Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Normally I’ll be devoting Tuesdays to developments in the NFL Futures market. But, honestly…right now…what’s happening in college football is a lot more interesting. Oddsmakers, sharps, and the full marketplace are having troubles accurately pegging the elite college teams. In the NFL…New England and Green Bay are still on pace to enjoy home field advantage through the playoffs as long as their star quarterbacks stay healthy. Nothing new to report there.
The biggest news to me involves the Michigan Wolverines. People knew that Jim Harbaugh could coach. But, he supposedly didn’t have the talent to put Michigan in any championship discussions right away. He would likely get things moving in the right direction in 2015. He might give a Big 10 power a scare on the way to a generic bowl game. Instead:
*Michigan has won five games in a row
*Michigan’s only loss was on the road to #4 Utah in the season opener
*Michigan is playing some of the best defense the sport has ever seen
*Michigan is a FAVORITE this week over projected superpower Michigan State!
*Wait…Michigan is now favored by MORE THAN A TOUCHDOWN over Michigan State!!
When the “Game of the Year” lines came out this past June, Michigan State went up as at -4.5 as the road favorite. The line has moved 12 points from that assessment…crossing the key number of three TWICE and the key number of seven. (By the way, Oregon was -14 at Washington at that time, they’re now +1.5 in their coming meeting late Saturday night).
Michigan’s been climbing the championship Futures ladder. From off the radar, they’re now seen as basically even with Michigan State and Clemson at +1600. The market sees them as more likely than Utah to win the title even though the Utes won their head-to-head meeting. Here’s a composite of the most recent prices…
(For first time readers…the numbers you see reflect the return on a $100 bet. If you bet on Ohio State to win the championship, you’re risking $100 to win $250. I’ve taken a composite of Futures prices in Las Vegas and offshore to arrive at the numbers. Prices vary at individual stores.)
ODDS TO WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Ohio State +250
Michigan, Michigan State, Texas A&M +1600
Utah, Stanford, Florida, Florida State +2000
Notre Dame +2500
Ohio State still has the top spot. But, every sharp you meet will tell you the Buckeyes have looked nothing like national champions so far this season. This is part of what’s so interesting about the Futures market right now. The “clear favorite” has been playing so far below pointspread expectations that they don’t seem likely to go the distance. Ohio State’s offense has been a disappointment when you account for their soft schedule. Will the Buckeyes be able to score on Michigan?
LSU and Alabama are close together…with the ultimate survivor of the SEC West expected to get one of the four playoff spots based on the pricing. TCU and Baylor are virtual twins in the Big 12 now that Oklahoma was embarrassed by Texas. It’s currently assumed by the marketplace that the Big 12 champ will get a spot. Michigan does have a pathway to the Final Four through the Big 10 if they keep playing this level of defense.
Why is Michigan “even” with Michigan State in the composite Futures pricing when they’re a clear neutral field favorite based on this week’s pointspread? That one loss to Utah. Right now…Michigan is 5-1 while Michigan State is 6-0. Less margin for error at the moment for the Wolverines. But, the market is telling you the Wolverines are the better team because they have the same championship odds despite that early loss! If Michigan wins this week…both teams will be 6-1 but Harbaugh’s heroes would then surge well above Sparty on the Futures ladder.
Updating the NFL…
TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL
Green Bay +300
New England +330
Seattle and Denver +1000
Cincinnati, Arizona +1200
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, NY Giants +2500
NY Jets, Minnesota +4000
Plummeting down to the range of +5000 to +8000 recently have been Dallas, San Diego, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Kansas City. Dallas is in big trouble without Tony Romo…though they could conceivably still make a strong playoff run if he can return soon. The market knows it’s tough to get to a Wildcard spot from a losing record five games in…and THEN it’s tough to sweep January road games to even reach the Super Bowl. That’s an issue for all five of those.
It’s telling how respected Seattle is in the market that they’re 2-3 so far but still considered one of the four best teams in the league. If the Seahawks lose touch with Arizona in the NFC West, they’ll be looking at trying to win from a Wildcard position as well.
Back with you Thursday to begin our regularly scheduled “sharp betting” articles.
Lunchtime Thursday: How Sharps are Betting Thursday/Friday Football
Lunchtime Friday: How Sharps are Betting College Football Marquee Matchups
Dinnertime Friday: How Sharps are Betting Sunday/Monday NFL
Sometime in that mix I’ll try to post ALCS, NLCS, and MLB World Championship Futures once these Divisional rounds have finished. I’m really looking forward to that marquee college report because so many ranked teams are playing each other this week. Great sports week ahead!
Please don’t forget that my daily BEST BETS can always be purchased right here at the website with your credit card between now and then. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any weekday during regular business hours.
Thanks for reading. See you again Thursday.
Be sure to follow:
Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters