It’s #FUTURESSZN, and what better way to start than analyzing some team win totals that look tasty. This miniseries will look at each of the ten FBS conferences and highlight some especially good-looking team totals. Let’s be honest, Vegas is very sharp, and *most* of the lines are about right. I don’t want to give you an over/under on every team because, frankly, most will be within one game away from the target, and one wrong bounce can lose the bet.
I have sifted through each team and each schedule (with the help of our handy dandy CFF guide) and hand-picked a few that should beat their mark with room to spare. The Mountain West is a top-heavy league heading into 2022, with a clearer hierarchy than some of the other G5 conferences. The class of the Mountain West is the group of Fresno St., Boise St., and Air Force. Perennial bottom dwellers UNLV and New Mexico should remain in their roles. Then there is a middle class of decent programs with major questions. Utah State has to replace a ton of playmakers from an exciting 2021 offense. You have the gutted rosters of Hawai’i, Wyoming, San Jose St., and San Diego St. And, of course, there is the strange case of the Nevada-to-Colorado St. transplantation that happened in the off-season. That middle group has the widest range of outcomes, but for the most part, I am not optimistic. All lines courtesy of Draft Kings sportsbook.
Air Force (2021 record: 10-3) OVER 8.5 wins (-125)
The Falcons from Colorado Springs look to be in for a special season in 2022. After double-digit wins, Air Force returns many key players and will challenge for a Mountain West title. Let’s start with the offensive line, which was a top 20 unit in 2021, and gets back four of those linemen. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels returns for his senior campaign along with top two backs Brad Roberts and DeAndre Hughes.
The reason for this pick is primarily a schedule that lends itself to a lot of dubs in 2022. The only Power 5 opponent is struggling Colorado, who they also get at home. This team can hang with anyone in the conference, and I don’t have Air Force with any definite losses on the slate. They get Boise St. at home, and then the two toughest roadies will be @WYO and @USU. Wyoming is likely in for a down year, but it’s always tough to get a win in Laramie. Avoiding Fresno St. in the regular season is a gift, so I give Air Force OVER 8.5 wins a 4/5 rating.
Fresno St (2021 record: 10-3) OVER 8.5 wins (-140)
I love this line, and the books are assuming plenty of bettors will feel the same with it juiced quite a bit to -140. If you could find a line of nine with better odds, I’d prefer that. I have a hard time imagining a world where a healthy Fresno St. squad doesn’t hit nine regular-season victories. Their coach moved on to Washington, but old friend Jeff Tedford returns after a three-year hiatus due to health concerns. Tedford led Fresno to back-to-back double-digit win seasons before a tough finale in 2019. He gets to reunite with quarterback Jake Haener who was on the 2019 roster, sitting out due to transfer rules. Haener is the best signal caller in the conference, and this offense can simply outscore anyone on their schedule.
Fresno’s conference title hops probably hinge on their road test at Boise St., but otherwise, there are only two games I can see an uncertain outcome. The Bulldogs face two Pac12 teams: home against upstart Oregon St. and Southern Cal in Los Angeles. I think they can win both, but they are still stiff tests. After those games, they should be favored in every other game and cover their win total. If they can steal even one of those Pac12 contests, it will be smooth sailing to the over. I’m confident here and give Fresno St. a 4/5 rating to go OVER 8.5 wins.
San Diego St (2021 record: 12-2) UNDER 7.5 wins (+100)
This may be a bit of a subjective bet, but I really think SDSU overachieved last year with a defense that clicked and stellar special teams. Punt god Matt Araiza is off to the NFL, and SDSU has lost a few members of their strong secondary over the last few graduating classes. Their offense doesn’t look to be going anywhere, so I am banking on disappointing this team after a recent string of good seasons.
The Aztecs start with an interesting matchup against the low-end Power 5 program Arizona on their turf. They might be favored against the Wildcats, but Arizona looks to be on the upswing. They get a brutal date with Utah, then have road games against two of the conference elites, Boise St. and Fresno St. They also have to face Air Force and quality Mid-American team Toledo. This schedule feels rife with land mines, and while I would say SDSU makes a bowl, I am bearish on eight regular season wins. I give this bet a 3.5/5 rating and San Diego State will go UNDER 7.5 wins.