College football season is three months away but Las Vegas sportsbooks have already released the over-under win totals for power-five conference teams.
To the surprise of no one, many of the traditional powers are expected to do what they usually do…win.
Starting with Alabama, the elitest of the elite programs in the country. The Crimson Tide was one play away from winning back-to-back national titles. Las Vegas bookmakers set the over-under on Nick Saban’s squad at 10.5 wins in the regular season.
The odds of the over hitting are pretty good. Alabama has won at least 11 games every year since 2010. Saban’s team has averaged 11.2 regular season victories for year over the past five seasons.
The only other power-five conference teams with a double-digit projected win totals are Florida State (10.5) and Ohio State (10). The Buckeyes’ expectations were so high the past two years that the 23-3 record the team put up was a bit of a disappointment.
But Urban Meyer’s crew returns a plethora of future NFL stars on both sides of the ball. Quarterback J.T. Barrett, a Heisman Trophy candidate as a freshman, returns for his senior season. Given Ohio State’s relatively weak schedule, many gamblers will look to jump on the over.
The Other Guys
Ohio State and Alabama are expected to win a lot of games. Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t expect the same out of some other squads.
Iowa State, a perennial Big-12 doormat, is listed at 5.5 wins. That’s more than the Cyclones have won in a season since 2011. Matt Campbell enters his second year as head coach and expectations are on the rise. But, they’re still Iowa State, a program that hasn’t won a conference title since 1912. So, don’t expect much to change in 2017.
Bookmakers set the over/under for Mississippi State at 5.5. This is one of the most inconsistent programs in the country, making the team difficult to project.
Another inconsistent program is Iowa. The Hawkeyes, according to Las Vegas, should win about 6.5 games. If recent trends mean anything to the bettor, this team should hit the over. Iowa has won 8, 12, 7, and 8 games during the past four seasons and returns an experienced offensive line and defensive front-seven.
Projecting the Defending Champs
Clemson went 14-1 in 2016, beating Alabama in the final minute of the College Football Playoff championship game.
The Tigers lost a tough one to the Crimson Tide a year earlier. As great as Dabo Swinney’s squad has been in recent years, expectations are down a bit this season.
All-world quarterback Deshaun Watson has moved on to the NFL, leaving Clemson with a huge role to fill in 2017. Thus, Vegas has the Tigers listed at 9 projected wins.
A championship repeat won’t be in the cards unless Swinney can find a consistent replacement at quarterback.