The 2023 college football season is finally upon us! That means it’s time to get our last-minute win total bets locked in before the ball kicks off on Saturday and I’ve got a juicy slate of high-edge plays I’m eager to bet. In case you missed my introduction, I have created my own proprietary model, the T Shoe Index (TSI) to power rate every team and project every single game of the season using a data-driven formula. Here are the plays TSI indicates are the best value of the season:
Season Win Total Over Bets
Who doesn’t love a good over bet? It makes watching the games so much more enjoyable and less anxiety-stricken every time someone scores – or maybe that’s just me; however, there often isn’t as much value on over bets, as we know the general public loves to bet overs for this reason, often creating value on under bets.
The T Shoe Index has sniffed out some quality win total over bets for us this year, beginning with Jamey Chadwell’s Liberty Flames at Over 9 wins (via DraftKings) at a reasonable -115 odds, indicating an implied probability of 53.5% that Liberty goes over this total. TSI, however, projects Liberty at 10.2 wins this year, as they have the worst schedule in FBS after joining Conference USA this year, having been independent previously. This implies a whopping 92.96% chance that they go over the win total, giving us an edge of 39.46%.
Pick: Liberty Over 9 wins (-115)
Air Force Falcons
Staying in the Group of 5, let’s head to the Mountain West where the Air Force Falcons are a team that TSI indicates is undervalued in the marketplace. DraftKings has the Falcons’ win total set at 8.5 with standard -110 odds, which is an implied probability of 52.38%; however, TSI has Air Force projected to win exactly 10 games since they rank 126th nationally in my strength of schedule rankings. This implies an 89.33% chance they win nine or more games, giving us a comfortable edge of 36.95%.
Pick: Air Force Over 8.5 wins (-110)
Season Win Total Under Bets
While overs are the most fun to bet, the money we win from under bets spends just the same, so let’s take a look at where the value lies on some teams that the market has overrated this preseason, according to TSI.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Neal Brown could be in his last days at West Virginia and the projection is bleak for his future in Morgantown. DraftKings has the WVU win total set at a mere 4.5, with the under sitting at +120 – implied probability of 45.5%. TSI projects the Mountaineers at just 3.6 wins this season, with a 75.23% chance of winning 4 games or fewer, giving us a cushiony 29.73% edge on this total.
Pick: WVU Under 4.5 wins (+120)
Virginia Tech Hokies
I’m not sure what’s in the water in the Virginias these days, but the numbers indicate there’s value in another win total under lurking nearby; enter Virginia Tech, whose posted win total is just 5 at DraftKings, with even odds at +100 – implied probability of 50%. The Hokies have fallen from glory since the Beamer Ball days and TSI expects more of the same, if not worse, this season, as Brent Pry’s crew is projected to win just 3.1 games with a 95.08% chance to win 5 or fewer games, translating to a 45.08% edge for us.
Pick: Virginia Tech Under 5 wins (+100)
High-Variance Teams to Watch
Variance is a factor that we obviously want to minimize when handicapping a game or a season, because the higher the variance, the harder it is to predict what’s going to happen. That being said, high-variance teams can be the most interesting to watch and keep tabs on throughout the season, as the unpredictability of these teams is what makes college football so exciting on a weekly basis (Hello, 2018 Purdue). I wanted to highlight a couple teams that fit this description, according to TSI.
Dave Aranda’s team has a 93% chance to win anywhere from 4 to 8 games this season! That’s the difference in not going bowling to being a top 25 team by season’s end. I have the Bears power-rated 47th with the 33rd-most difficult schedule, so a decent team with a hard
schedule is the exact recipe for the potential variance we’re talking about.
Ball State Cardinals
Similar to Baylor, TSI sees Ball State falling somewhere in the 4-8 win range, with a 91% chance to do so (a 10% or greater chance to win exactly 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8). The MAC has a reputation of being high variance (and a whole lot of fun) and Ball State epitomizes that this year. The Cardinals are power-rated 92nd nationally with the 98th-most difficult schedule, which is well above the MAC average of 108th, thanks to some nonconference games against Kentucky and Georgia.
Michigan State Spartans
This is not what Spartans fans want to hear after Mel Tucker signed a monstrous contract to keep him in East Lansing for the foreseeable future and followed that up with a disastrous 2022, but here we are. Michigan State has a 94% chance to finish with between 3-7 wins in 2023. Five wins is the most likely outcome here and I have them favored in six games currently, but TSI sees a low floor and a mediocre ceiling (again) for the green and white.