2023 College Football win total odds, predictions; best bets for Colorado, Alabama, Stanford
Last week I gave you some of my favorite Over season win total bets in college football. This week I’m back with some Unders that I’m hammering early.
I usually study spring scrimmage performances, consider what teams lost stars to the NFL and examine upcoming schedules to determine if I want to throw some early money down on teams.
In this post, let’s take a look at how I think Deion Sanders’ Colorado squad, Nick Saban’s powerhouse Crimson Tide team and a new era starting at Stanford will fare this season.
Let’s dive into my picks.
Colorado: Under 3.5 wins
Call me crazy, but I’m fading the Colorado hype and taking the squad to go under their season win total.
The Buffaloes were 1-11 last season, and outside their 20-13 overtime win against Cal, they did not keep any game close. Overall, the team had one of the worst rosters in the sport.
When Deion Sanders was hired in December, he promised roster overhaul, and the Colorado staff delivered on its promise. The Buffaloes have had 71 players transfer during the 2022-23 transfer portal cycle, with 47 of those players entering the portal just this spring.
To fill those roster spots, Deion brought in a high school recruiting class and a whole roster of portal players, including his son Shedeur at quarterback and Travis Hunter, an elite football talent from Jackson State.
But, a quick glance at their depth chart, which is ever-evolving and not set in stone, shows only four players in the starting 22 who were on the roster last season. That’s a whole bunch of new talent and new personalities to pair with a new staff. It’s never been done on this scale before.
Deion Sanders brings record-breaking numbers for spring game
Joel Klatt talked about Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes selling out their first spring game.
Colorado fans will point to USC’s 2022 season as a blueprint for success. USC was 4-8 in 2021 after firing Clay Helton early in the season. The Trojans then hired Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma, used the portal to improve the roster and went 11-3 in his first season in Los Angeles.
However, there are differences between USC’s rebuild and Colorado’s. For starters, Riley took his Sooners to three College Football Playoff appearances. He’s an established Power 5 coach. As much as I love Deion, he is not on the same level, at least not currently.
I have high hopes for “Prime Time”. He was excellent at Jackson State, but he’s not coached at this type of level before. The Pac-12 Conference is loaded with outstanding coaches and quarterbacks this season, making Colorado’s quick ascent tougher.
USC’s transfer portal additions were also top notch. First, they picked up Caleb Williams, the eventual Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. The Trojans then brought in Travis Dye, who led the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards the previous season. USC snagged 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison from Pitt and Mario Williams from Oklahoma to catch passes. These are high-level names, who were able to come in and have a huge impact right away.
Another important note here, but the Trojans had the foundation of their Joe Moore Award semifinalist offensive line and their best pass rusher already on the roster (Tuli Tuipulotu) when Riley got there.
Colorado has needed the portal to find three of five offensive linemen and its entire defensive line. I need to see it all come together before I believe the hype.
Colorado’s schedule in 2023 is also far different than USC’s schedule in 2022. The Trojans played three ranked teams last season, with Oregon State being a fourth who was ranked by the end of the season. As it stands, the Buffaloes will face at least six ranked teams.
A quick glance at their schedule shows only two games where Colorado will be the favorite — a Week 3 home matchup against Colorado State, then a game against the Stanford Cardinal four weeks later. Colorado has winnable games against both Arizona schools, but those are 50-50 games.
Other than those four games, the Buffaloes will need to pull major upsets to win. The team starts at TCU, then hosts Nebraska and Colorado State. A trip to Oregon followed by USC in Boulder could have them starting at 1-4. Colorado also has trips to UCLA, Washington State and Utah on the schedule, and Oregon State is the Buffaloes’ homecoming game.
It’s a tough schedule for a new roster in a conference that could see five teams win 10 games again. There’s a reason Vegas has set their win total at 3.5. I’m taking the Under.
PICK: Colorado Under 3.5 wins
Alabama: Under 10.5 wins
Yes, I’m doing it. I’m fading Alabama this season.
After years of championships, the Crimson Tide looked the most vulnerable last season since Nick Saban’s first year in 2007. Alabama had three wins by six points or fewer, plus losses to Tennessee and LSU.
Alabama has had a talent drain after all the years of sending everyone to the NFL, and the quarterback options for 2023 do not inspire confidence. The Tide’s offensive line has taken a step back, and while they still have among the best skill talent in the country, they’re just not as good.
Defensively, the Tide had their worst season in quite a while when facing competent offenses. Again, Alabama isn’t a bum team now, but it just isn’t as good as in previous seasons. The Tide play in the toughest conference in the country, and once again, the team has questions at quarterback.
I’m taking the Under.
PICK: Alabama Under 10.5 wins
Stanford: Under 3 wins
This is one wager where my knowledge and wagering success with the Pac-12 Conference will need to be trusted.
Stanford was 3-9 last season with five players drafted, including the team’s quarterback and two defensive backs. The Cardinals were 1-8 in the conference, with just one conference loss by fewer than seven points.
It was Stanford’s third straight full season having four wins or fewer (2020 COVID year not included), prompting longtime coach David Shaw to resign.
Stanford hired Sacramento State’s Troy Taylor, a three-time Big Sky Conference champion. Taylor was an outstanding choice for what the Cardinal could hire. However, and not the fault of Taylor, their roster is in bad shape. Yikes.
Unlike the rest of Power 5 football, Stanford is limited in its ability to admit transfer portal athletes. The team was able to grab only four players in the portal, including two from the Ivy League. The roster is full of holes after the NFL Draft plus the players who left via the portal.
There are options at quarterback, but none are fantastic. The Cardinal have an above-average tight end but returns only 37 receptions at wide receiver and a bunch of average-at-best running backs. On defense, there’s hope a scheme change and some maturity can make this squad better than last season.
Stanford’s schedule is always tough, with Notre Dame being one of its non-conference games. One big note, but the Cardinal will not be a favorite in any conference game this season. Stanford starts non-conference play with a game at Hawaii and a home contest against Taylor’s old Hornets squad — those are likely wins.
But that is where the winning stops. The team has to travel to USC, Colorado, Washington State and Oregon State. Stanford will host Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Cal. I just don’t see where the wins will come from.
The conference has seen a team finish with two or fewer wins in four of the past five full seasons. The Cardinal will be that team this season.
PICK: Stanford Under 3 wins
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GeoffSchwartz.
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