College Football Gambling Preview: Group Of Five

big daddy lane

Welcome. We are 36 days away from college football. That’s 5 weeks (I originally had this as 7 weeks like an absolute idiot) and 1 day. We have 10 conferences to preview (plus independents), so let’s knock out 5 right now. After that, we’ll have one a week and supplement it with other gambling preview content. Let’s make some money this season, fellas.

Top Gambling Plays:

These aren’t official yet (unless noted). At the end of the summer, I’ll have an official win totals/conference championship odds piece. These are ones I am very interested in and wouldn’t bat an eye if I placed now. All odds were taken on 7/20.


UConn under 3.5 (-120)

East Carolina under 3.5 (-170) OFFICIAL

Temple over 6.5 (-110) 

Memphis over 7.5 (-155)

Memphis to win AAC +250 OFFICIAL

Mountain West

Boise State over 9.5 (-120) OFFICIAL 

Wyoming over 6.5 (-110) OFFICIAL

UNLV over 6.5 (+100) 

San Jose State under 2.5 (-115) OFFICIAL

San Diego State +750 to win MWC OFFICIAL


Buffalo over 6.5 (-115)

Miami (OH) over 5.5 (-115) 

NIU over 6.5 (+100)


FAU over 7.5 (-150) OFFICIAL

UTEP under 2.5 (+130) OFFICIAL

Sun Belt:

Georgia State under 4.5 (-110)

Georgia Southern over 5.5 (-130)

Arkansas State over 8.5 (-125) OFFICIAL


aac 2018 preview

It’s fun to make P6 jokes about the AAC. It’s even funnier considering how the AAC commissioner begs and begs for the Power 5 to accept them as a part of the cool kids club. I’m sure all you out there had a kid in high school who just hung around your group of friends, but you never considered him a part of the group. That’s who the AAC is. He’s pretty cool, but just not cool enough.


UCF 2018 preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. UCF (8.5 (-180/+160), +130)

2. Temple (6.5 (-110/-110), +4000)

3. USF (7.5 (-125/+105), +1000)

4. Cincinnati (5.5 (+110/-130), +10000)

5. UConn (3.5 (+100/-120), +30000)

6. East Carolina (3.5 (+150/-170), +50000)

As I mentioned above, the AAC is not a power conference, but they are far and away the best G5 has to offer. If you are a Power 5 team that is planning on firing your coach, a good strategy would be spending all your time watching AAC games in October and November.

UCF (defending champs!!!!!) has an interesting dilemma on their hands heading into the 2018 season. Scott Frost is gone and so is Shaqueem Griffin. The good news is McKenzie Milton returns to lead an offense that may move even faster than they did last year thanks to new coach Josh Heupel. Milton will have a phenomenal wide receiver core and a pair of running backs that will allow the UCF offense to not miss a beat. The problem for UCF will come on defense. Replacing LB Shaqueem Griffin and DB Mike Hughes is going to be tough. UCF still returns the 30th most production on defense in the country. Will they go 12-0 again? It’s possible.

Temple is in year two of Geoff Collins after finishing the 2017 season on a 4-1 run. I expect them to have a big year. I really like their win total of over 6.5. USF is resetting, but should still be a force. Cincinnati is one year away from being a dominant team in this conference. Over the past two recruiting classes, Luke Fickell has recruited the best class in the G5. UConn and East Carolina are both going to stink. I could see UConn winning a random game here and there, anything more than 4 wins should be considered a grand success. East Carolina is going to be so bad. It’s a shame there isn’t a “first head coach fired” wager available for college football because I’d bet Scottie Montgomery.


Memphis Tigers 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. Memphis (7.5 (-155/+135), +250)

2. Houston (7.5 (-105/-115), +200)

3. Navy (7.5 (+120/-140), +1000)

4. SMU (5.5 (-110/-110), +4000)

5. Tulane (4.5 (-145/+125), +4000)

6. Tulsa (4.5 (-115/-105), +10000)

The AAC is a distinct conference because I like the direction every program is going (outside of UConn and East Carolina). All 6 teams in this division are headed in the right direction. Some of the coaches will be poached by bigger schools in the upcoming years, but the AAC is truly a fun conference.

