It’s that time of year. Time for the oddsmakers in Las Vegas (or, well, offshore if we’re being honest) to set their odds for season-long win totals in advance of college football season.
The early odds for Vanderbilt: over/under 5 wins for the 2018 football season. The over currently has a bet price of +100 ($100 to win $100) and the under has a price of -130 ($130 to win $100.) And the site linked above is bearish:
Last season, the Commodores looked like the 1985 Chicago Bears on defense in their first three games, allowing just 13 total points amid an awe-inspiring 3-0 start. Unfortunately, they looked more like the Bad News Bears the rest of the way, allowing 44 or more points five times while winning just one SEC game, their finale against downtrodden Tennessee. This is worrisome for a defense-minded coach like Derek Mason. Three-year starter Kyle Shurmur returns at quarterback with some decent weapons. But unless Vanderbilt vastly overachieves -- which it has done before under Mason -- find wins feels like a stretch against a pretty formidable schedule.
On the surface, Vanderbilt’s schedule this fall is made more difficult by a nonconference game at Notre Dame that was added to the schedule for some reason. Vanderbilt doesn’t even appear to be getting a return game out of this, so we must assume the athletic department has gone full C-USA and taken a check in exchange for a beatdown.
But the SEC schedule actually doesn’t look too daunting. Vanderbilt draws Arkansas from the West, which is not Alabama and which is in its first year under Chad Morris. Home games against Tennessee and Ole Miss should be winnable. There’s your easiest path to six wins; of course, if the defense plays like it did last year, even five wins is probably going to be asking a lot.