College football is nearly here with week 0 now just days away. We’re getting closer and closer to real game action, which means real game bets, but first, we’ve got to lock up the last of our future bets. Monday we dove into the Heisman odds and best bets, and today I’ll dive into my favorite future bets for the 2022 college football season. All odds are provided by DraftKings, the official odds provider of Bucky’s 5th Quarter. Enjoy, and I hope you find some winners you like here!
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Pitt Panthers to win ACC Coastal Division (+270)
The Pitt Panthers had an incredible season in 2021 with an ACC Title, a Heisman finalist in Kenny Pickett, and a Biletnikoff winner in Jordan Addison. This year, things will look just a bit different as Pickett is off to the NFL, and Addison is headed for USC. Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple also departed for Nebraska. That said, Head Coach Pat Narduzzi is looking to build on the 11-3 season despite the changes.
While the offense will look different Pitt does return three of their four leading rushers and will have an offensive line made up of all seniors with experience. Quarterback will be manned by USC transfer Kedon Slovis, and while I don't expect him to be Kenny Pickett, I do expect him to be a capable quarterback in this offense. On the other side, Pitt still excels. They return one of the top defensive lines in the country after leading the ACC in rushing yards allowed last season. Last year's secondary was not up to Pitt standards, so that will be the key area to watch for this.
What I really think Pitt has going for it though, is the conference schedule. In their Atlantic crossover games, they get Syracuse and Louisville and avoid the likes of Clemson and NC State. Miami, the other main coastal contender, draws a road trip to Clemson. That could give Pitt a leg up in the race. They do travel to Miami to finish the season, likely where this division comes down to. Overall, I think the value on Pitt is pretty solid here at +270 for the division in the final season of the Coastal.
TCU Horned Frogs to win the Big 12 (+1200)
A bit more of a value play here, but I think this ticket does have some legs that could bring it to cash. First, let's look at the rest of the Big 12. Oklahoma is the favorite at +190, but the Sooners are in the first year of entirely new staff. Texas, the second best in terms of odds, has a ton of hype but I don’t see it being any different than any other Texas team on the defensive side of the ball. Baylor, the defending champ, lost a ton at the skill positions and multiple players on the offensive line. If there's a conference that a long shot could win, it’s this one.
TCU is also under a new coaching staff with Sonny Dykes and that should greatly improve an offense that returns over 70% of its production from a season ago. However, what I love most was the hire Dykes made with defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie. Gillespie comes over from Tulsa where year in and year out he produced quality defenses with much lesser talent than what TCU brings in.
Lastly, I like the schedule set up for them. They host Oklahoma early as both programs try to get going. They also host Oklahoma State. They do have to travel to Texas and Baylor in back-to-back weeks, but that isn't until November. Hopefully, TCU is clicking by then while one of the others is falling apart. With +1200 as the odds, I feel like this has some really good value to it. Remember, the Big 12 takes the top two so they just need to finish even 2nd to get in the title game, and then you’ve got a great shot to either hedge out or let this ride.
Utah Utes to win the PAC-12 (+240)
This isn’t really a bold pick, but I think getting plus money on Utah is a great value play. They’re the best team in the conference and they aren’t even the favorite. USC has gotten all the glam and hype here and while the Trojans HAVE brought in a ton of superstars on offense, they didn't really do much to shore up a pretty poor defense. Lincoln Reilly and Company will score points, but I don't see the defense being any better.
Additionally, Utah returns a ton from their 10-4 Rose Bowl team including quarterback Cam Rising. When Rising took over last season the Utes become a completely different team winning 9 games before choking away a Rose Bowl victory. 1,000-yard rusher Tavion Thomas is back, as are 4 of the top 5 pass catchers and plenty of experienced players on the line. Defensively, Utah is Utah. They have a ton of talent in the trenches, and the secondary is home to All-PAC 12 corner JaTravis Broughton who is coming back from injury last season.
Looking at the schedule, Utah does play some tough games but I think they are far better than most teams in the conference. Most importantly, they host USC. They travel to Eugene to take on Oregon but this team beat Oregon TWICE in three weeks last season outscoring them 76-17 in those two games. Additionally, the PAC 12 scrapped divisions for this season so Utah just needs to finish in the top two in this conference to get to the title game. Plus money on that is a big win here.
NC State (+750) to win ACC: I like Pitt in the Coastal but this is great value out of the Atlantic. The Wolfpack return so much including quarterback Devin Leary.
UCF Knights (+300) to win the AAC: They host Cincinnati, who I expect to be down, and SMU. They avoid Houston as well. I like what the Knights have here, especially on defense.
UTEP Miners (+2000) to win C-USA: Worth a flyer, they return the entire front seven from their top 50 defense last year.
Toledo Rockets (+340) to win the MAC: Best team on paper, bad luck last year, I think this year they get it done.
Air Force Falcons (+400) to win the Mountain West: The Falcons bring back nearly everything and should be one of the best G5 teams in the nation.
Texas A&M (+1800) to win SEC: I don't see this happening, but it's a worthy flyer if someone else is going to win outside of Bama and Georgia.