The first full Saturday of the 2023 college football begins on September 2nd with over 60 Division I games taking place. Ahead of the season, the Lineups.com college football crew got together and documented their college football futures best bets, making 2023 season predictions for marquee college football teams such as Penn State, Tennessee, Oregon St and more.
2023 College Football Best Futures Bets
Read on for NCAAF futures odds and best bets along with relevant betting analysis.
CFB Best Bet #1: Penn State o9.5 Wins -150 (BetMGM)
With Drew Allar under center, Olumuyiwa Fashanu at Left Tackle, and Nick Singleton/Kaytron Allen in the backfield, Penn State has arguably their best roster in the James Franklin era. Heading into the season, they are projected to be double digit favorites in all but two games — at Ohio State on Oct. 21 and vs Michigan on Nov. 11. This bet is banking on the fact that Penn State will either take care of business outside of these two games or steal one of these two games, thus affording them a slip-up elsewhere on the schedule. Either way, there is some wiggle room with this number albeit at a juiced price.
Other notable games on the Nittany Lions schedule include playing West Virginia at home to open the season, at Illinois in Week 3, and at home against Iowa in Week 4. It’s worth noting that between the Iowa game in Week 4 and the Ohio State game in Week 8, Penn State’s schedule consists of heading on the road to Northwestern, a bye, and playing UMass at home.
Ultimately, given the strength of this roster, it’s hard to find a 3rd loss on the schedule. In this case, the juice happens to be worth the squeeze at -150 .
Author: Patrick Monnin
CFB Best Bet #2: Tennessee u9 Wins -120 (Caesars)
After failed stints at both Michigan and Tennessee to start his career, Joe Milton makes his return as the starting quarterback for the Volunteers after an incredible year behind Hendon Hooker. Oddsmakers have them not skipping a beat after last year’s success yet I am skeptical as Milton has not provided me any sort of confidence that he can play at an elite rate.
He has major accuracy issues and a tendency to fold under pressure in a collapsing pocket as we have seen in his brief stints as a starting quarterback. Gone are a majority of their receiving yards with a revamped receiving corps and the offensive line graded out well below average in Pass Block.
It’s not just the offense either, the defense will be just as much to blame as they have made zero progress in limiting Explosiveness. Not only failing to cover the big play, but struggling to cover at all as they ranked 103rd in Def Coverage.
Assuming the Volunteers lose to both Georgia and Alabama, that forces them to go a perfect 10-0 in order to burn this. Shop around for ALT markets as I would play this down to u8.5 as I cap them out at 8 wins at best.
Author: Kody Malstrom
CFB Best Bet #3: Oregon State Beavers to win Pac-12 (+1200 at FanDuel)
The Pac-12 is a conference where the unexpected is always what you expect. Why would it be any different in what is likely to be the final season ever for the conference? And wouldn’t it be fitting if one of the teams left standing in the game of conference musical chairs is also the last one standing at the end of the final season?
There are a few reasons to like the chances of Jonathan Smith’s squad writing that storybook script. First is the arrival of former Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei, who will stabilize the Beavers’ QB room and give them a reliable passing attack to balance out their already dominant run game.
Speaking of that running game, the Beavers return 4 of 5 starters along the offensive line as well as their top 2 running backs from last season, sophomore Damien Martinez (982 yards, 6.1 yards per carry) and senior Deshaun Fenwick (553 yards, 4.9 yards per carry).
Another reason to like the Beavers is that their defense that was 2nd in the Pac-12 last season in points and yards allowed per game also remains mostly intact. They shut down Caleb Williams in a 17-14 loss to USC last year, and they could be even better defensively this season.
Finally, their schedule works out nicely for a run at the conference title. They don’t have to play USC and they are at home for other key conference matchups against Utah, UCLA and Washington. It could all come down to a November 24 showdown at Oregon in their final game of the season.
For all those reasons, the Beavers’ chances to win the Pac-12 this season are much better than 12-to-1, so take those +1200 odds as one of the better CFB futures available right now.
Author: Noah Rosenstein
CFB Best Bet #4: Colorado State over 4.5 wins (-150) and to win the Mountain West (+1800 BetRivers)
In head coach Jay Norvell’s second season at Colorado State, I expect significant progression. Most notably, the offensive line should be a whole lot better with three experienced starters added through the transfer portal. The Rams 1allowed 59 sacks last year, the most in the country.
Despite that awful O-line play, Clay Millen set the NCAA freshman record with a 72.2% completion rate. When he had time to throw downfield, he was electric with nine touchdowns to three interceptions and 17 big-time throws to four turnover-worthy plays on passes 20+ yards downfield.
Millen will have weapons with Tory Horton, a future NFL receiver, coming off a 1,131-yard, 8-touchdown season and some supporting players with breakout potential. The boosted O-line should also help the run game, as should the transfer of North Dakota State back Kobe Johnson, who’s coming off a near 1,000 yard season.
The Rams’ defense was stout last year, ranking 42nd against the pass by EPA and 4th in passing explosiveness allowed. With four of five starters returning in the secondary, that should remain steady. The Rams also boast Mohamed Kamara, a standout edge rusher who had 8.5 sacks and 16 TFLs last season.
The schedule is full of benefits for Colorado State. The Rams get to play Boise State, Air Force, and San Diego State all at home – those are their three toughest conference games. I’m comfortable locking in the following wins – vs. Utah Tech, at Utah State, vs. Nevada, and at Hawaii. From there, we just need one more win to hit the over.
However, I see more potential than that for this Rams team that ranked second in Phil Steele’s returning experience metrics. Norvell’s Nevada team went 3-9 in his first year at Nevada before winning 7+ games in four straight seasons (7-2 in COVID-shortened 2020). I expect a similar jump for his Colorado State team this season.
Don’t be surprised if the Rams make noise in 2023. I love their chances in a Mountain West conference that feels wide open and I believe Jay Norvell takes this team bowling in his second season as the head coach.
Author: Jacob Wayne
CFB Best Bet #5: Clemson to make the College Football Playoff (+350, FanDuel)
When it comes to betting on a team just to make the playoff, not necessarily win it, so much of the value comes down to the team’s path. For instance, I view LSU as one of the four best teams in the country, but based on their challenging schedule, the value might not be there. Clemson is in an opposite situation, where they aren’t necessarily one of the four best teams in the country, but are positioned very well to get to that spot in the rankings.
Very importantly, this is a team that doesn’t necessarily need to win their conference to have a shot at a playoff berth, although it would certainly help. They play the two other major schools in the ACC, Florida State and UNC, but they’re fortunate enough to be hosting both of those matchups this year. Their biggest non-conference game is against Notre Dame, who are probably a good bit overrated after bringing in Sam Hartman, and that one is in Death Valley as well.
The biggest factor for Clemson is finishing ahead of Florida State, and doing so with one or zero losses. If they win the regular season matchup at home, they’re in good shape; but there might be a rematch in the ACC Championship, due to the no-division format. Even in a rematch, Clemson’s enormous coaching advantage should be enough to give them the edge in what feels like their thousandth championship game under Dabo Swinney. FSU also has a huge season opener against LSU; a loss there could be the difference between these two teams in the committee’s eyes if the two split the season series, even if FSU wins the conference title.
Author: Will Schwartz