Chasing the Cash: 2013 Betting Outlook

Published on: August 22, 2013 | Written by: Todd Fuhrman

Contrary to popular belief, only part of the college football season takes place on campuses around the country.  The rest of it unfolds not in the meaningless popularity polls that hold as much weight as the National Inquirer but rather in sportsbooks from Vegas to the islands. Gambling is directly connected to the growth of any the sport’s popularity whether people choose to accept it or not (if you believe otherwise, feel free to email me I enjoy angry emails). I spent the better part of this week talking to sportsbook operators in anticipation of the fall, tracking down the buzz on how bettors are approaching the 2013 college football season.  Monitoring betting markets gives even the casual gambler and media a better understanding of the teams that will over or under achieve this year. Throw into that mix a slew of brand new season long player props recently released and there's plenty to discuss with kickoff 7 short days away.

Future markets, props, and regular season win totals chatter starts earlier and earlier every year.  How big has the win total business become? One book went so far as to offer over/unders on on every FBS team this year whereas 3-5 years ago you'd see 25 power programs listed and not much more.  College football is big business for any sportsbook operator dealing to US customers.  From the moment books hang numbers, people itch to bet into them.  I tracked down both Patrick Morrow (head oddsmaker from Bovada) and Dave Mason (Marketing Director at Betonline) to find out what kind of betting trends were emerging offshore.  Ed Salmons of the LVH shared some interesting nuggets about what he’s seen here in town giving me a pretty good idea of how pros and joes see the college football landscape.


No one is surprised Alabama (currently 5/2) represents 16% of the total money Bovada has seen wagered in their future book. Afterall, the Tide’s short price is expected to represent a large portion of the overall market share or they’d be offered at higher odds.  Ohio St is next in line at 6-1, representing just under 15% of total handle (handle is a fancy way of saying volume in gambling) meaning the current favorites to win the SEC and Big Ten account for nearly 1/3 of money wagered on this year’s national championship.  The third team attracting action? Well you guessed it Texas A&M; the Aggies are commanding 9% of overall volume and were being sold at a price as low as 13-2 before being raised to 18-1 where they sit now amid the Johnny Football soap opera.  As if the strength of the SEC wasn’t evident already, Georgia is the 4th most heavily bet team eating up 7.5% of the handle at 16-1.  Oddly enough the team expected to win 11 games, Oregon, hasn’t seen much money from the professionals or the public since Chip Kelly left the program. With Duck money representing only 5% of the entire pool, Bovada pushed their number from 6-1 up to 17-2. Morrow did tell me if he could pick one of the prohibitive favorites to win the national title, he’d be quacking like a duck.  He didn't actually say quack like a duck but he definitely will be rooting for Oregon if the same betting trends continue.


Sportsbooks are like retail shops; they all have different clientele that are price sensitive looking to buy their merchandise accordingly. Dave Mason from Betonline told me Georgia is the #1 publicly bet team at the current price of 14-1.  There was sharp action on the Dawgs at 20-1 (he didn’t say from a man named Clay Travis) and Alabama at 3-1 right before the Manziel news broke. Along with UGA, Ohio St (same as Bovada) and South Carolina (20-1) have become the public favorites.  Interesting to consider teams like Stanford (ranked #4), Clemson (#8), and Louisville (#9) aren’t garnering much interest from bettors at all.  However,  the real ugly ducklings on the list, according to Mason, are Boston College (500-1), BYU (150-1), and Missouri (250-1).  All 3 have ticket counts like endangered species with BC truly extinct because the book hasn’t taken one bet on the Eagles.  As an aside to Mason, no rational college football bettor should be considering betting a team to win the national title that will be lucky to make the postseason this year.


Futures are only one part of the big picture, books typically make anywhere from .30 to .40 cents on the dollar there meaning if prices are managed correctly they should be sure fire money makers.   Win totals are actually a loss leader and much more delicate proposition.  Bovada reported the 3 most popular win totals gaining attention from their bettors are Ohio St O11 (+140), UCLA O7 (+110), and Michigan O8.5 (+110).  The common trend with all three is they offer an advantageous price at + money for bettors indicating the oddsmaking team at Bovada feels comfortable dangling the bait to lure in the casual bettor.  In Dave Mason’s case he indicated the general public has come in on Iowa St U5.5, Notre Dame U9, and Alabama O11. Head oddsmaker Ed Salmons from LVH shared a few nuggets from Las Vegas telling me bettors couldn’t get enough of Ole Miss, Miami FL, and UCLA, betting all 3 over their posted totals.  To illustrate how valuable some of the betting information is to each oddsmaker, only Dave Mason from BOL shared where his sharps had found win total value; Michigan St O8.5 at -110 (now price prohibitive), Notre Dame U9, and oddly enough the Pittsburgh Panthers O6 with a newly minted quarterback in Rutgers transfer Tom Savage.


As if win totals and futures weren’t enough for your already confused gambling brain to comprehend, here’s the full list of player props being offered at Bovada for the upcoming season.  Football’s only 7 days away, make sure you get your action in while you still can.


