College Football Preview: National Champion

Welcome back to Beat the Juice’s College Football Preview: Part Deux.  Yesterday we covered Regular Season Wins futures, and in this post, we’ll tackle something more adventurous – National Championship futures.  Whey more adventurous? Well, depending on the odds on each side of a seasons win total bet, they can be a little less than, more than or equal to 50/50 propositions.  For National Championship futures, not even the Death Star is rocking those kind of odds. National Championship futures are the Duncan MacLeod of CFB bets – there can be only one.  

What does that mean for the average sports bettor?  It means that even on +EV bets, the most likely outcome is that you lose your money.   That’s something to consider when betting any +EV longshot. While those bets make sense if bankroll management is of no concern, placing many units on them will put you at a much higher risk of total loss than doing the same with single game contests or even season win total futures.  Another factor to consider with season-long bets is that they tie up your bankroll for 4 months. So, if your expected return on each unit bet is +2%, then you wouldn’t want to tie up a bunch of units that you think have a likely return of 5% for months. You want to deploy that cash each weekend to rack up 8% per month.

National Championship Futures

So, here’s the thing about national championship futures – the books don’t have to offer good odds on the top teams to attract action.  So the odds on the top teams suck. They are terrible value. As good as Clemson and Alabama are, there’s no way on God’s Deep South, football-isn’t-a-religion-it’s-far-more-important-than-that, duopolistic world that either of them would be paying less than +350.  A lot of books have them in the +225-+275 range. It’s nuts. That’s true throughout most of the top 10 teams.  

So, if you absolutely have to bet a top 10 squad, then your best value is Florida at +6000.  I think that’s basically an even money bet, so, I’m not betting it. But I offer it here for those poor souls who can’t stomach taking someone outside the top 10 and the likely prospect of their season bet being done before November.  

My picks are all +EV longer odds bets (each for 1/4 unit):

  1. BYU at +125000 on 5Dimes.eu.  I figure BYU has about a 1 in 100 chance of winning the title.  This pays out like they have a 1 in 1,250 chance in winning it.
  2. Penn State at +10000 on 5Dimes.eu.  
  3. Oklahoma State at +25000 on 5Dimes.eu.  This one seems under-priced by about half.  

There are some even longer shots on the board that may technically offer higher +EV, the extreme unlikelihood of them hitting would prevent me from betting them.  Remember, you can follow my picks and results through the year in this Google doc.

Until next time, stay sharp.

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