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Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy hands off to running back Kene Nwangwu during practice on Aug. 2 (Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy hands off to running back Kene Nwangwu during practice on Aug. 2 (Charlie Neibergall)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Kern picks Over/Under Win Totals for Army, Iowa State, Memphis, Michigan and Utah

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Has the start of another college football season finally arrived? It’s my favorite time of the year, and favorite sport, since I covered it for nearly three decades. And each week I tried to pick as many winners as possible in the contest we ran in the Philadelphia Daily News. Sometimes I actually did pretty well. So we’ll try to do the same here.

Today we’re going to look at some future bets, as far as Over/Under Win Totals are concerned. They’re usually fun to take a stab at, and it can give you something to follow/root for the entire way. And maybe even turn out the right way. Like when I took the bet with the Super Bowl props (at I believe around 6-1) that Rob Gronkowski would be retired when this season started. And yes, I am still waiting for it to hopefully pay off, but unless something real dramatic and unexpected happens in the next week or so, it will go down as a winner. And found money is always a good thing.

So along those lines, here are an even handful of Over/Under numbers that I would take a serious look at before they tee it up. (I know, a few teams have already started, but this is the real start of the season.)

Check back in a day or two and I will also have some team prop bets in my next installment.

● First, I’ll take Memphis to go Over 9.5 wins, at minus-130. I think the Tigers are going to win the AAC West. And while they do open with Mississippi at home (they’re 5.5-point favorites), and have to go to Houston and South Florida late, they don’t play Central Florida, which is a plus. So 10 wins doesn’t seem like it’s out of the whatever.

● Next let’s try Utah, also to go Over 9.5. But the Utes are at plus-120, which makes it a little more attractive. The defending Pac-12 South champions could get back to the title game. They have to go to Southern Cal, but get Washington State and Washington at home. And they don’t get Oregon.

● I’m going to take Michigan to go Over 9.5 as well. Trouble is I have to lay at lot, at minus-175. But If Jim Harbaugh’s Wolves can’t do it this year, then I don’t know where they go from there. They’ve lost to Ohio State 13 of the last 14 years, which of course is impossible. But Urban Meyer is gone, which should help. They get OSU at home. Ditto Notre Dame, Michigan State and Iowa. They have to go to Penn State and Wisconsin. Maybe it’s asking too much, but it’s pretty much now or never. I’m sure my good friend and big-time Michigan guy Eddie Barkowitz will appreciate me putting his team on the spot like this. Just trying to add to the pressure.

● In the Big 12 I’m going with Iowa State to win more than eight, at even money. The Cyclones were good last year, and should be good again with 16 starters back. They might need to pull off an upset here or there, but they don’t figure to be the underdog too often. They get Iowa and Texas at home. But other than a trip to Oklahoma there’s not much they can’t handle. We’ll see.

● And lastly, let’s try Army to go Over 10, at minus-130. I know, I haven’t taken one team to go under. And that could be a problem, since there’s always going to be teams that for whatever reasons underachieve. Maybe it’s the part of me that likes pulling for the positive. Or it could just be a character flaw. I’m sure that means I’m missing the boat on at least a few potential payouts. Anyway, the Cadets went 11-2 a year ago (they play 13 again, with a trip to Hawaii). Other than a trip to Michigan in week two, the sked doesn’t seem hard at all. And they lost in overtime last year at Oklahoma. They could lose three times and I’d still push. So I’ll take my chances with that.

Now it’s time to get back to examining the opening match-ups to try to come up with some worthy stuff there. Hey you never know. It’s a journey. The whole idea is to be ahead when it comes to a conclusion in another four months and change. Go for it.

● ● ●

Pick: Memphis Over 9.5 (-130)

Pick: Utah Over 9.5 (+120)

Pick: Michigan Over 9.5 (-175)

Pick: Iowa State Over 8 (+100)

Pick: Army Over 10 (-130)