The six best CFB win-total bets

Using a projection system to determine the best over and under bets

Updated: July 30, 2014, 1:09 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | ESPN Insider

Jake BrendelRic Tapia/Icon SMISome expect the Bruins to be a playoff contender. Our projection model isn't as optimistic.

Most books across Las Vegas have released college football win-total betting lines, which serve as a strong indicator of the level of success that power programs are expected to achieve in the upcoming season. The favorites in the College Football Playoff race, according to the Las Vegas Hotel SuperBook, are the Florida State Seminoles, Alabama Crimson Tide, Oregon Ducks, Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes. Each program has a regular-season win-total line of at least 10.5 wins. Our drive-based FEI projections agree with Vegas' projections. Those five programs are the contenders we project as most likely to go 10-2 or better this fall.

Our projections don't line up with the LVH across the board, however. The FEI model takes both offensive and defensive efficiency into account in order to calculate the likelihood of victory for each game. The combination of those individual game win likelihoods gives us a regular-season win-projection target for each team.

We compared those FEI projections to the LVH lines to find which teams were the best bets to outperform and underperform season win total expectations in 2014.


Over picks

Iowa Hawkeyes

LVH win total: 8.0 wins
FEI projection: 9.1 wins (plus-1.1)

The Hawkeyes topped our list last week of the teams that may benefit most from a weak schedule this season. That's the primary reason they are at the top of this list, as well. Iowa won't play either of the Big Ten East Division heavyweights -- Ohio State and Michigan State -- and will play the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers, the top West Division contenders, at home.

Iowa will have at least a 70 percent win likelihood in nine games this fall, according to our model, and it has an 86 percent chance of earning at least a split against the Badgers and Cornhuskers.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com