SportsLine reveals top college football Over picks for 2020
The 2020 college football season is set to kick off on Aug. 29 with six games, followed by the first full week of action that runs from Sept. 2-8.
Bettors are looking for value on season win totals, and our proven computer model has found the top Over plays this season. It's also generated projected win totals and championship bets for every team, which you can see here.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $4,000 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also went a sizzling 8-2 on all picks against the spread during Championship Week. Anyone who has followed it has seen HUGE returns, so be sure to see what it has to say before locking in any 2020 college football win totals.
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College Football Top-10 Over Win Totals
1. Ole Miss Over 5.5 Wins (-145 Odds)
2019 Record: 4-8
SportsLine Projection: 7.1-4.9
The Rebels moved on from HC Matt Luke after three mediocre seasons and are bringing Lane Kiffin back to the SEC after three seasons in Boca. Kiffin has a strong history of turning things around in his first season at his new programs. At Tennessee, he took over for an offense that averaged just 17.3 PPG the year prior and upped that number to 29.3 PPG in his lone season. At USC, he took over for Pete Carrol and increased the offensive production from 26.5 PPG to 31.0 PPG. At FAU, he took over for an offense that averaged 26.4 PPG and went 3-9 and increased that to 40.6 PPG and an 11-3 record in year 1.
Ole Miss went just 4-8 last season but returns plenty of talent. Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee are both back at QB which should make for a strong competition. Corral is more of a proficient passer, while Rhys Plumlee rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. RBs Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner rushed for 6.9 and 6.3 YPC, respectively, as Freshmen last season and should only get better. Another WR is going to have to step up behind Elijah Moore, but there is plenty of depth returning at the position, and Temple TE transfer Kenny Yeboah should help as well. The defense was solid for the most part last season, giving up just 26.5 PPG and kept most games close. LB MoMo Sanogo, who led the team in tackles with 112 in 2018 but missed last season with an injury, should be healthy and will provide a big boost. Although the Running Rebels went 4-8 last season, they had two 1-point losses, a 5-point loss, and a 6-point loss.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, our sims have Ole Miss easily taking care of SE Missouri State, Vandy, UCONN, Arkansas, and Georgia Southern. In each of those 5 games, our sims have the Running Rebels winning those games at least 75% of the time. We also have Ole Miss winning 62% of the time at home against rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl and winning 55% of the time in the season opener against Baylor. Even if they only take 1 of those games, there is a good chance that they get to 6 wins, which is over the 5.5 win total.
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2. Ball State Over 6 Wins (-125 Odds)
O/U: 6 Wins
2019 Record: 5-7
SportsLine Projected Record: 6.9-5.1
The Cardinals haven't won more than 5 games since 2014 when they went 10-3, but our sims expect things to change this season. QB Drew Plitt was impressive in his first season as the full-time starting quarterback and finished the season with 24 TDs to just 7 INTs and nearly 3,000 passing yards. The Cardinals also bring back over 2,000 combined rushing yards between Caleb Huntley and Walter Fletcher, and three 500+ yard receivers return as well. The defense struggled at times, especially late in the season, but will bring back a majority of its starters and several 2019 MAC All-Conference selections at LB and in the secondary. The last three losses came by a combined 8 points last season and a few stops could've been the difference between 5 and 8 wins. An extra year of experience could be the biggest difference maker.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, our sims like Ball State in every home game this season (Maine, Wyoming, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Akron, and Eastern Michigan). Besides Wyoming (53%), our sims have the Cardinals at 64% or higher odds in those home games. The sims have the Cardinals as slight favorites to win on the road at both Central Michigan and Toledo, while also competing very closely with Miami Ohio. If Ball State can win at least 5 games at home this season, I like their chances of winning at least 6 games.
3. East Carolina Over 3.5 Wins (+100 Odds)
2019 Record: 4-8
SportsLine Projected Record: 4.5-7.5
After three straight 3-9 seasons, East Carolina finally got to 4 wins, although two of those wins were against FCS teams. Despite their only conference win coming against one of the worst teams in football, UCONN, the Pirates nearly upset Cincinnati and SMU, two of the best teams in the conference. They scored a combined 94 points in those two losses late in the season which gives a lot of hope for what could be a fun offense this season. QB Holton Ahlers threw for 21 TDs and nearly 3400 yards last season as a Sophomore and returns as the starter. The Pirates got very little from the run game but add Arkansas transfer Chase Hayden who should give them a boost, while the top three receivers, CJ Johnson, Blake Proehl, and Tyler Snead, are all back. The offense averaged just 27 PPG last season but 37 PPG over the last 4. With everyone coming back, they could look more like the team they were at the end of the season.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, the sims have ECU as a slight favorite in the home opener against Marshall and a strong favorite over Norfolk State and Georgia State. While ECU is an underdog in the rest of their games according to the sims, if they can manage to win those three games, I like their odds of knocking off one of South Florida, Navy, Tulsa, and Tulane and getting to at least 4 wins.
