We posted these college win total selections for our Green Sheet subscribers in our August 9 issue of the newsletter. Check out our NFL win totals plus weekly predictions for the college football season in our 32-page Football Annual as we open our 30th football season!
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MISSED THE BOAT
There is no margin of error when dealing with win totals on a 12-game season, if you’ve lost a half win on the number, you pass. These are win total plays where we agree with the line movement but can no longer recommend at the current market prices. Sometimes if there is a big move it can come back the other way so keep an eye on these numbers.
OREGON DUCKS – UNDER 9 (NOW 8½): The Ducks have a very good team that can be a national threat in some scenarios led by a high profile quarterback. The five games away from home this season are very difficult facing Auburn (in Arlington TX) along with Pac-12 road games at Stanford, Washington, USC, and Arizona State. Oregon is currently +3 in that opener and they could be dogged in all four of those conference road tests. Going perfect at home isn’t a given either with California, Washington State, and Arizona visiting Eugene. In a 5-4 Pac-12 season last year Oregon had an OT win over Washington and a two-point win over Arizona State at home while the non-conference schedule is dramatically more difficult this season compared to last season’s sweep of Bowling Green, Portland State, and San Jose State. 9-3 is a tough ask for this slate and should the Ducks fall out of the Pac-12 and national races early it wouldn’t be a shock if Justin Herbert hung it up to preserve his potential top NFL draft pick status.
VIRGINIA CAVALIERS – OVER 6 (NOW 7½): We pegged Virginia to win the ACC Coastal and we are not alone in anticipating a good season for Bronco Mendenhall in his fourth season with the program. Bryce Perkins is one of the top returning quarterbacks in the ACC and Virginia draws teams from the Atlantic side that combined to 3-13 in league play last season. Three non-conference games should be sure-wins while an upset at Notre Dame isn’t out of the question. The task at 7½ is far different than at 6 or even 6½ however as the Cavaliers have not been able to finish off Virginia Tech in recent years and the team does have to play at Pittsburgh and at Miami in big division road games. Catching Florida State early in the season could be beneficial and ultimately the Cavaliers look likely to be a winning team.
BAYLOR BEARS – OVER 6½ (NOW 7): Big XII teams only play three non-conference games but the Bears are highly likely to start 3-0 facing a FCS squad as well as UTSA and Rice. Baylor then has five of nine Big XII games at home including getting to host the top four teams in the 2018 conference standings as at least one upset looks very possible from this Bears group that is among the most experienced teams in the conference on both sides of the ball. Baylor was just 6-6 last season but with a non-conference loss and two one-score losses in Big XII play. Baylor did win some close games last season but by-and-large the depth in the Big XII looks much weaker than the 2018 season as Baylor is a threat to move into the top half and better its 4-5 league record. The schedule is back-loaded facing the two Big XII favorites in November and a 6-2 or 7-1 start to the season isn’t impossible for a Big XII sleeper.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES – UNDER 7½ (STILL 7½): The argument for Texas A&M as a top 15-20 caliber squad is valid but when the schedule includes road games at Clemson, at Georgia, and at LSU while also featuring home dates with Auburn and Alabama it will be a great challenge to finish above .500. The road game at Clemson in the second week of the season will go a long way towards determining the season trajectory for this group as a loss could devastate a team that will still have several difficult early season contests. Home games with Mississippi State and South Carolina can’t be assumed wins and last year’s 8-4 regular season record included two OT wins at home in SEC play plus two other one-score wins as this team wasn’t far from a 1-7 conference season. 1,700-yard rusher Trayveon Williams was the offense last season and he is now in the NFL and Jimbo Fisher’s squad ranks in the bottom five of experience in the SEC on both sides of the ball.
