Stanford Steve & The Bear Best College Football Bets For 2021 🏈

Wagerallsports

Moderator
Staff member

Stanford Steve and The Bear: College football picks and best bets for 2021​


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"Stanford Steve" Coughlin and Chris "The Bear" Fallica preview the college football season as only they can, offering their top bets, nuggets and totals worth wagering on.

Note: Conference-only win totals from South Point. All other lines from Caesars Sportsbook.


Props​

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Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina Tar Heels to win the Heisman (+1500)​

Fallica: This is a creative way to play North Carolina to win the ACC at better odds than they currently are, or would be, on the money line in a potential ACC championship game versus Clemson. The Tar Heels might be a bit trendy, but the entire O-line is back, Josh Downs is a star in the making at WR, the RB should be fine and the defense will be much improved. UNC might be favored in every game; we'll see how the Notre Dame season/potential line plays out. If UNC is 12-1 and beats Clemson in the ACC championship game, it would mean Howell was a huge reason why, and I would expect him to be the Heisman Trophy front-runner with all the momentum at that point.

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Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati Bearcats to win the Heisman (+6000)​

Stanford Steve: With the opportunity the Cincinnati schedule brings this year -- which includes national TV games at Indiana and at Notre Dame -- I think Ridder has the ability to shine in those contests and become a Heisman favorite. He will be directly tied to the team's success this year, and I think the Bearcats will have a very successful season. Totally worth a shot at that price.

Over/Under bets​

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Penn State Nittany Lions under 9 wins (-140)​

Stanford Steve: I do like the hire of new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, but there is no letup in the schedule. They start the season in Madison, Wisconsin, and also have to go to Iowa and Ohio State. They do get Indiana at home, and the white-out game will be versus Auburn. But when you look at the roster, the lack of depth and experience at QB worries me. I love Sean Clifford -- just love the way he plays with reckless abandon. He's as tough as they come. But now with Will Levis transferring to Kentucky, the Lions don't have a quarterback with one snap of college football experience behind Clifford. Plus, only 11 guys remain on the roster from that great 2018 recruiting class. I love what PSU has coming in for future years, but I'll take under nine wins this year.

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Oregon Ducks over 9 wins (-120)​

Fallica: Even if the Ducks lose in Columbus, Ohio, 9-3 is a worst-case scenario, and I think 10-2 is still very likely. Joe Moorhead will have plenty of weapons at his disposal on the offensive side of the ball. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell will give opposing offenses tons of problems. Maybe the Ducks get tripped up on the road in Seattle or Salt Lake City, but this roster is better than any Pac-12 team they will face.

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Michigan State Spartans under 4.5 wins (+120)​

Fallica: Outside of the Youngstown State and Western Kentucky games, I can't assume a win anywhere for MSU. It's far from a given the Spartans will win at Northwestern, Rutgers or Purdue. And it's far from a given they win at home versus Maryland or Nebraska. Some transfers were brought in to help both the defense and the QB position, but this was a program on the decline prior to 2020, and last year showed how far the talent level has fallen. I can see the Spartans sitting on four wins when they host Maryland, and that would offer an opportunity to figure out how you want to play it.

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California Golden Bears over 6 wins (+100)​

Stanford Steve: When you look at the schedule, I see five guaranteed wins versus Sacramento State, Washington State, Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona. So, between Nevada, USC, at Stanford and at UCLA, the Bears need two wins to hit the over and one win to push. I'll take my chances with those. I do have them losing at Oregon (even though the Ducks were defeated by the Bears last year) and at Washington. The Bears only have to replace four starters. They have been plenty successful when QB Chase Garbers is on the field. And you would have think they will finally rank higher than the 100's in offense under Justin Wilcox. I even see improvement on the defense, with Wilcox's college teammate Peter Sirmon coming into call the signals. It's tough for me to say this, but I expect the Bears to be over .500 this year.