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4. Utah State Over 5 Wins (+120 Odds)
O/U: 5 Wins
2019 Record: 7-6
SportsLine Projected Record: 6.2-5.8
The Aggies lose Jordan Love to the NFL but looking at his numbers from last season, but despite going in the first round, he didn't light up opposing competition like he should have. Love had a 32/6 TD to INT ratio in 2018 as the Aggies went 11-2, but he had a 20/17 TD to INT ratio last season as the Aggies fell to 7-6. The coaching change from Matt Wells to Gary Anderson could've played a part, but its likely that Love was just trying to do too much with the ball in his hands. His backup, Henry Colombi, has been patiently waiting behind him to take the reins. Colombi has minimal experience but has completed 53 of his 69 career attempts for a 77% completion percentage. Even with an expected drop in production, our sims still like the Aggies to exceed Vegas' mark of 5 wins.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, outside of BYU (29%), Boise State (28%), and Washington (24%), the sims have the Aggies at 40% or higher in the nine other games. Also, out of the 11 FBS games on the schedule, 6 of those teams will have new head coaches. HC Gary Anderson is only entering his second season of his current tenure at Utah State but that will be longer than more than half of his opponents. The over will likely hinge on the play of Colombi, but I like the Aggies odds of winning at 5+ games.
5. Stanford Over 5.5 Wins (-110 Odds)
O/U: 5.5 Wins
2019 Record: 4-8
SportsLine Projected Record: 6.1-5.9
Last year's 4-8 season was Stanford's first losing season since the Cardinal went 5-7 all the way back in 2008. A plethora of early injuries and a tough schedule to begin the year doomed the season from the start. The 8 losses last season make up nearly a quarter of HC David Shaw's career losses at Stanford. Despite going just 4-8 last season, the 5.5 win total set by Vegas seems a little insulting to a David Shaw coached football team.
With QB KJ Costello transferring to Mississippi State, Davis Mills is the clear choice at starting QB. Former top QB recruit, Tanner McKee, is back from a 2-year mission and should provide solid injury insurance. Look for RB Austin Jones to emerge now that Cameron Scarlett is gone, but the offensive line is going to need to be better in order to establish a run game. The OL was a mess last season due to injuries and was forced to start several true Freshmen, but they will get several key players back from injury and should be much better this season. The strength of the offense is at the receiver position where the top 4 players return.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, the sims have Stanford winning 60% or more in games against William & Mary, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State, and Colorado. If the Cardinal could manage to win all 5 of those games, which would all seem like guarantees outside of last year, there is a good chance that they win at least 1 more game on the season. Games against Washington State, BYU, and California are all close to toss ups according to the sims, but I'd expect at least 1 win in those games given that two of them are at home. Stanford's schedule sets up relatively nicely outside of road games at Oregon and Notre Dame, and I like the chances of them winning at least 6 games this season.
6. Syracuse Orange Over 5.5 Wins (-110 Odds)
O/U: 5.5 Wins
2019 Record: 5-7
SportsLine Projected Record: 6.7-5.3
The Orange were hyped up to be one of the best teams in the ACC last season after going 10-3 in 2018, but they never lived up to the hype and finished 5-7. QB Tommy DeVito was inconsistent in his first season as the starting QB despite a 19/5 TD to INT ratio. I wouldn't bet against HC Dino Babers turning things around though, especially with DeVito having more experience Even a 1-win improvement this season puts the Orange over the 5.5 win total set by Vegas.
The defense is a big question mark after allowing 30.7 PPG last season and losing 7 of its top-10 leading tacklers. The defense gave up over 460 yards/game last season which will need to change. The good news is that the secondary returns several starters, including S Andre Cisco who has picked off 12 passes over the last two seasons.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, Syracuse has a very easy nonconference schedule with games against Rutgers, Colgate, Western Michigan, and Liberty. Our computers have Syracuse beating Rutgers in 77% of sims, Colgate in 100% of sims, Liberty in 71% of sims, and Western Michigan in 59% of the sims. The computers also like the Orange in home conference games against Georgia Tech (63%) and NC State (64%), and the only game on the 12-game schedule that the Orange are winning in less than 40% of the sims is against Clemson (5%). The schedule plays out very nicely for Syracuse and 6 wins seems easily attainable.
7. Liberty Over 6.5 Wins (-130 Odds)
O/U: 6.5 Wins
2019 Record: 8-5
SportsLine Projected Record: 7.7-4.3
Liberty loses a ton of production from last season including its QB, top RB, and top WR, but our sims still are heavy on the over even with these losses factored in. The Flames went 8-5 under HC Hugh Freeze and won a bowl game in just the second season since joining the FBS. With one of the easiest schedules in college football, our sims like the Flames to replicate last year's win total.