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HAWAI’I WARRIORS – OVER 5½ (STILL 5½): After winning eight games last season the Warriors felt fortunate and in reality they got there with a pair of overtime wins and a few other narrow victories, mostly against marginal competition. Hawai’i as usual has a 13-game schedule to reach this mark and while opening with three Pac-12 teams is a challenge, the games with Arizona and Oregon State are at home. Hawai’i could conceivable start 1-5 as two difficult road games open the Mountain West season but the back half of the schedule is favorable including five of the final seven being at home. Cole McDonald is one the nation’s most productive returning quarterbacks and Hawai’i has the most returning defensive personnel in the conference. Fresno State’s roster was gutted while Nevada has a number of step-back indicators for 2019 as the West division won’t be nearly as strong as last season and another bowl bid looks very possible for Nick Rolovich. Hawai’i’s win over Arizona last Saturday certainly provides a boost to this proposition, that now must be lumped into the ‘MISSED THE BOAT’ list.
KENT STATE FLASHES – OVER 4 (STILL 4): Ultimately a push at 4 is very possible for this play as Kent State looks certain to lose three non-conference games with heavyweight opposition playing at Arizona State, at Auburn, and at Wisconsin. The Flashes will be worth a look ATS in the MAC season as an undervalued team and if they don’t suffer key injuries in those early physical battles this squad could post a winning MAC record in what looks like a wide open East division. Kent State finished 2-10 last season with first-year head coach Sean Lewis but a lot of experience is back and the Flashes have several winnable home games in league play. This team lost by one vs. Ohio last season while suffering three other single-score defeats and reaching three wins before November looks very possible. The four-game path in November isn’t an easy one but beating Buffalo or Ball State at home is realistic while a finale win at Eastern Michigan wouldn’t take a major upset.
As mentioned earlier a move of half a win is no small consideration in a 12-game season. The below teams received enough action to have oddsmakers adjusting but the opportunity may be to go against the grain on the below selections now with more favorable numbers than the opening prices.
ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS – UNDER 10 (OPENED 8½): Blindly playing against all moves of 1½ games or more would probably net a profit most seasons. Army went 10-2 last season and one of the losses came in overtime at Oklahoma as this team was relentless with the option attack and kept opposing defenses on the field by frequently going for it and succeeding on fourth downs. Teams will be better prepared for that approach this season and Army also had four single-score wins last season for some good fortune through one of the nation’s weakest schedules. Army plays at Michigan in Week 2 as a price of 10 is basically saying Army will go 10-1 or better in the rest of the schedule. Tulane, Western Kentucky, Georgia State, Air Force, Hawai’i, and Navy are all teams that are likely to be single-digit underdogs (if not favorites) vs. Army as it isn’t going to take colossal upsets to beat the Black Knights. Army lost several prominent defensive players from last season and it has been a decade since one of the service academies won the Commander-in-Chief Trophy three years in a row which Army will be trying to do this season against improved Air Force and Navy teams.
GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS – OVER 3½ (OPENED 4½): Troy and Appalachian State were dominant teams in the Sun Belt East last season but both teams are in coaching changes as the division race could open up. A seven-win team in 2017 the Panthers slipped to 2-10 last season but they were outscored by single-digits on average in going 1-7 in Sun Belt play while playing three best Sun Belt teams on the road last season. Georgia State has three winnable games in September and avoids last season’s West champion in the Sun Belt draw. Dan Ellington had efficient numbers at quarterback last season and it will likely only take one upset to get this group to four wins. Georgia State lost last season’s OC to West Virginia but Brad Glen previously worked with Shawn Elliott at Appalachian State and led an explosive FCS offense at Western Carolina the past few seasons.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD – UNDER 7½ (OPENED 6): Doc Holliday has a great record with this program and shouldn’t be underestimated as a Conference USA title isn’t out of the question. Three of four non-conference games are of the very difficult variety however as a 2-2 September for the Herd would be a good showing. Road games at Middle Tennessee State and at Florida Atlantic means that two of the toughest division games will be away from Huntington’s great home field edge and there is reason to believe home tests vs. Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International will be difficult to sweep with all of those teams potentially improved squads in 2019. Marshall will have one of the least experienced defenses in Conference USA as allowing around 18 points per game in conference play as they did last season will be a difficult mark to match. Isaiah Green is a talented QB but was just a 56 percent passer with double-digit interceptions last season and the backfield has some question marks.