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Boston College Eagles over 7 wins (-155)​

Stanford Steve: There is so much to love about this Chestnut Hill squad this year! First, the schedule: No Notre Dame, no North Carolina and no Miami. The offensive line returns all five. The QB, Phil Jurkovec, looked pretty damn good last year with not having spring ball and barely knowing if he was going to be eligible until right before the season commenced. The Eagles have great talent at the wide receiver position with Zay Flowers along with transfers Jaelen Gill and Alec Sinkfield. Expect a monster season from Jacksonville State TE transfer Trae Barry. I truly trust Jeff Hafley when it comes to defense, and I also love the fact the Eagles went toe-to-toe with Clemson last year. Now the Eagles haven't won eight games since 2009, but I expect nine or 10 victories this year.

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Toledo Rockets over 8.5 wins (-105)​

Stanford Steve: This team returns talent all over the field, including 21 starters. They have a great coach in Jason Candle, and the Rockets have plenty to add to the 35 points per game they averaged last year. The defense has possible NFL players in safety Tycen Anderson, who finished second on the team with 34 tackles last season, and veteran Samuel Womack, who is among the league's top corners. You add to that back-end talent with all-MAC LB Dyontae Johnson, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior who led the Rockets with 47 tackles to go with a sack and 4.5 tackles for loss last season. I expect big things in the Glass Bowl this year!

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Kansas State Wildcats over 5.5 wins (-130)​

Stanford Steve: They have a huge opener, as they host my beloved Stanford Cardinal at Jerry World in Arlington, Texas, but I do expect the Wildcats to win that game. In fact, I expect them to start out 3-0 and then back to reality the next 3 games, against Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Health will be a factor, as people forget that they were undefeated in league play last year. That included a win over Oklahoma for the second straight year. But then-starting QB Skylar Thompson went down with a season-ending injury. Now that injury provided great experience for then-true freshman QB Will Howard, so the Wildcats are way ahead of last year at the QB position. They do return every offensive lineman who started a game last year, and the back end of the schedule has some very winnable games. Big year in Manhattan. We'll take the over!

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UConn Huskies over 2.5 wins (-115)​

Stanford Steve: We will know if this is a winner or loser before Halloween, as the Huskies end the season with games at Clemson, at UCF and hosting Houston at "The Rent". Even though they opted out of the 2020 season, I have to think Randy Edsall can beat Yale, Holy Cross and UMass. That's all we need, those three. Go Huskies!

 

Wagerallsports

Moderator
Staff member

Conference bets​

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Ohio State Buckeyes to win Big Ten (-220); over 8 Big Ten wins; to win CFP (+600)​

Fallica: Michigan hasn't shown it is close to Ohio State in recent years. The Buckeyes get Penn State in Columbus. There's no reason to expect Ohio State to lose more than one conference game, and I'd be shocked if they lost one. The gap between the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten is larger than that of Clemson and the rest of the ACC. This season will again show that. Ohio State is a near certainty to win the Big Ten, and with the best WR tandem in the country, a dynamic RB in TreVeyon Henderson and a defense that should be improved, the Buckeyes are on the very short list of national title contenders and are probably the surest of the five to make the playoff.

Stanford Steve: This team is in its own tier in its conference. I believe the rest of the league is farther away from the Buckeyes in terms of talent than any other favorite in any other conference. Add to that, I get Ryan Day making the decision who plays quarterback and what plays will be called.

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Georgia Bulldogs over 7 SEC wins; to win CFP (+750)​

Fallica: Early-season injuries shouldn't really affect the Bulldogs come SEC play. Georgia doesn't face Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M, and if somehow the Bulldogs go 6-2 in SEC play, there will be a lot of explaining to do in Athens! But I just don't see it. A worst-case situation here is 7-1. While many people are down on the Bulldogs and seemingly "tired" of hearing about them, UGA has one of the best rosters in the country; and once JT Daniels was confident last year, the UGA offense took off. Even if the Bulldogs lose the opener to Clemson, winning the SEC will put them in the playoff. And a win over Clemson could open up the door to putting the Dogs in, even with a loss.

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Florida Gators under 5.5 SEC wins​

Fallica: I don't think the Gators are beating Alabama or Georgia this year, meaning 6-2 is their ceiling in a season with a ton of turnover on their roster. And to reach 6-2, they'll likely have to win road games versus LSU, Missouri and Kentucky.

