Our college football betting handicappers are always keeping a watchful eye on what we can expect on the field, and right now at Bang the Book, we are taking a look at the Top 10 teams that you should be backing and expect to get some value with on the odds to win the BCS.
1: Alabama Crimson Tide (+295) – We just can’t deny that Alabama has the best shot at winning the National Championship this year, and honestly, we think that it’s better than 50/50 that Head Coach Nick Saban continues building his dynasty. The Tide are stacked on both sides of the ball as always, and QB AJ McCarron is probably going to be the type of man that could win the Heisman Trophy this year. Check out this fact, though. Alabama’s two toughest games on paper this year are on the road against Texas A&M and at home against LSU. Both of those games come after bye weeks. There’s no reason to think that the Tide will be anything but 12-0 going into the SEC Championship Game.
2: Ohio State Buckeyes (+625) – The Buckeyes ran the table last year and would have been in the National Championship Game if not for their bowl ban. Though we think that Ohio State is vastly overrated, just look at this schedule. Buffalo, San Diego State, @ Cal, Florida A&M, Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, Iowa, Penn State, @ Purdue, @ Illinois, Indiana, @ Michigan. Is there any way that this team doesn’t go 12-0 going into the Big Ten Championship Game? We know that one loss will be damning to the Buckeyes, but the likelihood that they are going to lose a game is really relatively small, especially over the course of the first two months of the season.
3: Louisville Cardinals (+1500) – Shop around and you’ll find varying prices here on the Cardinals, and you could find as good as 50 to 1 out there! That’s a ridiculous price on a team that is very likely to at least challenge the idea of an undefeated season. Head Coach Charlie Strong has assembled a strong team behind his crown jewel, QB Teddy Bridgewater, who could be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL Draft and a legitimate Heisman Trophy winner as well. The Cardinals have road games against Kentucky, Temple, USF, Connecticut, and Cincinnati this year. Wee. However, Louisville is going to need a lot of help, because any 1-loss team from a major power conference is going to finish in front of it, as sad as that is.
4: Georgia Bulldogs (+2000) – We have to remember that the Dawgs were right on the verge of playing for the BCS National Championship last season. They came up just a few yards shy of getting the job done against Alabama, and with a few more seconds on the clock, perhaps the end result would have been much different. QB Aaron Murray is back, and he is going to have a lot on his side in this one. A loss to Clemson in Week 1 would be bad, but not damning. Alabama is dodged in the regular season, and South Carolina and LSU are both coming Between the Hedges. In fact, there are only three legitimate road games this year against Vandy, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. The schedule works for Head Coach Mark Richt and the gang, and 20 to 1 with this schedule is a great deal.
5: Stanford Cardinal (+2700) – Though we think Oregon has the better team, Stanford might have the better shot to win it all, especially at nearly 30 to 1. The Cardinal get to play the war against the Ducks down on the Farm, and if they win the Pac-12 North, they’ll once again be hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game. Notre Dame also has to come to Palo Alto this year as well. It’s not a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination, but Stanford has built a great program with a rock solid team. If there is a chance to run the table in the Pac-12, the Cardinal are going to be the team to give it a whack with, just because the road is a tad more difficult for Oregon. Remember, we’re not looking for the best teams, but the best value that is there to win it all.
6: Clemson Tigers (+3000) – Why Florida State is getting the nod over Clemson, we have no idea. QB Tajh Boyd and the Tigers get a chance to host the Seminoles in what will likely be a primetime game this year, and FSU is going to be using a freshman quarterback in all likelihood. We know that the Tigers are handicapped by having to play games against both South Carolina and Georgia, the first of which is a legit road game, and the second of which will feel like a legit road game, but aside from that, this schedule isn’t so bad. Going 12-1 and winning the ACC title isn’t out of the question, and though that probably isn’t going to be good enough to play for all of the marbles, we’re only hoping that this 30 to 1 price tag is one that is going to look golden. Remember that an upset of Georgia in Week 1 will send Clemson probably down to around 12 to 1 to win it all in a hurry.
7: Michigan Wolverines (+6500) – The Wolverines probably won’t win it all this year, but they are going to hang around for a while. Their first three games are at home, and their first challenge isn’t going to come until October 12th against Penn State. If that hurdle is passed though, this will be potentially a Top 5 team in the land going into a road game against Michigan State. Games against Nebraska and at Northwestern aren’t easy, but they aren’t definite losses either. Could Big Blue be 11-0 going into a final home game of the year against Ohio State? It’s not likely, but it is at least plausible with QB Devin Gardner running the show.
8: TCU Horned Frogs (+10000) – The Horned Frogs still play outstanding defense, and they have a chance to make a name for themselves right away this year if they can figure out how to beat LSU in the first game of the season. If they do, look out! This team is likely to be 4-0 and ranked in the Top 10 in the country going into a showdown against Oklahoma in Norman, a game that is very winnable. The Big XII is there for the taking. The end result is likely going to be that all of the teams beat each other up, but there is at least a somewhat plausible chance that Head Coach Gary Patterson could have a big season in front of him.
9: Washington Huskies (+15000) – Washington is one of these teams that has been underachieving quite a bit over the course of the last several seasons. QB Keith Price and RB Bishop Sankey could both be stars in the Pac-12. The schedule is tough, especially with those games against Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks, but if one of those games is won, it’s at least possible to think that this is a team that could be in the discussion going into November. If Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is off base in this one and this turns out to be another frustrating 5-7 season, he could be on the way out the door.
10: Northwestern Wildcats (+20000) – Many forget that Northwestern won 10 games last season. It’s tough to think that we could have three teams from the Big 10 on this list, but the schedule looks fairly plausible for them all. If the Wildcats can avoid a first-week trip against Cal on the road, there is a good opportunity to be 4-0 going into a crucial home game against Ohio State. It’s not a likely win by any stretch of the imagination, but it is definitely one of those very tough games that the club at least gets the benefit of playing at home. QB Kain Kolter could turn out to be awesome this year as well, as he is on the Unitas watch list this year.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.