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Finding value in total win odds for the 2017 season

Toledo and Western Michigan pace the MAC win totals

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. We covered the conference championship odds earlier today. Now it’s where the real degenerates (like you and me) thrive: the over/under for total wins.

2017 Mid-American Conference Win Totals
Akron - 5
Ball State - 5.5
Bowling Green - 5
Buffalo - 3.5
Central Michigan - 6.5
Eastern Michigan - 4.5
Kent State - 3.5
Northern Illinois - 6
Miami - 8
Ohio - 7.5
Toledo - 8.5
Western Michigan - 8.5

At first glance, and if I were laying actual money, I’d say Toledo +8.5 seems like a free ATM card. I also think WMU under 8.5 seems the same. EMU +4.5 and CMU +6.5 seem like fairly safe bets also. I would stay away from Bowling Green, NIU and Akron as those are the numbers I think they hit, which makes your wager a push. I’m leaning to the under on Buffalo and Miami and I think Ball State, Kent State, and Ohio are coin flips with the number they have. What about you?

Finally, let’s take a look at the playoff odds with some prop bets and where the value lies for those.

Four-Team Playoff Odds (Alphabetically)

Will Alabama make the 4-team playoff?
Yes -250 (2/5)
No +175 (7/4)

Will Auburn make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +600 (6/1)
No -1200 (1/12)

Will Clemson make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +600 (6/1)
No -1200 (1/12)

Will Florida State make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +140 (7/5)
No -180 (5/9)

Will Florida make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +700 (7/1)
No -1500 (1/15)

Will Georgia make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +700 (7/1)
No -1500 (1/15)

Will Kansas State make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1000 (10/1)
No -2500 (1/25)

Will LSU make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +400 (4/1)
No -700 (1/7)

Will Louisville make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1000 (10/1)
No -2500 (1/25)

Will Miami Florida make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1000 (10/1)
No -2500 (1/25)

Will Michigan make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +500 (5/1)
No -1000 (1/10)

Will Notre Dame make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1200 (12/1)
No -3000 (1/30)

Will Ohio State make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)

Will Oklahoma make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +250 (5/2)
No -400 (1/4)

Will Oklahoma State make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +700 (7/1)
No -1500 (1/15)

Will Penn State make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +400 (4/1)
No -700 (1/7)

Will TCU make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1200 (12/1)
No -3000 (1/30)

Will Tennessee make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +1200 (12/1)
No -3000 (1/30)

Will Texas make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +900 (9/1)
No -1800 (1/18)

Will USC make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +140 (7/5)
No -180 (5/9)

Will Washington U make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +400 (4/1)
No -700 (1/7)

Will Wisconsin make the 4-team playoff?
Yes +700 (7/1)
No -1500 (1/15)

So based on those odds, your playoff participants at the end of the season will be Alabama, Florida State, USC, and Ohio State. It’s refreshing to see such plucky upstart programs get their time to shine. That’s sarcasm.

Like we mentioned in our first post, the key to long range gambling is value. Do I think Alabama makes the four-team playoff? Likely yes, though I don’t think they are the overwhelming death star of years past and are not a shoe in to win the SEC. Because of that, their odds at less than even money aren’t appealing. It’s too much risk. If it were me, I’d take a look at that next tier of teams, the Florida State/USC/Ohio State/Oklahoma group and pick a couple from there. I’d also look at a longshot. I’d want a team with high caliber stars in a weaker conference with longer odds. Washington, Michigan, Clemson all fit that bill and let’s not count out Louisville, as much as my soul hates me for even suggesting it.

What say you, Belter? Where are your value plays? Comment section to leave your pick of integrity.