The States' NCAA College Football is back, and this year it's early than many diehard fans would expect. Thanks to some tinkering with the schedule, the NCAA football season will have what some have termed a ‘soft’ kick-off on August 26, with five teams going at it before the big hitters get underway the following week.
Naturally, as is the case when any new season gets underway, expectations are high and the odds are stacked in a variety of ways. With all that in mind, it's never too earlier to start taking bets on the Heisman (MVP), the championship race and the biggest matchups. Check out this guide for expert tips on betting all these major NCAA football markets with the biggest and best bookmakers online!
As ever, talks of outright bets are hot on everyone's lips and, this season, Alabama currently leads the latest lines. Over at NetBet, the team known as Crimson Tide is 15/4 to clinch the 2017/2018 NCAAF title. Having made the national finals for the past two years, the team from Alabama is arguably the strongest overall side in the mix this year and preseason doesn't appear to have changed that fact.
Despite keeping his cards close to his chest, Coach Saban's press conference following the final scrimmages before his side's showdown with Florida on September 2 didn't reveal any shocks. Indeed, for a team that went 13-0 through 2016, Saban didn't have much to change and it seems as though minor tweaks were the order of the day heading into the new season.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has upped his passing game in the offseason which, according to Saban, is something he needed to do. This, combined with his ability to scramble, has made him a more complete player and one to watch in the coming weeks. Beyond this, emerging talents such as Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones have apparently been progressing ‘nicely’ and should help bring some depth to the squad.
By all accounts, it looks as though it's going to be much of the same for Alabama this season and that would seem to justify the odds. Indeed, if Crimson Tide can make waves on September 2 and trot out comfortable winners against Seminole as the odds makers at NetBet predict (4/5 with a -7 spread), it could set up the team's whole season very nicely indeed (here's a little more on spread betting for those unfamiliar).
Of course, it's not going to be all Alabama this season. In fact, if you're an NCAA football fan with an eye on some value, there's plenty of potential away from the betting favourites. At 100/1 with NetBet, Ole Miss' might not pick up many fan's votes for national success this season, but it could offer some value.
Coach Hugh Freeze's illicit liaisons with women of the night may have dominated the offseason headlines, but with Matt Luke stepping in as interim coach, the Rebels could do some damage. Indeed, according to the states, the Mississippi Rebels team has gone 13-6 against the spread when it’s taken points thanks to Freeze's tactics.
Despite his departure, Luke will likely chart a very similar course with the help of veteran quarterback Shea Patterson and new offensive coordinator, Phil Longo. Naturally, national success is a stretch, but individual game wins against the odds could be possible. With everyone focusing on the team's external issues, few seem to have noticed that the side will remain virtually the same without Freeze.
If this proves to be the case, the betting lines could be slightly off ahead of the new season and that's the perfect time for canny punters to strike. 50/59 with a -24 spread against the South Alabama Jaguars on September 3 could be the sort of value you should be looking for as the season develops. Also be sure you fully understand moneyline bets before embracing the markets.
Away from the teams to watch out for this season, players will be a source of entertainment and potential profit too. Cam Akers could certainly be one of the freshmen to watch this season. With 31 touchdowns and 3,128 yards on the road to Clinton High's first state title last season, he's more than capable of making an impact at college level in his first season.
LSU's K'Lavon Chaisson has reportedly been ‘dominant’ in preseason and his 15.5 sacks during his senior high school year show a tenacity LSU could well utilise this season. As promising as those freshman may be, the fight for the coveted Heisman Trophy already looks to be halfway won at this point. NetBet has Sam Darnold as the 16/5 favourite ahead of Lamar Jackson (13/2) and Baker Mayfield (7/1).
With 246 completions, 3,086 yards and an adjusted quarterback rating of 86.2 courtesy of ESPN in 2016, few look more accomplished than Darnold. Now a sophomore and looking sharper than ever, he's easily one of the more solid bets this season. Of course, as we've often seen in NCAA Football, anything can happen.
Even though consistency suggests that the current favourites will pick up where they left off last season, there will be plenty of ups and downs throughout the coming weeks and months. Fortunately, if you take a tour of NetBet's NCAA football markets, you'll get instant access to all the latest odds and stats so you can make the most of US college football, regardless of which side of the pond you live on!