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Fun with 2012 Total Wins & BCS Title Futures

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How do odds makers view total wins versus talent

I am always looking for some kind of insight with numbers.  Simple figures that give you an idea of what experts are thinking or what simple trends show to make the best predictions for odds.

I was looking at both futures for the BCS National Championship game winner and total wins props for over/unders on each team.  In my CFBMatrix modeling it is clearly talent first to win a NCG  but you need the win total to get to the NCG.

By taking all the teams and ranking them by the odds makers lines for most likely to win and comparing those to the ‘overs’ odds of every team I paints a picture of what the smart folks behind the counter think about any particular football team.

Reading the Chart

The first group of rankings are in order of a team’s odds to win the National Title Game starting with the LSU Tigers.  In winning a NCG it starts with the talent to make it happen.  Next to each team is gives their projected ‘over’ line.  Some have a larger vig, like USC -205 for an over 10 game wager.  This shows that the line of 10+ wins is an easier over 10 wins for Oklahoma at +115.  Teams are then ranked in order of the odds makers expectations for a team to win over the number of games in the line.  The last column is the difference in ranking of projections to win the BCS national title versus the ranking to cover their total wins.  cont………

Teams with large positive numbers

The first big positive number that we come to in the final column is a +15 for Notre Dame.  This means that their ranking position to win the national title is 15 spots higher than their ranking position for expected total wins.   This tells me that a team like Notre Dame is seen by odds makers of having the talent to win it, but lacks the schedule and coaching to obtain the win total necessary to get to the title game.  These teams with big green numbers are your super dark horses for a BCS title win and over on the total wins.

Teams with large negative numbers

The first team with a big negative number is Boise State.  This is telling me the opposite about the positive rank differential teams.  These are teams, that even if by some off miracle they get to a national title game, their odds of winning at are low due to talent levels.  This, BTW, will only get worse with a 4 team playoff.

These are teams that have weak schedules and/or very good regular season coaching to get them to above average win totals for their talent.  Most of these teams have some combination in the CFBMatrix of a weak SOS and a solid coaching effect.  Boise, BYU and Louisville are great examples of this profile of weak scheduling.  Louisville has the added bonus of a negative game effect coach.  These are teams that you would avoid a BCS winner dark horses and even fade the over on total wins.

Using the chart

Having gone 17-5 on total wins recommended plays over the 2 season of Best Bets, I would use this chart as a potential due diligence tie breaker if you are on the fence in confirming a play.  However in my opinion, if you are on the fence, then avoid the bet as too risky.  If you are looking for a real dark horse to bet winning or even getting into the BCS title game then those 4 teams with big positive numbers may be your best risk.  I used 5Dimes lines for this study so there will be difference at other books, but it gives you an idea on a new angle of consideration.  Click Here to see current lines to consider for both at 5Dimes.

Dave Bartoo, The College Football Matrix
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