Depending on your bankroll and goals, betting college football win totals can help diversify your portfolio and provide another potential profit center.
Caesars recently released regular-season win totals for all 130 FBS teams, while entities in other U.S. states with legalized sports betting have done the same despite the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season.
As is the case with college football games of the year and other similar betting opportunities, I make my own RSW lines for each team, compare them to the betting total and price, then typically bet a handful at the most advantageous numbers.
Here are three of my top recommendations on college football RSW totals (with prices from Caesars as of Tuesday).
Texas A&M (Under 9.5, -155): With $75 million man Jimbo Fisher set to begin his third season, expectations will be high for the program to take the next step. In my mind, that bar will probably be set a little too high.
The Aggies will need to win 10 regular-season games for their supporters to get back to the window, but history suggests this is unlikely.
In the 21 seasons since 1999, A&M has won more than nine regular-season games only once — in Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy campaign of 2012. While win totals encompass only the regular season, the Aggies’ run of one 10-win season in the last 21 years includes bowl games.
Still, A&M will likely open the season ranked among the top 15, with much of the optimism based on the return of fourth-year starting quarterback Kellen Mond.
Many media members view the dual-threat QB as one of the sport’s best at the game’s most critical position. For my money, however, Mond is somewhat overrated. He has completed just 57.8% of his career passes for an average of just 7.0 yards per attempt, with an equally modest 52-24 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The 6-2, 215-pounder is a legitimate running threat, however, having gained almost 1,000 yards rushing over the last two seasons.
While A&M does boast 16 returning starters, the early departure of defensive tackle Justin Madubuike to the NFL is significant. The 6-3, 300-pound force was credited with 11 sacks and 22 tackles for loss in two seasons as a starter.
Wake Forest (Under 6.5, -120): When it comes to win totals, the Demon Deacons have the luxury of residing in the fair to middling Atlantic Coast Conference.
Wake Forest returns 11 starters, but the one who got away generates the most concern. Dual-threat quarterback Jamie Newman bolted Winston-Salem after the 2019 season for Georgia, where he will be eligible to play this season as a grad transfer.
Newman, a bruising, physical type at 6-4 and 230 pounds, came into his own as a junior last year, accounting for more than 3,400 total yards and 32 touchdowns.
With Newman’s exit, Wake is expected to have only three returning offensive starters after averaging 30.4 points per game or more in each of the last three seasons.
Newman is not the Demon Deacons’ only loss on offense. Other departees include three multiyear offensive line starters; their top two receivers, including 1,000-yard pass catcher Kendall Hinton; their top running back, Cade Carney (620 yards rushing in 2019); and their top tight end, Jack Freudenthal (32 catches for 325 yards and five touchdowns last season). Suffice it to say, the Demon Deacons will likely not reach 30 points per game in 2020.
Additionally, Wake Forest was plus-9 last season in turnovers and plus-2 in net close games — decided by seven or fewer points. These categories are somewhat random and have a higher probability of regressing toward the mean.
Purdue (Over 5, -105): Few teams were hit harder by injuries than Purdue in 2019.
First and foremost, playmaker Rondale Moore, who racked up more than 2,200 all-purpose yards as a true freshman in 2018, was limited to about 3 1/2 games before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. And Purdue’s injury woes didn’t stop with Moore.
Quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and Jack Plummer missed a total of 10 games. Defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal, one of the top performers at his position in the Big Ten, did not play a single snap in 2019. And standout linebacker Markus Bailey appeared in only two games. Of those five key performers, only Sindelar is not expected to return in 2020.
The Boilermakers will likely be favored in five of their first six games. Examining some other areas, Purdue was minus-2 in net close games and minus-8 in turnover margin. Improvement in one or both categories would go a long way toward getting the Boilermakers to at least a break-even regular-season record.
Before the 2019 season, Jeff Brohm was considered one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football. He didn’t get stupid overnight.
Look for the Boilers to bounce back with a healthy Moore and a much-improved defense headed by the return of leaders Neal and Bailey.