Brian Kelly

Five Favorite College Football Win Total Bets

Sketchy-as-all-get-out online gambling site 5Dimes this week made its annual play to get way out in front of the competition in posting win totals for the upcoming college football season. The betting limits are low, the juice is ridiculous and no one who intends to make any money should go anywhere near them.

It’s also May, so why not? Below are what I would deem the five best plays on 5Dimes’ board.

Notre Dame over 9 (+110)

Let’s kick this exercise off with one of college football’s big dogs.

I’m buying big on the Fighting Irish this year and think they have a decent shot at making the College Football Playoff. Yes, ND has tailed off in the last two seasons after 2012’s run to an appearance in the national championship. That doesn’t change the fact that I love how Brian Kelly has built this squad by emphasizing strength in the trenches.

The Irish also have lots of talented, experienced contributors surrounding multidimensional quarterback Malik Zaire. On defense, I see coordinator Brian VanGorder’s unit making strides in year two behind the play of tackle Sheldon Day and stud linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Aside from establishing some consistency on D, the schedule poses the biggest threat to this bet. There are precious few gimmes, which is normally the case for ND. With the talent on this team, however, I like plus odds on ND hitting double-digit wins.

Kansas under 1.5 (+180)

From the not quite sublime to the ridiculous.

From where I sit, KU has the makings of an all-time bad team in new coach David Beaty’s first season. Predecessor Charlie Weis loaded up on juco recruits, which left the roster lookin’ a mess.

Whatever optimism there might have been for the Jayhawks probably died the day of their spring game when it was announced that senior receiver Rodriguez Coleman and sophomore running back Corey Avery had been suspended indefinitely. Then, incumbent QB Michael Cummings blew out his knee during the game for good measure.

Even the opener against South Dakota State is no sure thing for KU.

Clemson under 8.5 (+130)

The Tigers probably had the top defense in the country a year ago, but the personnel losses on that side of the ball are massive. Six of the team’s top 10 tacklers are gone, including first-round draft picks Vic Beasley and Stephone Anthony.

On O, the biggest loss is coordinator Chad Morris, who took his high-octane attack to SMU. QB Deshaun Watson is a certifiable star, but his injury history casts doubt on his ability to stay on the field for the entire year.

Road games at Louisville, Miami, N.C. State and South Carolina are all losable. On top of that, Notre Dame, Florida State and Georgia Tech visit Death Valley. I can see four losses in that group of seven games.

Arizona State over 8.5 (+130)

The Sun Devils look like a helluva sleeper: Loads of experience on both sides of the ball and a QB in Mike Bercovici who showed promise last year while subbing in for injured starter Taylor Kelly.

The biggest downside of this bet is that the Pac-12 South is loaded. On the plus side, ASU misses Stanford in the scheduling rotation this year and gets Oregon in Tempe on a Thursday night.

Boise State over 9.5 (-110)

Admittedly, this feels like a sucker bet in light of the Broncos’ history. There’s also the matter of replacing Grant Hedrick behind center and bell cow Jay Ajayi. Otherwise, Boise has most of the key pieces back from last year’s Fiesta Bowl winner.

Trips to BYU, Virginia and Utah State aren’t too sweet, but they are easily winnable. I like the Broncos to get to 10 Ws.