Memphis is still the class of this division. They will have to replace QB Riley Ferguson, but the defense should be better and RB Darrell Henderson should lead an explosive offense. Houston still has Ed Oliver (maybe the best player in college football) and brought in Kendall Briles to save that putrid offense. D’Eriq King will be an above average QB, but will he get any help from his skill guys? Baylor RB transfer Terrance Williams should help.

Navy will be a tough game, as usual, thanks to QB Malcolm Perry. SMU is in year one under Sonny Dykes and could produce a top-20 offense with Ben Hicks. Tulane and Tulsa both have the ability to finish in the top half of this division. The AAC west should be loads of fun.

Mountain West:

moutnain west 2018 preview


Boise State 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. Boise State (9.5 (-120/+100), -200)

2. Wyoming (6.5 (-110/-110), +1500)

3. Utah State (7.5 (+115/-135), +1400)

4. Colorado State (5.5 (-115/-105), +2800)

5. Air Force (4.5 (-130/+110), +3000)

6. New Mexico (4.5 (+145/-165), +5500)

I am in love with Boise State for 2018. If I had to rank G5 teams, I’d put them ahead of UCF. The defense will be elite and Brett Rypien will lead an offense that returns everyone outside of WR Cedrick Wilson.

Wyoming should be better. You may be confused because they lost a 1st-round QB, but here’s a newsflash that many may be confused by: Wyoming losing Josh Allen is irrelevant. Some may say they are in a better spot. Their offense ranked 119th according to S&P+ in 2017. ONE HUNDRED NINTEETH! If a mere-competent QB steps up this season, they will win more than their fair share of games in 2018l.


Utah State is a team I’m high on, while I’m low on the rest of this division. Colorado State will take a step back, along with Air Force and New Mexico.


San Diego State 2018 PReview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. SDSU (8.5 (-115/-105), +750)

2. Fresno State (7.5 (-135/+115), +700)

3. UNLV (6.5 (+100/-120), +2200)

4. Nevada (5.5 (-125/+105), +2200)

5. Hawaii (3.5 (+100/-120), +20000)

6. San Jose State (2.5 (-105/-115), +20000)

San Diego State, San Diego State, San Diego State! Another year, another 1500+ yard rusher. This year it will be Juwan Washington replacing Rashaad Penny who replaced Donnel Pumphrey. QB Christian Chapman is solid as well. Combine that with a Rocky Long coached defense and you have a team that could easily take down everyone on their schedule, including Stanford.

Fresno State had an unbelievable 2017 and could see another run to the MW championship game in 2018 behind the QB-WR combo of Marcus McMaryion and KeeSean Johnson. UNLV will finally return to a bowl this year. Nevada’s offense will show up, but will their defense? Hawaii could be anywhere from 3-9 to 8-4. San Jose State will be awful. Just god awful.


MAC 2018 preview



Ohio graphic 2018 preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds) 
1. Ohio (8.5 (+130/-150), +350)

2. Buffalo (6.5 (-115/-105), +1200)

3. Miami (OH) (5.5 (-115/-105), +600)

4. Bowling Green (4.5 (-105/-115), +4000)

5. Akron (3.5 (-115/-105), +3000)

6. Kent State (2.5 (+120, -140), +10000)

The MAC is an interesting conference. The hierarchy isn’t as clear as other G5 conferences. Teams get hot one year and then end up in the dumpster the next. Akron won this division last year and I’d be shocked if they won it this year. Coaches change left and right and it’s hard to make consistently great coaching hires out of states like Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan.

