Updated: Jul 11
It’s July, and - while it might not quite seem this way - college football is right around the corner. So with it, what better time to make some bets than… RIGHT NOW.
That’s right, with media days basically here and the season just a few short weeks away, there is no better time to start digging into these teams, schools and conferences.
And no better time to make a few bets.
We are set to start our conference preview editions of the College Football Betting Show with Aaron Torres later this week, but why wait until then to start talking the big teams - as we’ll have written previews to get things going.
And today, we start in the SEC East, where we know Georgia is the favorite - but is their over/under win total the best bet?
Let’s take a look, with odds provided by Betfred Sportsbook:
Odds to win the SEC East (via Betfred Sportsbook):
South Carolina (+1500)
Favorite Over/Under Win Total Bet: Kentucky (OVER 6.5 wins)
Yes, you could argue that Georgia is the “best” over/under win total bet in this division. But sitting at 11.5 wins the price is just too high. And instead, I’m going to go in a different direction here and say my favorite over/under win total is…
The Kentucky Wildcats.
Look, I know last year I was hard on Kentucky, mainly because I didn’t trust Will Levis. This year however it’s the exact opposite - I love the Cats, and it’s largely because it feels like transfer quarterback Devin Leary isn’t getting enough credit going into this season. A season ago Leary was banged up at NC State, but does anyone besides me remember that when he was last healthy?
That season, he was one of the best quarterbacks in college football?
That isn’t hyperbole. In 2021, he finished with 35 touchdowns and just five interceptions, helping NC State to a 9-3 season. That season also included wins over Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina.
Well now he’s headed to Lexington where he’ll be surrounded by a 1,000 yard rusher in Vanderbilt transfer Ray Davis, and the most underrated receiving room in the SEC. For all the “Will Levis didn’t have NFL receivers to throw to” nonsense from draft time, that narrative simply isn’t true. Barrion Brown is a former Top 100 recruit who had 50 catches a year ago, and Dane Key was another true freshman who had 30+ grabs and five touchdown catches. Kentucky has NFL wide receiver talent. It's just young.
As for last year’s legitimately biggest issue - the offensive line - well it got fixed. How about the Wildcats adding four transfers overall, including Ben Christman from Ohio State, Tanner Bowles from Alabama and Cortland Ford from USC. Bluntly, there are worse places to add transfers from than Alabama, Ohio State and Southern Cal.
Then there’s the defense which is always elite (the Wildcats have been Top 25 in the country in four of the last five years) and a schedule which breaks nicely. Two Group of 5 teams and an FCS squad start things off, before a manageable SEC-opening slate at Vanderbilt and Florida at home. The Wildcats have also won three of four against South Carolina, and their last four home games against Missouri, a team that will travel to Lexington this year.
Yuuuuup, I’m buying the Big Blue Kool-Aid. And love the OVER of 6.5 wins.
Second favorite Over/Under Win Total Bet: Vanderbilt (OVER 3.5 wins)
Yuuuuup that’s right - not only am I drinking the Big Blue Kool-Aid. I’m aboard the Vandy Express Baby!!!!
First off, to quote my old buddy JJ Redick: “It’s a math equation f***head” (For those who don’t know, he once called me a “f***head on his podcast. But that’s another conversation for another day).
And that math equation: Last year, in Year 2 under Clark Lea, Vanderbilt finished with five wins. They closed strong with victories over Florida at home and Kentucky on the road in the final month. And now they return a good percentage of their offense, including quarterback AJ Swann (who threw for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his time as a starter), three of his top four receivers, with four starters back on the offensive line.
I like the sound of that.
And while the defense is still a major work in progress, the schedule breaks *very* nicely for the Commodores. They open with Hawaii and Alabama A&M at home, before playing at UNLV in Week 4, under the Rebels first year head coach Barry Odom.
A 3-1 start is realistic.
Do that, and they need one win over their final eight games to hit this over.
I’m riding with the Dores.
I wanna bet it, buuuuut: Georgia (Over/Under 11.5 wins)
Look, we all know that Georgia is the best team in this division, and probably the best team in college football.
You don’t need me to tell you that.
Nor do you need me to tell you about a very manageable schedule, where there just aren’t a lot of landmines. The Dawgs out of conference matchup with Oklahoma was canceled after the Sooners joined the SEC, meaning Georgia’s toughest games are probably at Tennessee and against Ole Miss and Kentucky at home.
Doesn’t exactly scream “muder’s row” to me.
