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Betting On College Futures

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(My Sportsbook) - Is it a good idea to make future book wagers?

Probably not when it comes to college football. The season is so short and its almost impossible for teams to recover during the year. Once a team drops a pair of games they are finished.

In all other sports, even the NFL, its easy for clubs to recoup following a few defeats.

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Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers of a year ago: They were coming off a 15-1 regular season record and were one of the favorites to win the 2005 Super Bowl. But bettors received much better odds later in the season when they were holding steady with a 7-5 mark after losing to the Bengals in Week 13.

Another perfect example came last week when the Cardinals won the World Series. They were getting 7-1 odds before the season began and were also 7-1 at the All-Star Break. However, based on their second half slide, the Cards were 13-1 to win it all when the playoffs began. Those gamblers who put a future bet on St. Louis back in March must have been killing themselves when the season ended.

(On a side note, congrats go out to Tony La Russa and the Cardinals for sticking it to the American League.)

Lets take a look at college football and the odds of the top teams to win the BCS Championship from back on August 28. Notre Dame was actually the favorite at 5-1. Despite its 7-1 record, the Irish are currently ranked 9th in the BCS Poll thanks to an embarrassing loss to Michigan.

They will need lots of help as seven teams in front of them must lose and, of course, Notre Dame must win out. One other tidbit must be included and thats the actual BCS Championship Game. The Irish have lost eight straight bowls, so even if they were to reach the BCS title game, they still must get the victory.

Ohio State was a close second choice at 11-2 and is currently the heavy favorite to win it all. Betting the Buckeyes at that price could turn out to be the right play, despite my pre-season insistence that Michigan would win the Big Ten, and at 22-1 odds, was the better value.

The Wolverines were the 12th choice prior to the season and it will all come down to one game: the showdown with the Buckeyes on November 18 in Columbus. Ohio State has to be considered the favorite as head coach Jim Tress el is 4-1 both SU and ATS against Michigan, 2-0 at home.


Imagine the horror for those who wagered a pretty penny on Oklahoma back in July, only to find out quarterback Rhett Bomar was axed from the team in early August. The Sooners were 15-2 to win the BCS title, but had zero chance with Paul Thompson under center.

Another team that had its season ruined early on was California. The Golden Bears suffered a crucial injury when cornerback Tim Mixon tore his ACL during a practice at the end of August. His replacement, SydQuan Thompson, cost them the game against Tennessee, as he was beat twice for Volunteers touchdowns.

California was 25-1 at the time and is now ranked number 10 in the latest BCS Poll. Unfortunately for the Bears, Southern Cal lost to Oregon State. Even if they beat the Trojans later in the year, they wont be able to move up much higher. If they had defeated Tennessee in their first game, they would be ranked third in all the polls and have an excellent shot at the title.

Speaking of USC, the Trojans began the season at odds of 17-2 and barely squeaked by almost every Pac 10 opponent prior to the OSU game. That contest was their first loss of the year, but the fifth straight game they failed to cover. USCs season is virtually over with games still left against Cal, Oregon and Notre Dame.


Thats what they should rename the Big East these days. The only conference with three undefeated teams has a chance at a big payday come January 8. West Virginia, third choice in the pre-season at 13-2 odds, will do battle with Louisville (30-1) this coming Thursday night in Kentucky.

The Mountaineers have the better chance of the two teams since they are third in the BCS rankings, while the Cardinals are fifth, with Florida stuck in between. However, with a win over WVU, Louisville should jump to third. Since the game will be played at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium, its very likely that a Cardinals win could happen.

Last years game was a classic triple-overtime contest with West Virginia coming out on top, 46-44. Louisville led 24-7 in the fourth quarter before the Mountaineers mounted their comeback. Still, the Cardinals outgained them 459 to 390, playing the game on the road.

Louisville has withstood major injuries to key players but has survived due to an easy schedule. Quarterback Brian Brohm returned to face Cincinnati and now has two games under his belt after missing two prior games. Nonetheless, if the Cardinals were to win this game, it will be up to their defense, one that has given up just two rushing touchdowns the entire season and are allowing only 2.5 yards per rush. Those numbers will come in handy against the run- based Mountaineer offense.

The bottom line is: betting futures in college football is a necessity, since almost every teams odds will go down as the season progresses. Plus, its extremely difficult for a club to come out of nowhere by mid-season and actually have a chance to win the championship contest without a playoff system.


The top play of the week comes from the SEC as Florida travels to Vanderbilt. If there was ever a sandwich game, this is it for the Gators. They had their annual clash with Georgia last Saturday and host Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks the following week. In the meantime, they must face Vandy in Nashville.

The Commodores are 4-5 and last in the SEC East with a 1-4 mark, but have won four of their last six, including a victory over Georgia in Athens. They also held their own with Arkansas and Alabama, losing by a combined five points.

Florida, despite being ranked fourth in the BCS, is averaging a shade less than 23 points per game in conference play. That will not cut it, especially when giving two touchdowns on the road.

These two teams met last year in a similar scenario for the Gators as they were coming off a 14-10 win over a DJ Shockley-less Georgia club, and had their first match-up with Spurrier and South Carolina the following week. Guess what happened? Vanderbilt, as 19-point underdogs, took Florida to double overtime before falling, 49-42.

Go with Vandy plus the points.

Oklahoma State takes on Texas after bringing down Nebraska, 41-29. The Cowboys offense has been on fire the last few weeks scoring 75 points combined vs. Kansas and Texas A&M in the two games prior to the Nebraska win. Their lowest scoring output this year has been 25 against Houston. They should be able to score often against the Longhorns, who have allowed 82 points in their last three games.

Okie State has actually outscored Texas 63-26 in the first half the last two years combined, but the Longhorns were able to shut out the Cowboys 77-0 in the second half combined to win both contests. Expect a much closer game with Vince Young out of the picture.

Take Oklahoma State plus the points.

There are many other big plays this Saturday so be prepared to open the wallets wide. LSU, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, San Jose State and Arizona State are all worthy of action.


Ohio State now OWNS the top spot after its pounding of Minnesota. LSU holds the two spot by itself and Oklahoma reaches the top 10 for the first time this season.

1) Ohio State, 110; 2) LSU, 105; 3) Texas, 104; 3) Cal, 104; 5) Clemson, 102; 6) Louisville, 101; 7) West Virginia, 100; 8) Michigan, 99.5; 8) Florida, 99.5; 8) Oklahoma, 99.5.

Posted by MySportsbook October 31, 2006, at 01:12 PM ET
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