With three weeks to go before the 2018 college football season, it’s time to start thinking about how to put your sports betting together for the season. While it already seems fairly certain that Alabama, Clemson and maybe Georgia or Ohio State will be back in the College Football Playoff, there is a lot of action to see between now and December. Let’s take a look at ten things we think will happen over the course of the season that will influence your college football betting decisions.
10 Bold Betting Predictions for the 2018 College Football Season
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 8, 2018
Alabama and Georgia will square off for the SEC title again
Did you know that Alabama had five true freshmen playing on offense in their national championship win over Georgia — including the quarterback who came on to play the second half and overtime? Yes, the Crimson Tide lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but their recruiting pipeline is so ridiculous that it won’t matter. Georgia has a lot of senior stars to replace, such as Sony Michel and Nick Chubb in the backfield, but their recruiting was solid as well. The winner of that SEC title game likely takes one of the CFP spots — and the loser could as well, if things shake out like they did last year.
Chip Kelly will make the Pac-12 relevant again
Two of the most exciting quarterbacks to enter the draft — Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Sam Darnold (USC) came from the Pac-12 — but neither of them even got a sniff as far as Heisman Trophy voting went. The conference had a dreadful season, as just USC and Washington hit double digits in wins, and the Pac-12 had just one team (Utah) out of nine representatives win a bowl game. Kelly goes to UCLA needing to find a quarterback and three new starters on the O-line. However, he should bring a jolt to UCLA that raises the game of the rest of the conference.
Scott Frost will have some growing pains at Nebraska…
Frost turned the UCF program completely around in three years. In 2015 the squad went 0-12, and then when he came to town in 2016 they vaulted to 6-7. In his second season, they went 14-0, winning the AAC and beating Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. However, Nebraska will have a true freshman at quarterback in Adrian Martinez, and they have games at Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa, and they host Colorado and Michigan State. Bowl eligibility might be a tall order for the Cornhuskers this year.
…but Nebraska will beat Michigan State
The Spartans have Nebraska a week after they play Ohio State in a huge Big Ten East game. Nebraska will have an assertive front seven and will give MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke enough different looks to confuse him into some mistakes. This is definitely a huge trap game waiting to catch Sparty.
UCF won’t hang another national championship banner this year
Why? Frost took his whole staff — 10 assistants and even the strength and conditioning coach with him. UCF replaced Frost with Josh Heupel, the offensive coordinator who brought some starch to Missouri, and they still have McKenzie Milton at quarterback. However, another unbeaten season seems unrealistic given that level of change.
Kentucky’s Ben Snell will lead the SEC in rushing
Teams load the box against Kentucky because they know the passing game isn’t solid, but Snell has still put together two straight 1,000-yard seasons, and he could crack 1,500 this year if he keeps with his per-carry average and gets more than the 262 attempts he had last year.
Joe Burrow will move the LSU offense
Burrow used a graduate transfer to come down from Ohio State, and he replaces the clunky Danny Etling at the helm of the LSU offense. He won’t have an elite running game, so he’ll have to throw the ball, but he has the arm and there is enough talent in the receiving corps. Can he break Zach Mettenberger’s school record of 22 touchdown passes in a season? We say yes.
Purdue will crack the Top 25
The Brohm brothers still run the Boilermakers, and Purdue fans are excited about the sudden offense that their team showed at times last year. They revamped the Western Kentucky attack into a high-octane offense and are working to do that at Purdue. Jeff Brohm is the head coach, and Brian is the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Expect the Boilermakers to make some noise in that Big Ten East.
Wisconsin rolls to 12-0 and plays for the Big Ten title again
The main pieces are back in Madison, a top offensive line, a terrific tailback, an experienced quarterback and several defensive stars — along with defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. The two tests come at Iowa and at Penn State, but if the Badgers pass those, they’ll be knocking on the door of the CFP again.
Justin Herbert is the Pac-12 player of the year
We’re not buying into the Washington hype — but we do like the buzz around this quarterback just south down the Pacific Coast Highway. Herbert’s numbers were better than those of Washington’s Jake Browning last year, and with first-year Marc Cristobal running things, Herbert has the leadership to bring the Ducks a performance that could see them in the Pac-12 Championship, if not the College Football Playoff.