At the same time, it’s hard to just assume that the Bulldogs are a lock to go 12-0, which is what this bet indicates - to bet the over, you have to assume they will win every game on their schedule. This in a year where they are still breaking in a new quarterback (as talented as Carson Beck is), under a new offensive coordinator (Todd Monken is off to the NFL).
Not to mention that Kirby Smart himself talked about complacency creeping into the program after last year’s national championship game, and that this year’s biggest opponent for Georgia would be themselves.
So yeah, am I definitely picking Georgia to lose a game or two in the off-season?
Hellllll no. I think still they’re the best team in the sport, with a freakish combination of raw talent and returning production.
But this is a betting article, and I simply can’t say I’m comfortable betting the over here. I’m certainly not comfortable betting the under.
So instead, I’ll stay away.
I like this team… buuuuut Part II: Tennessee (Over/Under 8.5 wins)
So I’ll admit that when I first dove into Tennessee earlier in the off-season, I assumed the Vols were in line for a major regression. After all, when you have the No. 1 offense in the sport, have maybe the most dynamic quarterback in the sport (Hendon Hooker) and win 10 games, how could you not take a step back?
But then my prep work began and well… I was shocked at how much I like the Vols. They return their top two rushers, three of their top four receivers and a veteran laden defense that was better than you remember from a year ago.
Still, I simply can’t bet on the over for them, for the exact same reason you’re probably thinking: Because I just don’t know what to make of Joe Milton, or what are realistic expectations for him.
Will we get the Joe Milton we saw in the Orange Bowl, who completed 68 percent of his passes with two touchdown throws against Clemson back in January? Or the career 58 percent passer that lost the starting job at Michigan, then came to Tennessee and lost the starting job to Hooker a game and a half into his career.
If we get “Orange Bowl Joe MIlton,” we could be looking at another 10-win season for the Vols, but if we get “Michigan Joe Milton” we could be looking at a 7-5 or 8-4 type season.
There’s just too much certainty and I’m staying away.
Team I’m lower on than most: South Carolina (Over/Under 6.5 wins)
Admittedly, I wasn’t crazy about South Carolina last year. And admittedly, they made me look stupid, rallying to beat Tennessee and Clemson in the final few weeks of the season to finish with an 8-4 record, as one of the genuine surprises in the sport.
So maybe I should be careful saying this about the Gamecocks, but…. I just don’t get the hype.
The bottom line is that while he has a big name and had a good couple weeks to end the season, Spencer Rattler was actually pretty average last year, throwing for 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. And in addition the Gamecocks also lost their best running back (MarShawn Lloyd) to the portal, two of their top three receivers and tight end Jahiem Bell. They also lost their two best edge rushers to transfer as well, and have a rebuilding offensive line.
Add in the fact that it’s a thankless schedule that features out of conference games against vs. North Carolina (and potential Top 5 pick Drake Maye) as well as Clemson, and that’s in addition to an SEC schedule where several of their toss-up games are on the road (at Tennessee, at Texas A&M and at MIzzou) and it’s hard to see this team winning seven games.
Since, in true Torres fashion, this article is going long - here are some quick thoughts on the other two teams in this league:
Florida (Over/Under 5.5 wins)
I believe Billy Napier will eventually get things turned around in Gainesville (his 2024 recruiting class is probably a good indicator of that) and also believe that he inherited a much bigger mess from Dan Mullen than most realize.
But looking at this roster, and this schedule, it’s just hard to find five wins here.
Remember, this was a team that won six games with the No. 3 pick in the draft at quarterback last year, and now replaces him with Graham Mertz (eww). They also have arguably college football’s toughest schedule, with out of conference games against Top 20 opponent Florida State (home) and Utah (on the road in Week 1), with a cross-division game at LSU. Oh, and Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky (a team which has beaten the Gators three of the last five years) in the East.
I believe in Billy Napier, but again, show me the six games that you feel comfortable saying Florida will win.
On this schedule, they don’t exist.
Missouri (Over/Under 6.5 wins)
On the positive side, the defense was much improved last year and the Tigers have a schedule that features five of their first six games in the state of Missouri. The only true road game during that stretch is at Vanderbilt.
On the negative, the offense majorly regressed to the point that Eli Drinkwitz gave up playing calling duties, and we’re not even sure who will be their Week 1 starter at quarterback.
If you feel confident making this bet, fire away.
I’m good though.
For all of your college football betting needs visit the Betfred Sportsbook
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