzou +1600

Ha Ha This Team Has No Chance: South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vandy are all +2500

Even though the payout for Tennessee is about the same as Alabama, I like the Vols bet much more than I like the Tide bet. Georgia doesn't scare me, Florida peaked last year, and the other three would be laughable opponents for Bama or LSU in the SEC title game. It has to be Tennessee, and even though the moneyline is a little prohibitive I like the Vols.

The Bet Slip

  • Big XII: Oklahoma -140
  • ACC Atlantic: Florida State +125
  • ACC Coastal: No thanks, just take FSU to win the whole conference +225
  • Big Ten East: Michigan +125
  • Big Ten West: Northwestern +900 (kidding?)
  • Pac-12 North: Washington +175
  • Pac-12 South: UCLA +140
  • SEC West: LSU +225
  • SEC East: Tennessee -125

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