Best Bets: 2021 CFB Team Win Totals

Photo: Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content Services, LLC

This time last year, we had a lot to talk about in the college football landscape. Whether or not the season would be played, how that playing would work, who wanted to play, and who was going to blink first; it was a chaotic mess. 

This summer is far quieter, and we’re thankful for that. And if you’re like me, you’re also thankful for the opportunity to bet on college football win totals. I’ve got three lines that I like looking at the 2021 season, with a few more I might be willing to take when we get news about starting lineups closer to the Week 0 kickoff. 

For now, take these BetOnline bets and run with them.

Georgia: Over 10.5 wins

I would caution anyone from falling for Georgia hype when it comes to a national championship bid and victory. There are too many hurdles in the way when you consider an opening week bout with Clemson, an SEC championship, and then the two playoff games. I just don’t think Kirby Smart has earned that trust just yet.

But in the regular season? Eleven wins are extremely achievable. Georgia misses Alabama and Texas A&M on the SEC slate this year, so even if it drops the opening week game against Clemson—a game I think they’ll win—it catches first-year coaches at South Carolina, Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee on the brunt of its SEC schedule. Barring a stunning Emory Jones offense in Florida or a similar, lucky hit in Arkansas, Georgia simply doesn’t have a daunting SEC schedule this year. If the Bulldogs do lose that Clemson game and cap out at 11-1, you can be sure they’ll take each match-up seriously, to keep themselves in the playoff conversation.

While 12-0 and 11-1 are our only cashing records, this still feels like a safe bet. Even if Georgia sustains an injury to a key starter, it has absurd depth for the college football level; backup quarterback Stetson Bennett started against Alabama last year, for goodness sake. Georgia is poised this year to endure some attrition and still bring home an 11-win season.

Rutgers: Over 4 wins

Are you ready to back Rutgers? 

The last time the Scarlet Knights won more than four games was back in 2014, their first year in the Big 10. Current head coach Greg Schiano had them winning seven or eight games regularly in the Big East, during his first stint with the team, but since then, it’s been tough for Rutgers to punch at Big 10 weight. But with Schiano back, things are suddenly turning around. Recruiting has picked up and there are sparks on offense. That offense will return all five starters on the offensive line and starting quarterback Noah Vedral, a talented if inconsistent player who finally has continuity after two transfers and struggles holding down a starting job. If Vedral can stay healthy, he and running back Isaih Pacheco form a solid rushing backfield—at least by Rutgers standards.

With an out-of-conference schedule featuring a crumbling Syracuse program, Temple (2.5 projected win total), and FCS program Delaware, Rutgers should have three clean wins before stepping into its Big 10 slate. Then, it’s a matter of grabbing at least two wins from Michigan State, Maryland, and Illinois. The Scarlet Knights get the Spartans and Terps at home, which is nice, but don’t underestimate Rutgers also stealing a bigger game. The team was in every game last season, and play the plucky underdog well.

USC: Under 9 wins

Far be it from me to trust a Clay Helton coached USC team to handle business on a weekly basis. Sure, the Trojans miss Oregon and Washington on the in-conference schedule, so the walk to 10 wins seems easy. But San Jose State is far from a pushover in Week 1, and Notre Dame and BYU are about as tough of opponents as you can find in out-of-conference play.

The wide receiver room looks amazing in USC, but I’m not sold on quarterback Kedon Slovis’ ability to win as a quick-game distributor in Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense—especially behind an offensive line that is returning plenty of starters but struggled for consistent pass protection last season. Meanwhile, the entire core of the defense: defensive tackles Jay Tufele and Marlon Tuipulotu, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV, and safety Talanoa Hufanga are all departed, leaving the Trojans with a pretty significant run-stopping problem.

This line has already dropped to 8.5 at some spots, so get it at nine while you still can. And as always: Do not put your faith in Clay Helton.