2012 College Football Sleeper Picks
Top 5 Longshot Bets to Make you money this NCAA Football Season
As the 2012 College Football Season approaches, it's time to start thinking about how to cash in on your early bets to win this year's BCS crown.
And what better way to maximize your college football wager, than by taking a chance on a team that will leave your friends, family, and co-workers scratching their heads as you pad your wallet.
Sure, you can take the easy road, plunking down the greenbacks on the usual suspects that once again will top the 2012 pre-season football rankings. But what fun would that be? Not to mention the infinitesimal payoffs.
Besides, if you look carefully, sometimes the so-called sleeper teams may not be all that quiet, and can make some big noise when least expected.
So, to assist you in making your selection, we have assembled five teams, in reverse order, which when closely examined, may seem risky, but could potentially reward with a huge payday.
5. Stanford Cardinal: 250/1-Sure Stanford lost quarterback Andrew Luck, and they return just nine of last season's starters, but the Cardinal do bring back one of the most talented running backs in the PAC 12, as well as a tenacious defense that held the opposition to just 21.9 ppg game in 2011. Even with Luck, Stanford was more of a threat running the ball in 2011, with RB Stefan Taylor accounting for nearly half of the team's yards on the ground. If second-year head coach David Shaw can come up with a suitable replacement at quarterback, the Cardinals could threaten to make another run at the BCS championship, riding another 11-win season.
4. Michigan State: 60/1- The Spartans are another team that lost their starting quarterback, but do return 13 starters including RB Le'Von Bell, who racked up 948 yards, and 13 touchdowns. If Bell can have another solid year, behind eight game-tested offensive linemen, MSU could shock the Big 10 and the college football world once again in 2012. While he won't have B.J. Cunningham to toss to, QB Andrew Maxwell will have a trio of retuning receivers that combined for a decent 7.8 yards per catch in their freshman years, and a tight end that is also a former four-star recruit. Along with a defense which should be even better than it was last year, the Spartans are in prime position to win the division for the second straight season, as well as challenging for the BCS title.
3. Notre Dame: 30/1 - In 2011, the Irish boasted one of the most prolific offenses in college football, but inexperience sealed the team's doom on more than one occasion, as they blew a couple of chances to finish the year with 10 wins. But with another season under his belt, and Dane Crist out of the way, QB Tommy Rees should get all the time he needs to improve on disappointing 2011 campaign, which saw the sophomore prodigy struggle at times. He did however, put up 2,871 yards and 20 touchdowns, completing a strong 65 percent of his passes. So, with a little help from the running game, which returns junior Cierre Wood, Brian Kelly's Irish can only go up.
2. Kansas State Wildcats : 100/1- The 'Cats will get the added benefit of retuning 15 starters including eight on defense that finished second in the Big 12 last year before losing to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. They also will get back quarterback Collin Klein who ran for 1,100 yards and 27 TDs in 2011. Add to that the return of tailback John Hubert, and that mixture is a cocktail for offensive explosiveness. Finally, the defense continues to show promise, and is just a few key players away from a Top 10 unit. If the Wildcats can throw the ball with a little more effectiveness to balance out the attack in 2012, their chances of rising to the top make them a solid sleeper option.
1. South Carolina Gamecocks: 35/1 -First off, how can you not bet on a team that is being coached by Steve Spurrier? Add to that the Gamecocks bringing back 15 players from a team that went 11-2 last year, and this is perhaps the best sleeper pick in the past decade. When you take into account that SC played the last half of its season minus QB Connor Shaw, this squad appears to be primed to make a huge impact. The backfield will provide a two-dimensional offense, as Heisman candidate RB Marcus Lattimore returns looking to break the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in three seasons after finishing with only 818 in 2011. Meanwhile, the defense also return its share of eight starters, which could be a big help in aiding the Gamecocks in not only winning the East, but possibly carrying them through the SEC title game and beyond.