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College Football Preview: Conf. Championships & Heisman

As I sit here in my living room, it is August 24th, a full week before Labor Day.  In Austin and probably half the country, it feels like the heart of summer, which is to say, like inside the mouth of a large dog that has been running wind sprints for an hour.  It does not feel like football. And as a grump-old-man/sports purist, I really chafed at the idea of this “Week 0” scheduling when they started it a few years ago. “College football starts on Labor Day weekend, and Thursday night is the start of the weekend,” I grumbled to myself.  But I gotta admit, with Miami and Florida kicking off in T-7 hours, I could not be happier with the decision. The sports summer is interminable; shaving a week off of it is a godsend.

So far, in Beat the Juice’s  College Football preview, we’ve covered futures for season win totals and the national championship.  In this last installment, we’ll cover futures for Conference Champions and a bonus pick for Heisman. Conference champion futures are kind of like the national championship odds we covered in the last post.  It’s impossible to find value on the favorites because everyone is betting them and the books don’t need to offer good odds to get the action. So, to find the value, you’re forced to look further down the table, which means that you are taking bets that may have a +EV payout but that are far less likely to hit.  That volatility in results means that to play futures bets for profit, you have to take a very long view.

Conference Champion Futures
Once again, my picks are all +EV longer odds bets (each for 1/4 unit)

  1. Iowa to win the Big 10 at +2600 on
  2. Purdue to win the Big 10 at +2800
  3. Virginia to win the ACC at +2000 on
  4. Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 at +2500 on 
  5. USC to win the Pac 12 at +950 on
  6. LSU to win the SEC at +1300 on


I’ll come clean; I don’t have a model for this one, but getting Trevor Lawrence at an implied probability of 26% seems too damn good to be true. Slot this one in at a full unit.

Trevor Lawrence at +285 at

That’s it for the college football preview series. I hope you are as psyched for kickoff tonight as I am. Until next time, stay sharp.

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