USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Love and Nick Fitzgerald
- There wasn't much movement in the college football national title futures market after a quiet Week 2.
- But there are still some values on the board, including Stanford and Mississippi State, which aren't getting much respect.
- Meanwhile, one-loss Michigan and Miami inexplicably shot up the boards despite beating up on lesser opponents.
Last week’s college football schedule was, to be honest, quite mediocre. There weren’t many high-profile games, and very little changed in terms of the playoff landscape.
Entering the week, Clemson and Georgia were national-title contenders, and they stayed contenders. For Clemson, a nail-biter over Texas A&M may have been the last significant obstacle to the College Football Playoff, as weird as it sounds. South Carolina in the final game of the season might not provide much resistance, and Florida State might provide even less.
Here were some noticeable price changes in the national-title market after a quiet Week 2.
Odds listed as “+170” is the amount a $100 bettor would win. So a $100 Alabama bet would win $170. A $10 bet on Alabama would win $17.
Alabama continues its steady progression toward even money, knocking a few cents off last week’s +175 to now be +170. Beating Arkansas State by 50 doesn’t do quite as much as prime-time romps over Louisville do.
The other contenders entering the week all dropped small amounts, as well. Despite winning a thriller in one of its most challenging games of the season, Clemson dropped only from +450 to +420.
Georgia, which rolled the Gamecocks in Columbia Saturday afternoon, went from +800 to +625. Ohio State, which has beaten Oregon State and Rutgers in its first two games without Urban Meyer, still has fallen to +620, despite no real proof these Buckeyes are better or worse than any other Ohio State team. We’ll find out much more about them Saturday against TCU.
Buckeyes conference-mate Penn State saw one of the largest drops of the week, going from +4000 to +2250.
The most perplexing price change of all? It has to be a toss-up between Miami and Michigan. Michigan plummeted after the Notre Dame loss down to 70-1(!), and now after trouncing lowly Western Michigan, the Wolverines are all of a sudden back to +1250! What a difference seven days make.
I guess Michigan State now looks like lesser competition, but very few other factors really changed for the Wolverines — Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin all won, some impressively — to warrant this type of wild swing. If you did happen to bet the Wolverines 70-1 last week, you could bet the field vs. Michigan this week and already lock in guaranteed profit (albeit tiny profit considering limits), which is wild when you consider how little has happened.
Miami beat an FCS team, and fell from 125-1 down to about 28-1. It’s absolutely worth noting that there are now better prices on these teams available at multiple other books, once again highlighting the importance of shopping around. These are such badly mispriced futures that it’s possible typos could be in play. That’s how much I gasped.
Lastly, Stanford, which I mentioned had value in last week’s column, saw a modest drop from 75-1 to about 57-1 after dispatching USC.
Stanford has two good wins already this season — San Diego State and USC — but still continues to get very little credit, while a team such as Washington is just 15-1 with a loss already on its schedule.
Prices That Still Have Value
Aside from the Cardinal, who I just mentioned above (and still like), how about Mississippi State? It was 125-1 before the season (which I took), and after a dominant road win over Kansas State that was borderline non-competitive at times, the Bulldogs are 80-1. They actually got slightly more valuable from last week (opened at 75-1).
The schedule is tough, because easy schedules don’t exist in the SEC West. The Bulldogs do host Auburn, and avoid Georgia from the East. The game at Alabama on Nov. 10 may end up counting for everything, and I think there’s room for this price to fall between now and then.
A couple other prices I think are interesting: Boston College, which I mentioned last week, is back in no-man’s land at 750-1. That’s just too high.
I thought we had seen the end of the Eagles being mispriced. But despite Florida State struggling again and Clemson looking beatable against A&M, the Eagles’ price soared back up.
Two of BC’s next three opponents — Temple and Purdue — look even worse than they did last week, and Louisville (which comes to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 13) struggled to beat an FCS team Saturday.
BC still faces Wake Forest on Thursday night with Wake down its starting quarterback. I really think Boston College could be undefeated going into the Miami game on Oct. 26, and what’s this price by then? These are a lot of the same points as last week’s, but the evidence to support them grew stronger.
Lastly, if you’re someone who has been on the West Virginia bandwagon, which I admittedly have not been, the Mountaineers remain 50-1 (same as last week). That’s despite Texas looking bad (again) and running back Rodney Anderson now out for the season for Oklahoma.
Kansas State, you could argue, looks even worse as well. The factors surrounding the Mountaineers should have made them more valuable, but that was not reflected in the price, something you could take advantage of if you like their profile.