Ohio is a clear favorite here. Frank Solich and QB Nathan Rourke will be the class of the MAC in 2018. Buffalo has a QB-WR combo of Tyree Jackson and Anthony Johnson that is one of the best in the country. In my mind, they are the top contender to Ohio. Miami (OH) is another team I’m high on, but they are 5-17 in one-possession games since 2013. I really believe Chuck Martin is a better coach than that record indicates and luck will be on his side. Bowling Green has a backfield of QB Jarret Doege and RB Andrew Clair that could be very good in 2018 and tremendous in 2019. The defense is trying out a new defensive coordinator after a disgusting 2017, but there is talent there that could produce a step forward. Akron is going to have a tough 2018, but QB Kato Nelson has all of the potential. Kent State is going under a massive identity shift on offense and defense. 2018 is going to be a long season for them.


Toledo Rockets 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. Toledo (7.5 (-125/+105), +450)

2. NIU (6.5 (+100/-120), +200)

3. EMU (5.5 (-110/-110), +1200)

4. WMU (6.5 (-135/+115), +700)

5. CMU (4.5 (+100/-120), +2500)

6. Ball State (4.5 (+130/-150), +10000)

Toledo is replacing longtime QB Logan Woodside, but the new QB will have a receiver core that s unrivaled in the MAC. The secondary is relatively elite, but the front six will have some issues that could lessen their impact. NIU will not be too far behind Toledo. Sutton Smith is one of the best defensive ends in the country and QB Marcus Childers will lead an offense that returns all of its line. EMU will rebound after a disappointing 2017 with a strong rushing attack and secondary. Their schedule is beautiful as well. Taking them at 18/1 to win the MAC may be worth your time. WMU made a great coaching hire in Tim Lester. They have a schedule where they could anywhere from 5-7 to 10-2. CMU somehow won 8 games last year and will be lucky to see a bowl game in 2018. Ball State is in the basement with Kent State. Mike Neau will have to put something together in 2018 if he wants to stay a head coach.

CUSA (it’s a word, get used to it):

cusa 2018 preview


FAU 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. FAU (7.5 (-150/+130), 4/5)

2. Marshall (8.5 (+100/-120), +350)

3. Middle Tennessee (6.5 (-110/-110), +600)

4. Old Dominion (5.5 (-125/+105), +3000)

5. Western Kentucky (5.5 (-110/-110), +6000)

6. FIU (5.5 (-115/-105), +10000)

7. Charlotte (3.5 (+105, -125), +50000)

The East division in CUSA (I am planning on making this a word, think q-sa) is loaded. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top 6 teams end up making a bowl. Joey Freshwater/Boca Lane’s FAU is the class of the division. RB Devon Singletary is one of the best players in the country. Losing QB Jason Driskel and OC Kendall Briles hurts a bit, but at the end of the day, this is Boca Lane’s offense. Either Chris Robinson (former 4-star QB) or Last Chance U/FSU’s De’Andre Johnson will step into Driskel’s role just fine. The defense was not spectacular last year, but very young, and returns 90% production, so any regression the offense has (it won’t) will be offset by progression by the defense. I would like to book a preseason bet on the Lane Train, but over 9 would be a steep task, even for him. Starting the season in Oklahoma will be tough and then taking on the reigning national champions (UCF, lol) on September 21st may leave them with 2 losses. They will be favored in the other 10 games, but I’m going to have to do a bit more research to see if I want to take them over 9 wins.


Marshall and Middle Tennessee are no joke, either. Marshall has the best chance to take down FAU. The October 20th game in West Virginia should be for the East title (why doesn’t CUSA put this on a Wednesday/Friday night! A standalone game would be big for this conference!). I touched on Old Dominion in best bets. Western Kentucky’s Mike Sanford will need an unexpectedly big year to make sure his seat isn’t mighty hot in 2019. Butch Davis is still coaching, which is hilarious, but he has a talented team at FIU. The Golden Panthers return the 5th least production in the country. Charlotte is sort of a sleeping giant in CUSA, but won’t be of any worth in 2018.


