2016 College Football's Most-Underrated Teams By The Oddsmakers

2016 College Football’s Most-Underrated Teams By The Oddsmakers

Written by on June 1, 2016

Usually, the college football betting lines are at their softest in the offseason and the first couple of weeks at the start of season, which could be the only time all year when bettors can find profitable vulnerabilities to export in the online sportsbooks odds rather than wait for the lines to get sharper as the season goes on. Keeping that in mind, and based on our early assessments of the NCAAF odds, these are the underrated teams that we have an inkling will out-perform their projected 2016 college football lines.

2016 College Football’s Most-Underrated Teams By The Oddsmakers


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Frankly, the Oddsmakers might have something against the Fighting Irish to believe that they will be a bad team in 2016. Looking at their 2015 campaign, the Fighting Irish were two plays away from an undefeated regular season, suffering narrow defeats to Clemson and Stanford. You’d expect that Notre Dame would get more respect after such a season, but instead, they have their 2016 regular season total set below 10 and very long odds to win the 2017 NCAAF Playoffs. With two talented quarterbacks returning to compete for the starting job in Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer, and boatload of talents on both sides of the ball to support the signal-callers, the Irish will be a force to reckon with in the upcoming season. Not to forget, Notre Dame draws Stanford and Michigan State at home this year, with the team’s toughest road game coming at USC. With all these three of those football programs expected to be a bit down this year, the Fighting Irish should be good for OVER 9 wins, possibly with a top-6 or better bowl game at the end of the year.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Yes, the Buckeyes are coming off a disappointing season and Urban Meyer’s squad lost some big-value pieces in offseason, so Ohio State could be challenged in its quest to run the table in the Big Ten. But having Ohio State pegged for 9 wins in the regular season (and behind Michigan in the Big Ten divisional title odds) is a huge under-estimation of this team’s potential. In his four seasons as Ohio State’s head coach, Meyer is yet to lose more than 2 games in any regular season, so the chances of that happening in the upcoming season is highly unlikely. And as far as OSU’s schedule is concerned, the trips to Oklahoma and Michigan State, plus the home tilt against Michigan, stand as the most challenging games. With J.T. Barrett at QB, the Bucks are well-capable of hanging with the either or both Oklahoma and Michigan to steal one win. For the road game vs. Michigan State at East Lansing, I actually see Ohio State emerging victorious. So, in short, as bad as the Bucks will be this season, penciling them for at least 10 wins and a strong challenge for the Big Ten title sounds about right, rather than thinking they will lag far behind the overrated Wolverines.

Miami Hurricanes

At the start of last season, the Hurricanes were among the teams projected to perform highly due to their talent-laden roster. Come mid-way through their season, coach Al Golden lost his job, as he wasn’t able to translate his talents to wins. Now, all the talks in the ACC are focused on Clemson and Florida State, and no one is disputing the talent of the Tigers and Noles. But, surely, the Hurricanes shouldn’t be that far off in the title talks, analytically-speaking. Preliminarily, hiring Mark Richt from Georgia means the Canes will be a better-coached team, especially with a better offense. Meanwhile, signing Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator means Richt will have someone worthy of running the defense properly. Talent-wise, junior quarterback Brad Kaaya has all the physical tools needed to succeed as a starter and the plethora of playmakers and protectors that surround him bodes very well for Miami. If the Hurricanes’ offseason improvements and available talent can pan out positively, be sure that Miami will be up there amongst the most improved teams in the country, most likely with a serious challenge for the Coastal Division title in the ACC.

Boise State Broncos

A number of teams, including Houston and Memphis, have been making strong cases as mid-major programs that deserve better spotlight in the College Football Championship odds over the recent years, and we strongly believe that the Cinderella talks will fill the NCAAF betting discussions this year. One team that warrants such discussions in 2016 is the Broncos, who are coming off a solid season that saw QB Brett Rypien pass for 3353 yards and 20 TDs against just eight interceptions as a freshman in 2015. With better experience and a total of 8 returning starters in the offense, Rypien could be ripe for a bigger season under Boise State’s offense that ranked impressively at No. 15 in offensive yards per game. Meanwhile, the Broncos’ defense (ranked 24th in the nation last year) looks to get better from solid offseason investments. Reaching the top of the Mountain West won’t be easy, no doubt, but if things work out as we expect them to do, this underrated Broncos could find themselves with a divisional title and a possible spot in the prestigious New Year’s Six Bowls.

South Florida Bulls

It’s okay if you don’t know who the Bulls are. I didn’t know much about them either until the end of last season after learning that they finished as the top ATS team in the nation last year with a 10-3 ATS record. Oh, and their SU record wasn’t bad either, as the Bulls overcame a slow start on the season to finish with a decent 8-4 regular-season mark that earned them a spot in the Miami Beach Bowl. Obviously, defending AAC Champion Houston will be hot and trendy conference pick in the upcoming season, but don’t write off a surprising good run by South Florida just yet. The Bulls return with a solid QB-RB combination in quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack. More than that, South Florida also has a strong recruiting class that is bound to fill a number of holes in the team in both the O and D lines. Not playing the Cougars will also help a lot. If South Florida can start the season faster than it did last year, it could lead to a double-digit win total in the regular season and quite possibly an AAC title that would earn them a prestigious bowl game.