Almost Varsity Sports is here to deliver for our loyal listeners. Each week this season we’ll be publishing our best bets of the week and we’ll touch upon most, if not all, on our podcasts. We will try and have confidence rankings on most of our picks. You have our preview article which details, in depth, our choices for the division. This article is strictly about VALUE. These are the b est bang for your buck bets that have a shot to hit. But, for now, let’s get the year off on the right foot for everyone with some NCAA futures wagers before Friday night’s Cal/Hawaii kick-off
Best National Title Value Plays:
TCU (currently 22-1): The Big 12 is more wide open than people think. I’m down on Oklahoma and have them dropping a few games. You’re most likely not getting into the CFP with 10-2 or worse record. The TCU offense won’t lose much even though they lost some big names. The defense is healthy this year and Gary Patterson is a great coach.
Georgia (currently 25-1): You would have to assume the winner of the SEC gets a playoff berth. If that’s the assumption, I’m taking Georgia. I don’t think they are the best team in the SEC, but this play is about VALUE. The SEC West is MUCH worse than the SEC East. To me, Georgia and Tennessee are just about a toss-up, but Georgia has much better odds. They’re worth a shot
Iowa (30-1): This is a similar pick with reasoning geared towards our Georgia pick. Iowa plays in the bad division of the Big Ten. They could actually finish the regular season 11-1 or undefeated again with a trip to the Big Ten championship. If they win the game in the Big Ten Championship it would be extremely hard to leave the Big Ten Champion out of it.
Houston (50-1): Houston has two big OOC games (Oklahoma and Louisville). Other than that, they should be undefeated. If major conference teams don’t go undefeated, this team could legitimately sneak into the playoff. With a 50-1 ticket in the playoff, you can start hedging that bet immediately.
Best Conference Title Value Plays (5-1 odds or worse):
ACC: Louisville (8-1) – if they can split the games with Clemson/Florida State they could win a tiebreaker over the others and make it in the ACC title game. They have a better chance to win one of those two games then taking a team out of the wide open Costal division.
Big Ten: Iowa (6-1) – See reasoning above. Make it to the conference title game and we’re in an “Any Given Sunday” moment. Iowa was within one drive of beating Michigan State last year.
Big 12: TCU (5-1) – Big 12 is completely up for grabs again. I see the Oklahoma honeymoon phase ending quickly this year. TCU with 5-1 odds is a solid play here.
Pac 12: Pass – This conference could not be more up in the air. The odds for the five possible winners I see stink. This isn’t even worth a gamble.
SEC: Georgia (6.5-1) – I assume you are seeing a trend here. Take the team with a shot to win the weaker division and roll the dice. The East is between Georgia and Tennessee this year. Better odds favor Georgia. Lean that way.
Best Over/Under Plays:
Iowa (O/U 8.5): A very undderrated team in a very poor conference top to bottom. Only play one of the heavy hitters from the opposite division of the conference. CJ Beathard is an extremely underrated QB who played hurt most of last year. Pick – Over
Miami (O/U 7.5): Marc Richt is back in Miami. He is a player’s coach and I believe the players will be ready to back this coach. One of the best Quarterbacks in the country is under center. I have this team getting back to its old winning ways. I see 8 or 9 wins from this Miami team and a possible ACC title berth. Pick – Over
San Diego State (O/U 9.5): San Diego state is a very, very good team. The defense is one of the top in the country. The offense will do enough to get by this subpar schedule. There is a good chance San Diego state runs the table this year. I have them going 11-1 and safely cashing this over pick. Pick – Over
Texas A&M (O/U 6.5): Every writer in the nation is talking Alabama, LSU, and Tennessee. I’m here to tell you that 7 wins for A&M is extremely doable. I see 6 definitive wins. Win the “toss-up” opener at home against UCLA and start counting that cash. Pick – Over
Arkansas (O/U 7.5): I see this team winning 5 games. 6 tops. Every year they are a trendy pick to make a move up the SEC finally. We took the under with Arkansas last year and cashed easily. Prove me wrong, Razorbacks, you won’t. Pick – Under
TCU (O/U 8.5): Everyone sees all the big name departures. What you need to do is look a little closer. This defense was injured last year and everyone is back healthy. Patterson will bring them back to a top 20 defense. They get Oklahoma at home. Win that game and TCU is on the path to winning the Big 12. Pick – Under
Oklahoma (O/U 10): I think Oklahoma is VERY talented. However, this number makes no sense. To lose this bet Oklahoma has to win 11 or 12 games. With games against Houston, Ohio State, TCU, Texas, Baylor, WVU, and rival Oklahoma St. I just can’t take the over with that schedule. Houston, OSU, and TCU all take place within the first month. That’s when the bets decided. Pick – Under
Michigan (O/U 10): I just think this team is overrated. I’m not saying they aren’t a good team. I just think they will start 7-0 by playing no one. GAmes against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa are scary enough. I think this team will lose a game they shouldn’t. Pick – Under
- Iowa – Over 8.5 (5 star confidence)
- Miami – Over 7.5 (5 star confidence)
- San Diego St – Over 9.5 (4.5 star confidence)
- Texas A&M – Over 6.5 (3 star confidence)
- Arkansas – Under 7.5 (3 star confidence)
- TCU – Over 8.5 (3 star confidence)
- Oklahoma – Under 10 (2 star confidence)
- Michigan – Under 10 (1 star confidence)