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 Sun Belt has positioned itself to be the class of the Group of Five over the next few years. With the American Athletic Conference losing its elite members, the Sun Belt will be the country’s most impressive collection of non-Power Five teams. The “baby SEC” is geographically situated to collect the best players that don’t make it into the top programs but will need to keep them on campus for a few years to capitalize on their talent. The 2022 season looks like a two-way battle for supremacy between upstart Coastal Carolina and stalwart Appalachian State. Louisiana has the second-best odds to win, but this writer thinks they lost too many players and coaches to challenge the top two teams this year. Georgia State could surprise, but the rest of the league has a lot of parity and will provide some intriguing storylines this year. All lines courtesy of Draft Kings sportsbook.
Coastal Carolina (2021 record: 11-2) OVER 8 wins (+120)
This bet will make me look like the sharpest guy in town or an absolute idiot. I loved this line when it was 8.5, and now it is 8. I can’t understand this number. Sure, CCU has been losing playmakers over the past few seasons, from C.J. Marable to Isaiah Likely, but the constant has been the coaching staff and quarterback Grayson McCall. Running Willy Korn’s unique application of the triple option, the Chanticleers have been mowing over the competition to the tune of a 22-3 record the last two seasons.
An eight-win bar is too low for a team without any likely losses on the schedule. McCall and company will face one FCS opponent and a pseudo-FCS opponent in UMass. They also get their biggest conference foe, Appalachian State, at home. A November road test against Virginia will be difficult, but that’s the only game clearly standing in the way of an undefeated season. I would bet the over if the line was ten wins, so Coastal Carolina OVER 8 wins (at plus money!!!) gets a 5/5 confidence rating.
Old Dominion (2021 record: 6-7) OVER 4.5 wins (+100)
This team sets up as a classic underrated situation. In their first season in FBS, ODU “overachieved,” winning five in a row to close the season and squeaking into a bowl game. While they lost the bowl against Tulsa, this program returns almost all the production on offense. Quarterback Hayden Wolff will get to throw to stars Ali Jennings and Zach Kuntz, all while standing behind four returning protectors on the line. The offensive line was a top-half unit in the NCAA a year ago.
With four likely losses on tap, ODU will need to win 5 of the remaining 8 to cover this number. A quartet of wins over South Alabama, Arkansas State, Liberty, and Georgia Southern almost get the Monarchs home. Finally, they would need only one victory out of roadies at East Carolina and Georgia State or home against Marshall or FCS graduate James Madison. I feel very confident the Monarchs can navigate this schedule and will probably make a bowl game for the second straight year. With a 4/5 rating, I am OVER 4.5 wins for ODU.
Georgia Southern (2021 record: 3-9) UNDER 4.5 wins (-145)
It is wild to me that Georgia Southern has the same line as the previously discussed Old Dominion Monarchs. While I have drafted quite a few Eagles in college fantasy, I don’t think this team is ready to see five wins. In a dramatic overhaul of the offensive scheme, they are transitioning from a full triple option to a spread passing attack in one off-season. Former Southern Cal head coach Clay Helton takes over and should provide some more exciting offensive plays, at least. While turning over a roster with the new transfer portal rules is certainly easier, this should still be viewed as a work in progress.
I don’t see how Georgia Southern can overcome a tough schedule to cover this line. Their out-of-conference matchups start easy enough with FCS team Morgan State. Still, they must go to Nebraska and visit a solid Alabama-Birmingham team before facing quality Mid-American outfit Ball State. I think they will be 1-3 before the Sun Belt schedule starts. They will probably be one of the weaker teams within their conference, and I can’t see a victory on the road at Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, or Louisiana. Perhaps they sneak one across at Old Dominion, but I like the Monarchs. I have trouble finding four wins, and, therefore, will give a confidence rating of 3/5 and go UNDER 4.5 wins for Georgia Southern.
BONUS ROUND – Coastal Carolina conference championship +500
One of my biggest bets this offseason is on the Chanticleers to win the Sun Belt. For the reasons stated above, I love this team to continue its dominance in 2022. They avoid Louisiana in the regular season, and with Appalachian State at home, these odds are too juicy not to take advantage of.