While I’ll have my weekly gambling picks for each weekend of the college football season, there is still time to discuss preseason wagers, or bets on the season as a whole. All odds available via sportsbooks featured on our partner OddsShark.
Today, I want to discuss some futures and prop wagers, which can include whether a team will make the Playoff, meet its win total over/under, and more, depending on the sportsbook.
When betting futures, I try to avoid betting futures that are correlated, because too much can be tied up in a single result — for example, try to avoid betting on one team to win the Big Ten and on another team to not win the Big Ten, since you might as well bet only on the friendlier of those two wagers.
I also think about wagers I could hedge down the line. Several of these wagers are setups for hedging. You might have heard the term “hedge your bets,” and here, it involves later betting against your original bet, preferably at more favorable odds in order to lock in a profit or reduce risk exposure.
And I like to bet on plus odds (underdogs) whenever possible, so that a large amount of my bankroll is not tied up and unavailable for wagering during the season.
Reminder: Negative odds (-150, for example) mean you risk that dollar value in order to net $100. Plus odds (+170, for example) show the amount you can net for risking $100.
- USC to win the Pac-12 (+485): I have heard great things about J.T. Daniels in USC camp. The true freshman QB is a special player, and I believe that this line is inflated due to the loss of Sam Darnold. If USC does make it to the Pac-12 final, this could also be a hedge opportunity to bet against the Trojans in that game.
- NC State and Georgia Tech to win the ACC (+6000 each): This is nothing but a hedge opportunity. I project these teams for second or third place in their divisions. So why bet? Well, the gap between the odds for FSU and NC State and between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech is too large. NC State draws Virginia and North Carolina as its opponents from the Coastal Division, likely an easier cross-division pairing than either Clemson or FSU get.
- Clemson to make the Playoff (-130): Clemson is -170-ish to win the ACC, but actually has a cheaper price to make the Playoff whether it wins its conference or not, like Alabama did last year. It is possible that Clemson wins the ACC and does not make the Playoff, but that seems highly unlikely. I am high on true freshman QB Trevor Lawrence and expect him to be Clemson’s starter at some point this season.
- Alabama to not make the Playoff (+280): I am getting almost 4/1 on my money here. I think Alabama is the best team, but is any team really that much of a lock to make the Playoff out of the SEC? If Georgia, Auburn, or someone else wins the SEC, I very likely win this bet.
- Oklahoma to make the Playoff (+425): I project Oklahoma to be favored in all 12 games, and by double digits in at least eight. I’ll take 5/1 on a major-conference team with that projection all day.
- Notre Dame to make the Playoff (+600): Notre Dame is going to have a stout defense and could be favored in all 11 games, following its home opener against Michigan.
Here are some futures single-game bets
These are wagers on game lines that books have offered for some of the bigger games of the year, which are in addition to bets I’ll make on Week 1 games. All of these wagers are at (-110) odds.
- Boston College +1.5 at Wake Forest: I think BC will be the better team and can go on the road and win, thanks to its physicality.
- Florida at Mississippi State -3: While Dan Mullen knows this Mississippi State team, I believe the squad in Starkville is better on a neutral site and that this will be over a touchdown by kickoff.
- Alabama at Ole Miss +22.5: Will Alabama’s secondary be solidified by Week 3? Ole Miss’ depth is a concern, but the roster should be scoring a lot in September.
- Wisconsin at Michigan -3: I love Michigan’s defense and think it can keep Wisconsin’s offense in check.
- N.C. State +19.5 at Clemson: I believe the Wolfpack are better than people think, and Clemson has a look-ahead game after this at FSU.
And here are the wagers I posted earlier this year, with notes on where they currently stand.
Most of these wagers are looking great, and I might have an opportunity by kickoff to hedge, if I choose. As you’ll see, while waiting to make your preseason wagers can give you the advantage of seeing depth charts and injuries, it also potentially gives away a ton of value. Having your numbers ready to go over the summer is important. Some of these wagers have moved an entire win, which is a huge change in price.
All win total bets are regular season only.
On May 18 I took the following:
- Washington to win the national championship (+2400): This is now +1300 at most places.
- Washington Over 8.5 wins (-200): This is no longer even available. Washington is now a full win higher, 9.5 at -200 odds.
- Michigan State Over 7.5 wins (-155): Another that has now moved a full win higher. The odds on Michigan State are now 8.5 wins at -169. I probably would not take over 8.5 at that price, but I am over the moon to be holding my original ticket.
- Stanford Under 9.5 wins (-170): This is now at an incredible -288, meaning most bettors have moved strongly against the Cardinal. If I’d waited, I would’ve had to risk a lot more in order to bet this win total.
- Tennessee Under 6.5 wins (-160): This one is now at -270!
On May 30 I made additional bets:
- Virginia Over 5 wins (-110): This one moved against me slightly, and bettors can now get it at +110.
- Boston College Over 5.5 wins (-110): This is another which has moved a ton — a full win to 6.5, and 70 cents of juice to -180.
- Oregon Over 8.5 (-120): This has moved slightly to -140.
- Northwestern Under 6 (+100): This has moved five cents against me to +105.
- Florida State Over 7.5 wins (-110): This is now -182, a move of 72 cents.
- UCLA Under 5.5 wins (-115): This hasn’t moved much (-125). I am still confident that the Bruins will miss a bowl.
- Washington State Under 6.5 wins (-110): This has moved heavily in my favor, now at -200.
- Pittsburgh Under 5.5 wins (+100): This moved a half win in my favor, and is now Under 5 at +130.
- Virginia Tech Under 8.5 wins (-110): This has now moved to -170.
One bet I almost pulled the trigger on:
- Utah to make the Playoff (+4500). The non-conference is a cakewalk. The conference road games are at WSU, at Stanford, at UCLA, at Arizona State, and at Colorado.
A preview for next week:
I believe the Alabama vs. Louisville and Florida State vs. Virginia Tech games will feature at least 130 combined points. Smart bettors already jumped on the Over 54 in the Alabama game and Over 52 in the FSU game. Those numbers have now both moved a good bit. Week 1 lines are lines that bettors really need to get on early, since many have been posted for weeks, if not months.