2013 Regular Season - Tajh Boyd (Clemson) - Total Passing Yards

Over 3574.5 Pass yds             -120    

Under 3574.5 Pass yds           -120    

 

2013 Regular Season - Tajh Boyd (Clemson) - Total Passing Touchdowns 

Over                            35½ (-120)

Under                          35½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Marcus Mariota (Oregon) - Total Passing Yards      

Over                            2900½ (-120)

Under                          2900½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Marcus Mariota (Oregon) - Total Passing Touchdowns      

Over                            34½ (-110)

Under                          34½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Braxton Miller (Ohio State) - Total Passing Yards   

Over                            2800½ (-105)

Under                          2800½ (-135)

 

2013 Regular Season - Braxton Miller (Ohio State) - Total Passing Touchdowns   

Over                            19½ (-120)

Under                          19½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Braxton Miller (Ohio State) - Total Rushing Yards  

Over                            1000½ (-130)

Under                          1000½ (-110)

 

2013 Regular Season - Braxton Miller (Ohio State) - Total Rushing Touchdowns  

Over                            14½ (-110)

Under                          14½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - A.J. McCarron (Alabama) - Total Passing Yards     

Over                            2900½ (-120)

Under                          2900½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - A.J. McCarron (Alabama) - Total Passing Touchdowns      

Over                            30½ (-120)

Under                          30½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) - Total Passing Yards         

Over 3900.5 Pass yds             EVEN 

Under 3900.5 Pass yds           -140    

 

2013 Regular Season - Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) - Total Passing Touchdowns         

Over                            34½ (-120)

Under                          34½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Aaron Murray (Georgia) - Total Passing Yards        

Over 3674.5 Pass yds             -120    

Under 3674.5 Pass yds           -120

           

2013 Regular Season - Aaron Murray (Georgia) - Total Passing Touchdowns        

Over                            30½ (-120)

Under                          30½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - T.J. Yeldon (Alabama) - Total Rushing Yards          

Over                            1400½ (-120)

Under                          1400½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - T.J. Yeldon (Alabama) - Total Rushing Touchdowns          

Over                            14½ (-120)

Under                          14½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Ka'Deem Carey (Arizona) - Total Rushing Yards    

Over                            1650½ (-110)

Under                          1650½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Ka'Deem Carey (Arizona) - Total Rushing Touchdowns     

Over                            18½ (-105)

Under                          18½ (-135)

 

2013 Regular Season - Duke Johnson (Miami) - Total Rushing Yards         

Over                            1300½ (-120)

Under                          1300½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Duke Johnson (Miami) - Total Rushing Touchdowns         

Over                            14½ (-110)

Under                          14½ (-130)                 

 

2013 Regular Season - De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon) - Total Rushing Yards         

Over                            1400½ (-120)

Under                          1400½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon) - Total Rushing Touchdowns         

Over                            15½ (-110)

Under                          15½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Todd Gurley (Georgia) - Total Rushing Yards         

Over                            1200½ (-120)

Under                          1200½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Todd Gurley (Georgia) - Total Rushing Touchdowns          

Over                            15½ (-110)

Under                          15½ (-130)


2013 Regular Season - Marqise Lee (USC) - Total Receiving Yards 

Over                            1400½ (-110)

Under                          1400½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Marqise Lee (USC) - Total Receiving Touchdowns 

Over                            12½ (-110)

Under                          12½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Stefon Diggs (Maryland) - Total Receiving Yards    

Over                            1000½ (-120)

Under                          1000½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Stefon Diggs (Maryland) - Total Receiving Touchdowns    

Over                            9½ (-130)

Under                          9½ (-110)

 

2013 Regular Season - Sammy Watkins (Clemson) - Total Receiving Yards

Over                            1225½ (-120)

Under                          1225½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Sammy Watkins (Clemson) - Total Receiving Touchdowns

Over                            14½ (-120)

Under                          14½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Amari Cooper (Alabama) - Total Receiving Yards   

Over                            1000½ (-120)

Under                          1000½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Amari Cooper (Alabama) - Total Receiving Touchdowns    

Over                            9½ (-120)

Under                          9½ (-120)

 

2013 Regular Season - Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) - Total Receiving Yards       

Over                            1200½ (-110)

Under                          1200½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) - Total Receiving Touchdowns        

Over                            6½ (-130)

Under                          6½ (-110)

 

2013 Regular Season - Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) - Total Sacks   

Over                            18½ (-110)

Under                          18½ (-130)

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Passing Yards? 

Aaron Murray (Georgia)                    -200    

A.J. McCarron (Alabama)                  +150   

Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)                       +200   

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Passing Touchdowns? 

Aaron Murray (Georgia)                    -200    

A.J. McCarron (Alabama)                  +150   

Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)                       +200   

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Rushing Yards?

T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)                        EVEN 

Todd Gurley (Georgia)                       +200   

LaDarius Perkins (Mississippi State) +425   

Tre Mason (Auburn)                          +425   

Jeff Scott (Ole Miss)                          +450   

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Rushing Touchdowns?            

T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)                        EVEN 

Todd Gurley (Georgia)                       +175   

Tre Mason (Auburn)                          +425   

LaDarius Perkins (Mississippi State)  +425   

Jeff Scott (Ole Miss)                          +500   

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Receiving Yards?         

Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt)           +175   

Amari Cooper (Alabama)                   +210   

Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss)               +200   

Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU)                    +400   

Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri)     +450   

 

2013 Regular Season - Southeastern Conference - Who will have the most Receiving Touchdowns?          

Amari Cooper (Alabama)                   +175   

Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss)               +175   

Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt)           +250   

Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri)     +375   

Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU)                    +450