Believe it or not, football season is right around the corner.
While the start of NFL training camps is a week away, the college football season will kick off in less than six weeks. With the season so close, it feels like a good time to get a feel for the win totals assigned to teams around the country by the oddsmakers over at BetMGM.
BetMGM has had win totals for the majority of the teams across the country out for a few weeks. More and more focus will be paid to the futures market as we inch closer to the season, so some of these numbers could shift in the coming weeks.
Before the numbers move, let’s take a look at some that caught our eye.
Miami under 9.5
Manny Diaz made two shrewd moves last offseason, bringing in QB D’Eriq King and OC Rhett Lashlee. Miami’s offense in Diaz’s first year was a disaster, but Lashlee utilized King and all of that speed around him quite well in 2020. At the same time, I think Miami’s receiving corps is overrated and the NFL-level talent lost from last year’s defense can’t be overlooked. That’s especially true among the pass-rushers. Not to mention, the Hurricanes ranked in the bottom half of the ACC vs. the run. In 2021, I’m penciling in two losses: Week 1 vs. Alabama and at North Carolina in October. This program has routinely played below its talent level in recent years. To land under 9.5, you just need one disappointing loss.
NC State over 6.5
Other than a 4-8 blip in 2019, NC State has won at least seven games in every season since 2014. Why would that be different in 2021? Like Louisville, NC State is in that group in the ACC Atlantic that always beats up on one another. That means there are winnable games most weeks, though a bunch of NC State’s perceived toss-up games (like Wake Forest, Boston College and Florida State) are on the road this year. However, the Wolfpack have a very navigable non-conference schedule. With Devin Leary back from injury at QB, I can easily envision NC State sliding into that second spot in the Atlantic behind Clemson.
Penn State over 8.5
Penn State had a rare down year under James Franklin in 2020, going 4-5. The Nittany Lions started the year 0-5 with a mix of heartbreaking and ugly losses. But they finished strong and won four straight down the stretch. PSU has a lot of skill on offense and lacks any obvious weaknesses on defense. If Sean Clifford reverts back to the way he played in 2019, nine or 10 wins is well within PSU’s grasps. There's also a level of hunger that comes with a team on the heels of such a disappointing year.
SMU over 6
Sonny Dykes has been a great fit at SMU. The Mustangs are 17-6 combined over the past two seasons and have 18 returning starters back from a very solid 2020 team that went 7-3. Shane Buechele is not one of those returnees, but there are high hopes for Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai at quarterback to pair with an excellent group of skill position players. Other than a trip to TCU, the non-conference slate is a breeze. Drawing UCF and Cincinnati from the AAC East is tough, but there’s a pretty clear path to at least seven wins in this schedule. Frankly, I’d be shocked if SMU didn’t get there.
Tennessee under 6
Tennessee had a miserable 2020 season. The Vols went 3-7 and then fired Jeremy Pruitt amid an embarrassing internal investigation. After three years at UCF, Josh Heupel was brought in to pick up the pieces. UT has some talent, but I have a hard time envisioning this team in a bowl game in 2021. Besides, was anybody really impressed by what Heupel did at UCF? He inherited a team that went undefeated in 2017, and then his teams progressively got worse. Sure, those teams scored a lot of points. But they allowed a lot of points too and were alarmingly undisciplined. That’s not a good recipe in a place as volatile as Knoxville, especially with a lingering NCAA investigation.
Giannis, Bucks close out thrilling NBA Finals
An incredible NBA Finals came to a close in Milwaukee on Wednesday night as the Bucks took down the Phoenix Suns in six games. The Suns took an early 2-0 lead in the series, only for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks to storm back and win four straight. The Bucks closed as 4.5-point favorites at home for Game 6 and came away with a 105-98 victory, thanks to a remarkable 50-point effort from Antetokounmpo, who earned MVP honors.
Antetokounmpo was +450 to win MVP ahead of Game 1. At that point, he was considered doubtful thanks to a knee injury suffered in the Eastern Conference finals. But Antetokounmpo managed to return to the floor and lead the Bucks to their first title since 1971. Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game for the series.
Before Game 3, the Bucks had +375 odds to win the title. Before Game 6, those odds shifted all the way to -400.
A few bettors at BetMGM cashed in in a big way Tuesday night. After the Bucks won Game 3 to cut the Suns' series lead to 2-1, one bettor put down $6,000 on the Bucks to win the series in six at +1000. That bettor won $60,000.
Ahead of Game 6, another bettor wagered $820,000 on the Bucks -200 and won $410,000. On June 21 at the Borgata, another bettor bet $300,000 on the Bucks to win the title at +110. The return there was $330,000.
What's there to bet on Wednesday?
There's a full MLB slate on deck. There are six afternoon games, including three with an opening pitch just after noon ET.
In the nightcap is Game 3 of a four-game series between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants took the first game, but blew a 6-2 lead on Tuesday night, losing 8-6 in walk-off fashion via a three-run homer from Will Smith. The Dodgers, now just a game back of the Giants in the NL West, are the favorite (-185 at BetMGM) on Wednesday night. The Giants, who are 17-11 as road underdogs, are +150.
Aside from MLB, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are underway and will provide an array of options for bettors in the coming weeks. The two sports with the early spotlight are women's soccer and softball. In soccer, there is group stage action throughout the day. In softball, there are four Opening Round games on the schedule. You can bet on all of it at BetMGM.
Additionally, the 3M Open is underway in Minnesota. Dustin Johnson (+750), Louis Oosthuizen (+1400) and Tony Finau (+1400) are the three betting favorites at BetMGM. Johnson has received 8.9% of the bets and 11.6% of the money. Elsewhere, Matthew Wolff has seen his odds jump from +3300 to +2500 and has been popular among bettors. Per BetMGM, Wolff has received 6.5% of the bets and 11.6% of the money.
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