What win totals appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into the 2022 college football season?
Ahhhhh, the win totals. They’re the most fun of all the possible investments, giving you a season-long team or five to follow and care about.
There are a whole slew of factors going into figuring out the win totals. Obviously, the schedule is almost everything, but where are the 50/50 games that could and should go one way or another? How’s the backup quarterback situation in case disaster strikes? What are the smartest calls historically?
Check out our team-by team predictions for every game to go along with our 10 Best Win Total Predictions of 2022 – remembering that this is for the regular season only. Bowl games and conference championships aren’t a part of these.
Click on each team for the season preview
10. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State
Win Total 10.5 or 11 or 11.5
ATS PICK It depends
The “it depends” call isn’t a cop-out. It really does depend on where you’re finding the win total for the four powerhouses coming into 2022, because if you’re getting Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and/or Ohio State at 10.5 on Draft Kings, over is a solid call. If you’re getting those four – or any of them – at 11 elsewhere, you go under.
And if you get any of the four at 11.5, for the love of all things holy and true … UNDER, UNDER, UNDER. If a team goes 12-0 and you lose the under on 11.5, you tip your cap and move on.
It’s asking for way too much for any team to go unbeaten, so if you’re getting 11, going under will most likely come through, or at worst you should get a push. 10.5, though …
Clemson won nine regular season games last year without an offense. The D should be national title-good, the O will absolutely be better, and outside of the trip to Notre Dame, don’t expect to get this team as an underdog anywhere else.
Ohio State’s schedule isn’t a layup, but the talent level is so much stronger than everyone else in the Big Ten. Alabama losing two regular season games is always on outlier under Nick Saban, and don’t get into a twist over all of the lost talent at Georgia. The Dawgs aren’t going unbeaten, but it’ll take something big for them to lose twice.
And finally … the quarterbacks.
Forgive factoring in injuries – and how gross it is to potentially profit off the speculation of a guy getting hurt – but the backup quarterback situations aren’t as strong as they used to be at at Alabama and Ohio State in a transfer portal era. If Bryce Young or CJ Stroud go down for any stretch of time, it’s going to be a problem for the Tide or Buckeyes, respectively, to get to 11.
And then there’s the other side …
Win Total 2.5
ATS PICK Under on UMass and UConn, over on ULM
UConn might be better coached with Jim Mora Jr. taking over, and UMass will find a D under new head man Don Brown, but it’s going to be a major struggle for either to get to three wins.
UConn can beat Central Connecticut State, but the winnable FIU game is on the road. It’s going to be a double-digit underdog against everyone else, except at home against …
UMass should be able to beat Stony Brook, but that’s not a given. It can beat New Mexico State at home, but overall the Minuteman talent level needs to be night-and-day better to be anything less than a massive dog against everyone else.
Be a little more leery of ULM at 2.5. It should beat Nicholls State, and it can beat Texas State, but it’s going to take a big upset to get to three wins. There’s going to be one somewhere, but you’ll have to sweat it out.
So … the call is still under on both UMass and UConn, and like the over on ULM.
On to the 2.5 Power Five teams …
8. Arizona, Kansas, Vanderbilt
Win Total 2.5
ATS PICK Over
Just like it’s really, really hard for a superpower to go over on 11, it’s really, really hard for one of the also-ran Power Five programs to go under on 3.
I BEGGED my friends last year to go crazy on Kansas over on 1.5. It barely got by South Dakota, couldn’t get another win into mid-November, and then came the Texas Miracle – a 57-56 overtime victory.
Is Kansas going to be favored this year against any Big 12 team? No. Is it going to pull off an upset somewhere? Almost certainly. It’ll probably beat Tennessee Tech, and the home game against Duke is more 50/50 than you might think.
Is Vanderbilt going to win an SEC game? It didn’t last year, and it didn’t in 2020. However, it’ll beat Elon, it should at least split the road games against Hawaii and Northern Illinois – but it could win both and you’re cashing out in mid-September. You’re an SEC team, Vanderbilt – act like it.
Arizona is the one to really like at 2.5. It was in a total rebuild last year, but it played better than the 1-11 record would suggest – it couldn’t close. Yes, the lone win came over a Cal team decimated by COVID, but there’s talent help from the transfer portal, the overall play should be better, and …
Okay, there’s not a sure-thing win considering the opener is at San Diego State, Mississippi State is coming to Tucson, and you’re crazy to assume a win over North Dakota State. Go over anyway.
Win Total 8.5
ATS PICK Over
There’s a solid chance NC State is the second-best team in the ACC this season behind Clemson.
If everyone is healthy, the linebacking corps might be the best in the country, Devin Leary is a terrific veteran quarterback, and the schedule isn’t all that bad.
Factor in a loss at Clemson, and there will be at least one other defeat in the ACC, but the non-conference slate isn’t all that bad – even if you’re right to be scared of the opener at East Carolina and home date against Texas Tech.
Last year’s team got to nine wins, and this version is more talented and should be even better.
Win Total 4.5
ATS PICK Over
The 2021 rebuilding year was blip for a program that hadn’t suffered a losing season since 2013. It went 3-9 last year – that’s about to change.
In comes new head coach Sonny Cumbie – who could’ve easily have been the head man at Texas Tech – and here comes the upgrade in offensive firepower.
The other key aspect is the loss of Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss from Conference USA to the Sun Belt. All of a sudden, the conference slate looks a whole lot easier, and the team is a whole lot better.
Think of it like this, there are three likely losses – at Missouri, at Clemson, at UTSA – and nine 50/50 games. The Bulldogs will win at least five of them.
Stephen F. Austin should be a win, but that’s not a total given. UTEP, Rice, at FIU, Middle Tennessee, at Charlotte, at North Texas, at Charlotte, UAB – any or all of those could be wins.