QB Buckshot Calvert is gone after throwing for 3,663 yards and 28 TDs to just 7 INTs last season. His production will not be easy to replace, but the Flames are likely to have Auburn QB transfer Malik Willis running the show. RB Frankie Hickson and WR Antonio Gandy-Golden will also need to be replaced, but the Flames get back RB Joshua Mack and solid depth at the WR position. The offense and defense each will have to replace their team leaders, but the talent is there to have similar production this season.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, Liberty plays 3 of the worst 6 teams in all of FBS according to our computers (UCONN, UMASS, and Bowling Green), as well as Louisiana Monroe (114th of 130), FIU (100th of 130), and two FCS teams. There are 6 games that our sims give Liberty a 70% chance or higher of winning, while the sims also like the Flames at home vs. FIU (58%) and Southern Miss (57%). If the Flames can win all 6 games that they are expected to win, I like their chances of taking down at least one of either FIU, Southern Miss, or Western Kentucky and getting to 7 wins.
8. Army Over 7 Wins (+130 Odds)
O/U: 7 Wins
2019 Record: 5-8
SportsLine Projected Record: 8.1-3.9
After two straight double-digit wins seasons, Army went just 5-8 last season. 6 of those 8 losses came by single digits, including a heartbreaking loss by three in OT against Michigan. The Black Knights have a very easy schedule this season, and Army responded with an 8-5 season the last time it had a losing season under Jeff Monken.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, the sims give Army a 75% chance or higher to win in 6 games this season (Bucknell, Rice, Princeton, Eastern Michigan, UMASS, and UCONN). Besides a game against Oklahoma in which the sims give Army a 26% chance to win, Army is a toss up in the remaining 5 games. If Army can win the 6 games that we expect them to win, they have a good chance of winning at least 2 of the remaining 6 and surpassing the Vegas mark of 7.
9. Kansas State Over 6 Wins (-140 Odds)
O/U: 6 Wins
2019 Record: 8-5
SportsLine Projected Record: 7.1-4.9
In his first season at Kansas State after an accomplished career at North Dakota State, Chris Klieman led the Wildcats to an 8-4 regular season record. Kansas State even knocked off Oklahoma in a thrilling 48-41 game. Given what Klieman did in his first season in Manhattan, the Vegas over/under of 6 seems a bit low, especially since starting QB Skylar Thompson is back for his third season as a starter.
The biggest questions on offense come at running back and offensive line. The OL lost 4 starters from a unit that PFF ranked 22nd in the country, but I trust that the OL will be fine under Klieman. RBs James Gilbert and Jordon Brown are both gone after spending one season each at KSU as grad transfers, but I think this year's group of Jacardia Wright, Joe Ervin, and Harry Trotter has much more potential. Northern Iowa TE transfer Briley Moore could provide a reliable receiving threat from the tight end position that the Wildcats lacked last season. The defense gave up just 21.4 PPG last season and returns 5 of the top 7 leading tacklers. The interior DL will have to replace several contributors, but the LB group and secondary should be strong this season.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, there is a good chance that KSU can start off 4-0 with wins over Buffalo, North Dakota, Vandy, and West Virginia. The Buffalo game could be dangerous, but the Wildcats have home field advantage. The West Virginia game will be a revenge game after the Mountaineers went to KSU and upset them on the road, but our sims like KState in a close one. The Wildcats play 7 of their 12 games at home this season, including matchups against Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. I think 6 wins should be easily attainable while there is a good chance that they surpass that mark.
10. Florida Atlantic Over 8 Wins (-120 Odds)
O/U: 8 Wins
2019 Record: 11-3
SportsLine Projected Record: 8.8-3.2
FAU brings in former FSU coach Willie Taggart to lead the team after Lane Kiffin bolted for Ole Miss. Taggart went just 9-12 over 2 seasons at FSU but inherits a talented FAU squad that won 11 games last season and faces a relatively easy schedule in the Conference USA.
QB Chris Robison improved his TD to INT ratio from 12/12 as a Freshman to 28/6 last season as a Sophomore. He enters his third season as the starter and should be the best QB in the conference. The Owls will also bring back their top three RBs and add several Power 5 transfers at WR to replace lost production.
Looking at the 2020 schedule, outside of a week 1 matchup against Minnesota, our sims have FAU winning every other game at least 60% of the time. There are a whopping 7 games this season that the sims give FAU a 70% chance or higher (USF, Charlotte, UTSA, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee State, and Stony Brook). FAU's strength of schedule is towards the bottom in all of college football, and I like their chances of winning 8+ games this season.
Other Over Bets
Coastal Carolina Over 4.5 Wins (-135 Odds)
2019 Record: 5-7
2020 Projected Record: 5.7-6.3
Temple Over 5.5 Wins (+100 Odds)
2019 Record: 8-5
2020 Projected Record: 7-5
SMU Over 7 Wins (+120)
2019 Record: 10-3
2020 Projected Record: 8-4
Tulsa Over 4.5 Wins (+105)
2019 Record: 4-8
2020 Projected Record: 5.1-6.9
Cincinnati Over 8.5 Wins (-165)
2019 Record: 11-3
2020 Projected Record: 9-3
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