North Texas 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. North Texas (7.5 (-120/+100), +500)

2. UAB (7.5 (+120/-140), +2000)

3. Lousiana Tech (6.5 (-130/+110), +1200)

4. Southern Miss (5.5 (-125/+105), +3000)

5. UTSA (5.5 (+100/-120), +3000)

6. Rice (3.5 (-105/-115), +50000)

7. UTEP  (2.5 (+130/-150), +50000)

Most of you could care less about CUSA (I don’t blame you), but I’m a nerd and this conference fascinates me this season. I touched on how good the East is above and the top teams in the West are not too far behind. I could see any of the top 3 winning this division. UAB, fresh off it’s death sentence by Alabama/Bear Bryant’s ghost (look it up), will build off their magical season in 2018. The Blazers return the 10th most production in the country, I am just a bit concerned with their secondary. QB Mason Fine returns for North Texas and may score 75 points a game. Skip Holtz’s (shout out to Lou, the greathest college football analysth off all thime) Louisiana Tech will look to top both North Texas and UAB (play them in back to back weeks, tough!) to return to the CUSA championship game. Holtz has spent a lot of time at LT and a good season will help his resume to potentially get a shot at a better G5/low-teir P5 school.

Southern Mississippi will have to find a QB if they want to threaten anybody. UTSA, a favorite of mine in 2017, is going under an overhaul, returning the 4th least production in the country. Frank Wilson, a name that was thrown around at a few P5 schools looking for coaches, has recruited incredibly well for the Roadrunners, so he will have the talent. I love the hire of Mike Bloomgren, the former Stanford DC, by Rice. He has first hand experience in dealing with a school with high admission standards and recruiting. His rebuild of Rice will take a few years, but I am excited to see if he can make Rice the Stanford of CUSA. As I mentioned above, UTEP is going to be god awful.


Sun Belt 2018 Preview


App State 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)
1. App State (7.5 (-115/-105), +250)

2. Troy (7.5 (-110/+100), +190)

3. Georgia Southern (5.5 (-130/+110), +1200)

4. Georgia State (4.5 (-110/-110), +3000)

5. Coastal Carolina (3.5 (-120/+100), +10000)

The East division of the Sun Belt is where the most talent resides for the 2018 season. As you can see, I have Appalachian State edging out Troy. Both of these schools are entering a transition phase with two longtime quarterbacks graduating in 2017 (Brandon Silvers and Taylor Lamb). These two teams will meet the weekend of Thanksgiving (11/24) and the Sun Belt East title will most likely be on the line. I give the edge to Appalachian State strictly because of the location of that game in Boone, North Carolina (I also like Eric Church, who went to App State). Both have the weapons on offense to compete, but must require a QB to step up.

The rest of the east is quite boring. Georgia Southern and their triple-option attack should bounce back from a 2-10 season in 2017, as they return 90% of their production.  I am very low on Georgia State this year as you know from me taking them under 5 wins. I will say, Coastal Carolina is a sneaky fun team. Having a Chanticleer as your mascot is almost as absurd as playing on a light blue turf, but not as absurd as being coached by Joe Moglia, who was the CEO of TD Amertirade for 7 years. The Chanticleer’s will have an explosive offense, but I don’t see them getting more than 3-4 wins in 2018.


Arkansas State 2018 Preview

(Win total (over line/under line), conference championship odds)

1. Arkansas State (8.5 (-125/+105), +125)

2. ULM (5.5 (-110/-110), +1200)

3. South Alabama (4.5 (-115/-105), +5000)

4. Louisiana-Lafayette (4.5 (+125/-145), +3000)

5. Texas State (3.5 (+135/-155), +10000)

As I noted in my best bets, Arkansas State is the class of this conference. Former Oklahoma QB Justin Hansen is the best player in the Sun Belt and most of his massive targets return (4 receivers over 6’3). Louisiana-Monroe should continue to improve, as Matt Vitor has done an awesome job for the Warhawks. South Alabama made a phenomenal hire in Steve Campbell from Central Arkansas, and should hop over Louisiana-Lafayette, who may have one of the worst defenses in the country. Texas State remains bad, but they are in year three under Everett Withers, so a move to 4-5 wins must be made or a new coach will be coming to San Marcos.