College football talking season cranked up a couple notches earlier than usual when DraftKings unveiled win totals for each team in late May. The sportsbook set the opening line for Kentucky at 6.5. While the odds for over bettors weren’t great (-152), it was a good indication of how national pundits will perceive Mark Stoops’ football team entering the 2021 football season.
Chris Fallica, better known as The Bear on ESPN’s College Gameday, has become the preeminent voice of college football gambling. Last week he joined Ralph Russo on the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast to share a handful of his favorite win total bets for both the over and the under. The Bear’s favorite over win-total bet is Kentucky over 6.5 wins.
“This is a Kentucky team that I think people just continue to doubt Mark Stoops and think that, ‘Oh, it’s an aberration. There’s no way he’s going to continue to have first round pass rushers on defense every year. He’s not going to continue winning bowl games.’ But somehow Mark Stoops continues to do that. Now you’ve got Liam Coen coming in at offensive coordinator. The Penn State transfer Will Levis is probably going to be the quarterback. There’s a bunch of transfers — Wan’Dale Robinson from Nebraska is in there as well,” said Fallica.
When placing season-long wagers, bettors have to think on a macro-level, breaking down the schedule into likely wins and likely losses. The schedule sets up well for the Cats at the beginning and end of the 2021 season.
“You look at the schedule, the final three games of the year and the first three games of the year I think are wins. UL-Monroe, Missouri and Chattanooga to open the year at home, and then they have Vandy, New Mexico and Louisville to finish the year,” said The Bear.
“That doesn’t even include Tennessee at home. Who knows what you’re going to get from Mississippi State this year. They’re another team that what we saw last year was completely week-to-week and an unbelievable situation. That doesn’t include a game at South Carolina where we’ll see what Shane Beamer is able to do in year one. And then they have Florida and LSU at home. So like, I think seven wins is bare minimum for Kentucky this year. This is probably closer to an 8-4 type team. I’ve seen some rose-colored viewpoints maybe thinking 10-2 might be a possibility for Kentucky. I think that’s a little extreme, but I expect at least 7-5 and most likely 8-4 for the Cats this year.”
The SEC East is breaking in three new coaches, giving Kentucky an opportunity to kick them while they’re down. The Bear is taking the under for two of UK’s opponents, Louisville and Tennessee. Those games are a long way away, but he already has a W for Kentucky in each of those rivalry contests.
You don’t win football games in June. Even so, it’s nice to hear that not everyone is doubting Mark Stoops entering his ninth season in Lexington.