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Finding value in conference championship odds for the 2017 season

Toledo’s the favorite, but the value is in Oxford, Mt. Pleasant, and Lexington

Super Bowl 50 Proposition Bets At The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If you’ve been following along with the Belt for long, you know that I have been known to do a bit of wagering from time to time. In the fall, that takes the shape of picking all of the weekend’s conference action against the spread. The 2016 season was absolutely brutal, but that just means we’re due for a rebound. And if my absolutely on-fire streak from the NBA playoffs, NBA Draft, and (shamefully) the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest continues, we’re all getting rich this fall. Filthy rich. Like Scrooge McDuck swimming in it rich. You’re welcome in advance for funding your kids’ college education.

Alas, it’s July, which means the only way to potentially make some scratch for your bankroll now is the long play, or the odds to win the various conferences and the over/under for total wins. We’ll first hit the MAC, since we are the bonafide purveyors of all things MACtion, and then move on to some national opportunities. First up is the championship odds, courtesy of Bovada (where all the lines in this series come from).

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the MAC Conference Championship

Toledo 2/3
Central Michigan 8/1
Western Michigan 8/1
Miami (Ohio) 9/1
Northern Illinois 9/1
Ohio 10/1
Akron 16/1
Bowling Green 25/1
Eastern Michigan 25/1
Ball State 33/1
Kent State 40/1
Buffalo 100/1

The thing about gambling that some people never realize is that it’s actually not about picking winners. It’s about picking winners when there’s value. So in looking at the above, Toledo is the heavy favorite. Personally, I think Toledo will win the conference, but at 2-to-3, it’s not a worthwhile bet. If it were me, and I was wagering on the above, I’d put a small amount on Miami and CMU. At 9-to-1 and 8-to-1 respectively, there’s at least value there. And that’s the thing about gambling that it takes a while to learn: finding the time to seize opportunity and value when they intersect.

As for the national scene, the championship odds for all the conferences are:

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the AAC Championship

South Florida 3/2
Central Florida 5/1
Houston 5/1
Memphis 5/1
Navy 6/1
Tulsa 17/2
Temple 18/1
SMU 25/1
Cincinnati 28/1
Tulane 50/1
UConn 100/1
East Carolina 100/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the ACC Championship

Florida State 1/1
Clemson 3/1
Louisville 6/1
Miami 6/1
Virginia Tech 9/1
North Carolina 25/1
NC State 25/1
Georgia Tech 33/1
Pittsburgh 50/1
Duke 75/1
Boston College 200/1
Syracuse 200/1
Virginia 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the Big Ten Championship

Ohio State 5/6
Wisconsin 15/4
Michigan 11/2
Penn State 11/2
Nebraska 16/1
Northwestern 16/1
Iowa 20/1
Minnesota 33/1
Michigan State 50/1
Indiana 100/1
Maryland 100/1
Illinois 200/1
Purdue 200/1
Rutgers 500/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma 5/6
Oklahoma State 3/1
Texas 5/1
Kansas State 6/1
TCU 12/1
West Virginia 20/1
Baylor 33/1
Texas Tech 50/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 500/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the Conference USA Championship

Western Kentucky 5/7
Louisiana Tech 6/1
Middle Tennessee 7/1
UTSA 7/1
Southern Miss 10/1
Old Dominion 12/1
Marshall 22/1
FAU 25/1
FIU 50/1
North Texas 50/1
Rice 50/1
UAB 100/1
Charlotte 100/1
UTEP 200/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the Mountain West Conference Championship Game

Boise State 3/2
San Diego State 3/2
Colorado State 4/1
Wyoming 10/1
Air Force 20/1
New Mexico 25/1
UNLV 33/1
Utah State 33/1
Hawaii 40/1
Nevada 40/1
Fresno State 66/1
San Jose State 66/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship Game

USC 10/11
Washington 9/5
Stanford 8/1
UCLA 9/1
Oregon 16/1
Washington State 16/1
Colorado 33/1
Utah 33/1
Arizona State 50/1
Arizona 100/1
Oregon State 100/1
California 500/1

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to win the SEC Championship

Alabama 2/3
Auburn 5/1
LSU 5/1
Georgia 6/1
Florida 8/1
Tennessee 25/1
Texas A&M 40/1
Arkansas 66/1
Mississippi State 75/1
Kentucky 100/1
South Carolina 100/1
Missouri 200/1
Vanderbilt 200/1
***Ole Miss is off the board due to being under investigation.

NCAA Football 2017 Season - Odds to be the Sun Belt Champion

Appalachian State 6/5
Arkansas State 7/2
Troy 7/2
Georgia Southern 12/1
UL Lafayette 12/1
Idaho 14/1
New Mexico State 18/1
South Alabama 18/1
Georgia State 40/1
UL Monroe 40/1
Coastal Carolina 100/1
Texas State 100/1

Michigan at 11/2 is probably worth a small amount. Call me crazy, but Kentucky at 100/1 also seems quite intriguing to me. Long odds and long payoffs, but take a look at Kentucky’s schedule. Winning the SEC East is a definite possibility for no other reason than catching weaker SEC West crossovers and having the toughest SEC East opponents at home. I have been following Kentucky for 30+ years and normally it’s a fool’s bet. It likely is this year also, but at least I feel better than usual.

What say you? What are you best value propositions from the above odds?