This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.
Summer is here and it's a perfect time to take a look at some college football futures and identify some early value plays before people buy their college football magazines and place their wagers. Last week I examined the Pac-12 over/unders (linked below) and now I'll round it out with the SEC.
College Football Fantasy Five: Pac-12 Over/Under Win Totals Check-In (7/19)
*BEST BET - Washington Over 8.5 Wins
College Football Fantasy Five: Big Ten Over/Under Win Totals Check-In (7/15)
*BEST BET - Wisconsin Over 9.5 Wins
College Football Fantasy Five: Big 12 Over/Under Win Totals Check-In (7/6)
*BEST BET - Iowa State Over 9.5 Wins & Oklahoma Over 11.0 Wins
College Football Fantasy Five: ACC Over/Under Win Totals Check-In (6/28)
*BEST BET - Georgia Tech Under 5.0 Wins
College Football Fantasy Five: Conference Champion Odds Check-In (6/21)
*BEST BET - Arizona State (+450 to win Pac-12)
College Football Fantasy Five: Heisman Odds Check-In (6/14)
*BEST BET - Iowa State's RB Breece Hall (+4000 or 40/1 to win Heisman)
College Football Fantasy Five: Championship Futures Check-In (6/7)
*BEST BET - Georgia (+800 or 8/1 to Win 2022 Championship)
For these win total articles, I'm going to utilize a similar format where I mention my fade (a team too tough to call), my two best under plays and my two favorite over plays. Odds are subject to change over time.
Let's get into the SEC (doesn't include Oklahoma and Texas yet!) that breaks down as follows with a 12-game schedule:
11.5 - Alabama
10.5 - Georgia
9.5 - Texas A&M
9.0 - Florida
8.0 - LSU
7.5 - Ole Miss
7.0 - Kentucky
7.0 - Missouri
6.5 - Auburn
6.0 - Tennessee
6.0 - Mississippi State
5.5 - Arkansas
3.5 - South Carolina
3.0 - Vanderbilt
FADE ALERT (TOO TOUGH TO CALL)
5.) Texas A&M (9.5 Wins)
Because I make a bold call with the Crimson Tide below (kind of a spoiler even though you don't yet know whether I'm suggesting an under or over!), I'm able to slot in Jimbo Fisher and the Aggie squad here as too tough to call. I'm playing wait and see with Texas A&M as QB Kellen Mond was the career leader in total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions. That's a ton of production to replace for either Haynes King or Zach Calzada. If anyone can get a young QB to do it, it's Jimbo and A&M's defense will be legit as they had the second-best rush defense in the nation while yielding just 92.0 yards per game in 2020. If I had to lean one way, it would be over, but the inexperience at QB has me halting on this team for the 2021 season.
BEST UNDER PLAYS
4.) Arkansas (5.5 Wins)
While the Razorbacks do have 19 returning starters, the schedule is absolutely brutal and they did say farewell to offensive stars Feleipe Franks and Rakeem Boyd. A new potential star in QB KJ Jefferson emerged with four total touchdowns at Mizzou last year and he has a dependable weapon in WR Treylon Burks, however, I still can't see them getting to six wins. Extremely tough games include Texas, Texas A&M (in Arlington, TX), at Georgia, at Ole Miss, at LSU and at Alabama. With what projects to be a less-than-stellar defense, it's pretty safe that this team will stay under the 5.5 wins.
3.) Alabama (11.5 Wins)
I'm probably going to regret this, but betting an undefeated season with what equates to essentially a new offense seems a little crazy. The defense will be top-notch for sure and they will likely have to lean on shutting down other teams. Not only do they welcome a new QB in Bryce Young without Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator (OC), they have to replace Devonta Smith and Najee Harris who both were huge parts of making Mac Jones look so good. Bill O'Brien is the new OC and I'm willing to go out on a limb and say it may take him a little while to find an offensive identity which could be dangerous for a squad playing Miami (in Atlanta) and traveling to Florida in September. I have no doubt they will be a contender by the end of the season, yet I think it's a realistic possibility they drop a game along the way.
BEST OVER PLAYS
2.) Georgia (10.5 Wins)
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise as the Bulldogs were my best bet in the national championship future article. Georgia will open up the season against Clemson and after that, they will be heavily favored in pretty much all of their games. They miss all three of the top teams in the SEC West (Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU) and have a desirable road schedule at Vanderbilt, at Auburn, at Tennessee and at Georgia Tech. Yes, they have to play Florida in Jacksonville in late October, but this Georgia team is more experienced and will have plenty of fans at that game. If they can shock Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina to open the season which I think is a possibility, this is an easy over as Vegas has baked in a loss for the Bulldogs.
1.) LSU (8.0 Wins) *Best Bet
Just two years ago, the Tigers had the best team in the nation and perhaps one of the best collegiate football teams of all time. That was far too high of a standard for last year's team to live up to after losing nearly everyone to the NFL (returned just six starters in 2020) and they were without their top prospect at wide receiver who opted out before the season. They still managed to go 5-5, including a late-season upset at Florida, and were a different team by the end of the 2020 campaign. With 18 returning starters and absolute studs in Kayshon Boutte and Derek Stingley on both sides of the ball, I fully expect this team to be right back in the mix in the SEC and nationally. This is my best bet as you are getting a discount on an extremely talented team due to the mediocre results from last year.