Our college football conference preview continues with a closer look at the Group of 5 and independent schools.
Now that the win totals, conference title odds and national championship odds for every FBS team have been released, our experts -- Bill Connelly, David Hale, Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum -- give their best best bets.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Group of 5 and independents Best bets
Notre Dame Fighting Irish under 9 wins (-125)
Kezirian: The Irish answered the call in 2020 and ripped through the ACC schedule undefeated, which included a win over Clemson. I do not envision similar success this season, even without a full conference schedule. This comes down to the Irish losing quarterback Ian Book (the school's all-time QB wins leader) and numerous opportunities for the Golden Domers to stub their toe. The Irish will get everyone's best shot and I think highly of Brian Kelly but we cannot assume the team's best version on a weekly basis. Even the opener in Tallahassee is not an automatic win, and there are plenty of similar opponents throughout the season. The Irish face four schools currently ranked in the preseason Top 25 and still have road games against Virginia Tech, Virginia and Stanford. Yes, not much is expected from the Cardinal but that's the regular season's final game and they will be much better by then. If Notre Dame manages double-digit wins, then so be it. I think we have a strong chance for a push or win.