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Toledo a far-away betting favorite to win the MAC

Bovada and OddsShark provide a few surprises in their pre-season betting lines for the 2017-18 MAC campaign.

Northern Illinois v Toledo Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Move over, Western Michigan: there’s a new national darling in town. At least, if you believe the future betting lines.

Toledo has been tabbed by both Bovada and OddsShark as the favorite to win the Mid-American Conference outright. This isn’t a major surprise, as the Rockets return most of its talent, including potential Maxwell Award candidate Logan Woodside. WMU has also suffered many losses, especially on the offensive side of the ball, that could prevent them from making a run like they did last season under the now-departed PJ Fleck.

What is a surprise is how differently Bovada and OddsShark see the rest of the field turning out.

Bovada:

School Moneyline
Toledo -150
Western Michigan 800
Central Michigan 800
Miami 900
Northern Illinois 900
Ohio 1000
Akron 1600
Eastern Michigan 2500
Bowling Green 2500
Ball State 3300
Kent State 4000
Buffalo 10000

OddsShark:

School Moneyline
Toledo 230
Western Michigan 250
Ohio 500
Miami 500
Northern Illinois 1000
Central Michigan 1200
Akron 1300
Eastern Michigan 1400
Bowling Green 3000
Ball State 5000
Kent State 8000
Buffalo 10000

Some immediate impressions:

  • Note the differences in the Toledo numbers: Bovada has Toledo at a minus and trouncing WMU by a difference of over 900, while OddsSharks has it being a 20 point race, with Toledo in the positive.
  • The tops of the two are also interesting to note. CMU is a potential favorite, tied for second with WMU at +800 on the Bovada futures. CMU falls out of the top 5 in the OddsShark futures, reeling in a +1200 in the middle of the table.
  • Both tables predict a different MAC Championship, with Bovada going Toledo-Miami while OddsSharks goes with Toledo-Ohio.
  • Bovada marks a signifigant gap at the top and shows parity in the middle and bottom, while OddsSharks shows parity in the middle and is very harsh on the bottom of the table. This is most visible with Ball State and Kent State, whose odds fall from +3,300 to +5,000 and +4,000 to +8,000 respecively from Bovada to OddsSharks. Both oddsmakers feel the same about Buffalo, which is at +10,000.
  • Outside of Toledo, Eastern Michigan experienced the biggest change in lines. Bovada marks them positively, with a +1,400 odd. OddsSharks is a little more skeptical, placing EMU with a +2,500 line. Despite that large gap, EMU is still slated to finish eighth in the final standings by both oddsmakers.

Usually, preseason odds are an indication of how Las Vegas and national outlets feel about how a season will progress for certain teams and conferences, so this could be looked at as an early indication of how strong or weak the college football world perceives the MAC.

If these odds hold, it looks like the MAC will be a top-heavy competition, with at least three (possibly, four) MAC West teams in the hunt for favortism, while the East can only muster two serious candidates.

Of course, these are futures, so they should be taken with some skepticism. But fans love to use numbers as barometers and the vast differences in these two lines could prove to be interesting down the road, especially with the tumult at the top of the charts for both oddsmakers.