NEXT: No. 5 2022 Win Total Prediction
Win Total 4
ATS PICK Over
I know, I know, I know, you need more analysis than that, and it’s never okay to guess, but it’s Northwestern, it’s Pat Fitzgerald, and this program has a way of rising up and rocking when the expectations are at rock bottom.
Think of it like this. Northwestern was awful last year. The offense was abysmal, the defense didn’t show up, and the team still won three games.
The lines are better, the running game should be stronger, and no way, no how is a Fitzgerald team going to field a defense like that two years in a row.
Would you be the least bit stunned if the Wildcats upset Nebraska in the season-opener in Dublin, Ireland? They should beat Duke, Southern Illinois, and Miami University at home – all you need is one other win somewhere to go over, and you’ll probably get at least two.
Northwestern isn’t going winless in the Big Ten.
NEXT: No. 4 2022 Win Total Prediction
Win Total 5.5
ATS PICK Over
Maybe it was the weird Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl loss to Central Michigan that has everyone spooked.
Washington State has enough talent returning to be every bit as good as the version that went 7-5 in the regular season last year, and it got a big upgrade at quarterback.
Cameron Ward was one of the best all-around playmakers in the FCS last year at Incarnate Word. He’s a great fit for the Cougar attack, the coaching situation is settled – remember, Wazzu won seven games despite the bizarre kerfuffle with former head man Nick Rolovich – and the team is going to pull off a few wins no one sees coming.
Do I think Washington State will beat Wisconsin in Week 2? No. Am I worried that Ward might throw for a gajillion yards against a retooled Badger secondary on a great D that always has problems against high-powered passers? Yeah.
Idaho, Colorado State, Cal. Those three should be wins. At Oregon State, at Stanford, Arizona, at home against Arizona State – Washington State should win two of those four.
All you’re looking for it an upset somewhere, and if Ward really is as good as advertised, it’ll happen – watch out for the home games against Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
NEXT: No. 3 2022 Win Total Prediction
Win Total 8.5
ATS PICK Under
I’m a firm believer in Kedon Slovis.
The USC transfer was fantastic get for the Pitt offense, and talent-wise, the potential is there to make a big jump up in production. Remember, Kenny Pickett was just a guy – he didn’t throw more than 13 touchdown passes in any of his first four seasons – and then it all kicked in last year.
Do I think Slovis can throw 42 touchdown passes like Pickett did in 2021? Nope.
Do I think Pitt can easily replace Jordan Addison – the Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s best receiver who’s now at USC? Nope.
Will the Pitt pass rush be among the best in the country? Yes. Will this team be a factor in the ACC race? Yes. Could this team beat anyone and everyone on a schedule without Clemson or NC State in ACC play? Yes.
Did Pitt win more than eight games in any regular season from 2010 to 2020? No.
The team will be strong again, but the opener against West Virginia is dangerous, the date with Tennessee is a big problem – even though both are at home – and none of the four ACC road games against Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia, and Miami are givens.
The Panthers will likely lose two of those four conference road games, it could drop the date to Tennessee, and then all it would take is one other outlier defeat – remember, they lost to Western Michigan last year – to a Virginia Tech or a Syracuse, or a Georgia Tech to get to four losses.
NEXT: No. 2 2022 Win Total Prediction
Win Total 8
ATS PICK Over
The Army team of last year that won eight regular season games – nine overall with a win over Missouri in the Armed Forces Bowl – returns experienced and potentially stronger.
But last year’s team was great and won just eight games. It might seem like a heavy lift – even for Army – however, there’s no road game against Wisconsin on this year’s schedule, the Ball State loss was weird, and while the Navy game is always a toss-up, that’s definitely a misfire that could swing the other way this time around.
The nice part about the total being at 8 is the backstop. The Black Knight might lose four games, but it’s going to take something funky to lose five or more.
At Coastal Carolina and at Wake Forest. Those are the only two games Army will likely be the underdog.
UTSA, Georgia State, Air Force – being played in Arlington, Texas – at Troy, and the showdown against Navy in Philadelphia. Those are the 50/50 games with everything else almost certain.
So figure there’s a base of five wins – be absolutely floored if Army loses to Villanova, Colgate, ULM, UConn, or at UMass – with at least three wins likely out of those five relatively even games.
If all goes according to plan, Army is closer to being a ten-win team than dealing with a 7-5 grind.
NEXT: No. 1 2022 Win Total Prediction
Win Total 7.5
ATS PICK Over
The University of Iowa is going to win at least seven college football games, because that’s what the University of Iowa does.
Under head coach Kirk Ferentz, when was the last time the Hawkeyes won fewer than seven regular season games?
Not counting the 2020 outlier – and even then, Iowa went 6-2 in an eight game season – you have to go back to 2012 and the 4-8 clunker for the last time the program didn’t get to at least seven regular season wins. Before that it was 2007.
So again, not counting 2020, Iowa hasn’t hit the seven-win regular season mark just four times over the last 20 years.
Last year’s team managed to win ten regular season games, and that was without any semblance of a passing game, to go along with an uncharacteristically miserable year from the offensive line.
This year’s team has another loaded defense, and there’s no way, no how the offense can be that miserable again.
The road game at Ohio State is an almost certain loss, and everything else is in play.
Michigan comes to Iowa City. So does Wisconsin. So do Iowa State, Nebraska, and Northwestern. Road games at Rutgers and Illinois are more than manageable, and it’s not asking for the world to get at least a split against Minnesota and Purdue away from Iowa City.
Again, it’ll take an outlier of a season for Iowa to not get to at least seven wins. That’s your backstop – at historically worst, you’ll get a push.