As the College Football Playoff approaches, now is the time to get value on futures bets
If you like futures bets and feel good about a team or two down the stretch, now is the time you can get value throwing down some cash on a futures pick for the title.
I’m a fan of futures, but it can sometimes be a sucker’s bet. They’re tricky to time, often offering more value to the house. The key to making a good futures bet is breaking down a team’s road to getting there and simply doing the math to compound the odds and see if there is value.
Let’s check out a few favorites and explore why some are good bets and others are bad bets. The lines mentioned in this article come from the DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
Ohio State +200
Ohio State has the best personnel matchups, to me, the rest of the way out. They also likely have the most difficult schedule from here out, other than Georgia, possibly. They have three corners who will likely go in the top three rounds of the NFL draft, a defensive end who will go top three overall, and a quarterback who will likely be the Heisman frontrunner in a year.
This team is solid, their coaching is equally awesome, and their closest game has been a 24 point victory.
To me, they will be the favorites in every game from here out. This week, they’re playing the Penn State Nittany Lions and are 18.5 point favorites. This is where we compound a moneyline string and see if it’s a good bet. Okay, realistically, Ohio State should be able to drop the Michigan game and still make the playoff.
They’ll be two-touchdown favorites in that game, so let’s start after that game and do the math.
OSU -750 vs Minnesota/Wisconsin (Big 10 Title game). Playoff: OSU -400 vs Clemson, OSU -550 vs UGA, OSU -800 vs Oregon/Utah. Title Game would be OSU -120 vs LSU.
Compounded total: +150 (+/- 125 error)
Verdict: Good bet
Clemson has been a funny team in 2019. They haven’t played well throughout the course of the season and it really makes you wonder if they’re a legitimate contender. Last week’s demolition of a pretty good Wake Forest team was a reason to give their fans confidence, but it was also likely great for the field’s futures bets. Let’s look at their path and see what we think.
Clemson -450 vs South Carolina. Clemson -450 vs VT. Clemson +210 vs OSU. Clemson +190 vs LSU
Compounded total: +1250 (+/- 125 error)
Verdict: Terrible bet
You’re going to be much better off betting the Clemson moneyline game to game, rather than taking their futures bet. It just makes exponentially more sense. The Clemson futures line is a sucker’s bet because they’ll be the underdog likely in both legs of the playoff.
LSU likely will be a pick-em bet against only Ohio State. Their schedule should be straightforward. I like their offense but their rush defense is awful. I don’t like how they match up against Ohio State in theory. That being said, let’s look at their path and do the math.
LSU -300 vs UGA. LSU -400 vs Oregon/Utah, or LSU -250. LSU -110 vs OSU
Compounded total: +275 (+/- 125 error)
Verdict: Good bet, probably
Seeding matters a lot with this one, but if you like LSU to win the title, your odds with this futures bet will likely be in the same ballpark against the moneyline bets compounded.
From here out, it gets interesting. Georgia should roll against Georgia Tech but their path will be difficult from there, as they’ll be dogs in every game from the SEC title game on out.
UGA -750 vs GT. UGA +190 vs LSU. UGA +210 vs OSU. UGA +180 vs Clemson
Compounded total: +2500 (+/- 125 error)
Verdict: Bad bet
Just take the Dawgs moneyline bets each game and you’ll more than double the winnings of this futures bet.
It’s over, folks. This is a bad bet because without Tua, this team has no real shot. Their defense has been awful this season for long stretches and their offense can’t function without Tua. Even if you run out the numbers and do the math, this team would be around +3500 if you just took their moneyline bets compounded from here out.
Oregon, with a win over Utah in the Pac 12 title game, could be a decent dark horse candidate. Let’s look at the math.
Oregon -600 vs Arizona St. Oregon -650 vs Oregon St. Oregon -120 vs Utah. Oregon +300 vs LSU. Oregon +350 vs OSU.
Compounded total: +4200 (+/- 425 error)
Verdict: Coin Flip. Leaning bad bet
Similarly to Oregon, the path will be the same. If they win out, take out Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, they’ll likely get the #4 seed, play LSU and then Ohio State. Let’s run the numbers.
Utah -2300 vs Arizona. Utah -1450 vs Colorado. Utah -110 vs Oregon. Utah +350 vs LSU. Utah +400 vs OSU.
Compounded total: +3900 (+/- 525 error)
Verdict: Coin Flip. Leaning bad bet
Penn State +6600
Just don’t do it. This team is good, but they will be eliminated from contention this weekend. If you want to make this happen, just moneyline bet them from the Ohio State game, through the rest of their games.