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Tennessee Volunteers under 3 SEC wins​

Fallica: There aren't many -- if any -- teams that were depleted by the transfer portal like the Vols. New coach Josh Heupel has his work cut out for him in year one; the Vols should beat South Carolina and Vanderbilt, but after that, it's hard to make a strong case for a third SEC win.

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Vanderbilt Commodores under 1.5 SEC wins​

Fallica: The Commodores have a QB to work with, but the defense has completely bottomed out. Clark Lea will have a hard time getting this team to be competitive right off the bat, as they visit South Carolina, and the game with Tennessee is also likely to be a loss.

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USC Trojans under 7 Pac-12 wins​

Fallica: Southern California was one of the more fortunate teams in the country last year and probably should have lost to Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA. The name will always generate an edge to those who want to fade USC. If the Trojans go 8-1 or 9-0 in the Pac-12 to beat me, fine, but I think 7-2 is pretty much the ceiling for them, and a push is the worst-case scenario.

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Utah Utes to win the Pac-12 South​

Stanford Steve: Having a quarterback competition is never a bad thing. Plus, when you look at the division, there is not a clear-cut favorite in my eyes. The schedule sets up well, with the Utes' toughest road game being against USC and playing only one other away game in the division, at Tucson, Arizona. Also, I get Kyle Whittingham and his experience at the helm.

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Kansas Jayhawks under 1 Big 12 win​

Fallica: The Jayhawks are 5-84 in Big 12 play over the past 10 years. This is pretty much a freeroll on KU going winless in the league. The Jayhawks aren't winning two games, considering that they should be roughly a two-touchdown home 'dog to both K-State and Texas Tech, and those are their most "winnable" games. Worst-case scenario? They pull one shocker in Lance Leipold's first season and we push.

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Temple Owls under 1.5 AAC wins​

Fallica: I think the recent run of coaching turnover has finally taken its toll at Temple. The Owls get their most winnable AAC games -- ECU and USF -- on the road, and they nearly lost to a bad USF team last season. The defense isn't very good, and we'll have to see if the drop in competition helps QB D'Wan Mathis, who looked lost last year at Georgia.

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Northern Illinois Huskies under 2 MAC wins; under 3.5 overall wins (+125)​

Fallica: NIU gets another of the MAC bottom-feeders (Bowling Green) at home. But even if the Huskies beat the Falcons, it's hard seeing the Huskies get to two or three wins, being that some of the better teams in the league (WMU, Ball State) visit DeKalb. Even playing the game on its home field won't help NIU much here. The overall win total appears headed toward under 3.5. There's a good chance NIU is 1-3 after nonconference play, and as I mentioned, finding three MAC wins with that defense likely isn't happening for NIU.

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UL Monroe Warhawks under 1.5 Sun Belt wins​

Fallica: This is a team that had one game decided by fewer than 18 points a year ago. The offense is searching for a QB -- maybe it will be OC Rich Rodriguez' son Rhett Rodriguez. The two-deep is littered with freshman and sophomore starters. Even if help arrives from the transfer portal, this is a full reboot in year zero under new coach Terry Bowden.

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Georgia State Panthers to win Sun Belt (+3000)​


Fallica: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and Louisiana are the top three choices in the Sun Belt, and that makes complete sense. But Georgia State makes a lot of sense as a long shot play to win the league. Last year, the Panthers lost in overtime to Louisiana and fell at Appalachian State 17-13. Yes, the Panthers were blown out by Coastal Carolina, but that might be a motivating factor this season when they meet in Conway, South Carolina. With the entire offense back, one could do a lot worse than a small play on Georgia State.

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Florida Atlantic Owls to win C-USA (+1200)​

Fallica: Most tend to give UAB the edge in Conference USA, but FAU isn't the worst stab at a bit of a price. Willie Taggart went to the transfer portal to address the QB issue, and Mike Stoops was brought in to lead a defense that was top 10 in the country last year in scoring. The Owls get Marshall at home, and I think they have an excellent chance to find themselves in the C-USA title game.
 
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