You can bet on 2016 college football now, including how many games most of the likely preseason top 25 will win. The Golden Nugget has released win total over/unders for 22 top teams and Auburn, too.
Here are those, alongside Bill Connelly's S&P+ win projections for a second opinion. A number in the negatives in the rightmost column means S&P+ thinks that team won't reach its over/under, for example. Most are similar, because both Vegas and Bill have good numbers, but several have interesting differences. Florida State's schedule is a lot harder than I'd realized, for one.
After these, Bud Elliott and I pick our favorite over and under bets, and we invite you to do the same in the comments below.
Bud's over pick: Ohio State over 8.5 wins
I'm a believer in talent. I know all about a team that lost a ton of it after a slightly disappointing season with huge expectations (hello, 2015 Florida State). But Ohio State has recruited the second-most talent in the country over the last four and five years, behind Alabama.
I don't like the road schedule (Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Penn State, Maryland, Michigan State), and Michigan should be very good, but the Buckeyes have an extremely good chance to go win go 3-2 on the road and 6-1 at home, which equals nine wins.
Bud's under pick: Houston under 9 wins
The price is steep to bet the under, but I believe Vegas is laying a trap to entice people to bet the over. This is a team that is being hyped as a Playoff contender from the Group of Five. Head coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando are both excellent, but this was an extremely lucky team in 2015 and I am essentially wagering against all that repeating.
Oklahoma for an opener is very tough, Thursday night on short rest against Cincinnati isn't easy, and neither are road games at Navy and at Memphis or a home game against a Louisville that will surely take the Cougars more seriously this time. I find 8-4 more likely than 10-2.
Jason's over pick: Michigan over 9.5 wins
Between Hawaii, UCF, Colorado, and Rutgers, the Wolverines get arguably the worst team from four different 2015 conferences. Illinois and Maryland are rebuilding, the Indiana game is a sure 64-59 debacle that Indiana loses (because it is an Indiana game), and Penn State and Wisconsin are in Ann Arbor. Marking all those as Ws would require going 1-2 at Iowa, at Michigan State, and at Ohio State. MSU and OSU lost a lot (they and Wisconsin rank in the Power 5's bottom five in returning production), while the Hawkeyes overachieved greatly last year.
Jim Harbaugh's only question on offense is at QB (that's a big question), where there are decent options. The defense could include multiple All-Americans ... but also some freshman contributors ... but those freshmen include the country's No. 1 overall prospect.
Jason's under pick: UCLA under 9 wins
A tough division, Stanford and at Washington State in the non-division, and at BYU and at Texas A&M in the non-conference.
The Bruins also lost eight players to the NFL Draft. That's the most of anybody besides Ohio State or Clemson, and UCLA has recruited a step below those teams and other draft factories like Bama or FSU. Josh Rosen could soon be the country's best QB, and getting back DT Eddie Vanderdoes is big, but even a top-five team would be challenged by this schedule, let alone a top-15 team.
Bill C team of the day: Texas, where the clock's ticking on Charlie Strong's rebuild.
Let's talk 2016's 25 best non-conference games. It's an especially good year for this sort of thing.
Nick Saban explains why he's not rushing to judgment re: Cam Robinson. Fair?
We kind of missed Marco Rubio's sports opinions, as they were the sincere-seeming ones among this presidential field's. He's back, proposing Tim Tebow as the replacement for a Confederate statue in D.C.
The UConn Blog makes its conference expansion case to Big 12 fans.
Nebraska's head coach is out here encouraging fans to bombard recruits' social media feeds? OK.
Is it actually harder to face an opponent who's coming off a bye week? Yep. Well, slightly. But still, yep. [cc: Alabama fans annually angry about opponent bye weeks]
Seems the Solid Verbal talked about pretty much everything from Alabama to the Big 12.
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