The 2011-2012 BCS Championship odds have now been available for more than a month. In that time, we’ve seen Auburn jump all the way to 70-1 as both Cam Newton and Nick Fairley declared for the NFL Draft, and have recently seen some other significant changes on the board as well.
What do these line movements mean? While it’s difficult to handicap these teams before spring ball comes around, this does give you a very sound idea on which teams the public has faith in, or doesn’t have faith in, in the early going.
Here’s a look at a handful of the teams that are getting action, and others who might not be being bet as much as the odds makers originally anticipated.
Who’s Being Bet?
Stanford: Opened 25/1, Current 18/1
Not a surprise and you can attribute this odds shift to the fact that Andrew Luck is coming back next season. Remember, when these initial odds came out many had him pegged as a Carolina Panther. Even with a new coach, 18/1 with the best player in the country at the most important position feels like a steal. Others agree.
Ohio State: Opened 20/1, Current 16/1
I felt 20/1 was a bit high early on even with the fab tat’d five, and the bettors responded by putting significant dollars on the Buckeyes. If Ohio State can get through Miami on the road and Michigan State at home in these first few games they have a very real opportunity to finish unbeaten. Get 16/1 while you can if you like ‘em.
Oregon: Opened 14/1, Current 12/1
Although the o-line will need to be reworked and there are players on both sides that will need to be replaced, LaMichael James and Darron Thomas are back. On top that, folks still recall that this was the same team who just lost the game’s biggest game by a last-minute field goal. At 12/1, the public likes what they see…
Alabama: Opened 15/2, Current 11/2
The second favorite on the board behind the Sooners came down a bit, meaning Bama has been bet a bit by the Vegas folks. It’s well documented that Bama has lost plenty of NFL talent, but they also still have plenty to go around. While 5.5 to 1 isn’t superb value, that isn’t stopping a lot of money from coming in and moving the line.
South Carolina: Opened 50/1, Current 35/1
These odds came out just before Jadeveon Clowney signed his LOI, so this isn’t public “freak” dollars pouring in. No, people are taking a shot on the Gamecocks and at 50/1 and it’s hard to blame them. Do I think they’ll win they ’12 national title? Not one bit, but at 50/1 and even 35/1 I don’t blame anyone for taking a shot.
Arizona State: Opened 125/1, Current 75/1
The big mover on the board is an interesting proposition, although 75/1 doesn’t exactly mean bettors are closing down casinos to get their Sun Devils’ bets in. If you think Dennis Erickson is poised for a BCS title run, and apparently some do, then by all means hop aboard.
Movin’ On Up
Oklahoma: Opened 7/2, Current 15/4
So the odds didn’t move a ton, but you can now get 3.75/1 vs. 3.5/1. It’s no surprise to see the odds drop, in fact, I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t move further. People hate to bet the chalk and will try to find value elsewhere. On paper, Oklahoma is clearly the most talented bunch in the country and will remain the favorite throughout the offseason.
TCU: Opened 20/1, Current 28/1
Although they lose QB Andy Dalton, TCU still returns a fair amount of talent and have a very manageable schedule. Their schedule should be so manageable that it could kill their chance to get the BCS title game. It’s difficult to go unbeaten, regardless of whom you play. Throw into the mix that you still could be left out unscathed and it’s easy to see why the odds are moving up.
Texas A&M: Opened 35/1, Current 40/1
Here’s a team that will generate plenty of buzz going into next season, yet the odds are still falling. Although the public doesn’t know much about the Aggies strong 2011 outlook just yet, this could be a very nice surprise come next fall. A trip to Oklahoma in November will be a bear, but 40/1 seems like a steal.
Penn State: Opened 20/1, Current 28/1
Many, including myself, were surprised to see Penn State open up at 20/1 and the second favorite in the Big Ten. Although the odds makers liked Penn State on paper, they haven’t been bet as such thus far. PSU can be had for 28/1 and I wouldn’t hurry to bet them just yet. Even better odds are in their future as time goes along.
Arkansas: Opened 30/1, Current 50/1
Ryan Mallett is gone and Vegas has responded accordingly. It’s not shocking to see the Hogs jump up this high with their best player headed to the NFL, and it’s also hard to know what to expect from Arkansas next season. Traveling to Alabama and LSU in 2011 certainly appears like a challenge. The early money, or lack of, feels the same way.
West Virginia: Opened 30/1, Current 50/1
Bill Stewart’s last hurrah is worth at least a couple of bucks, right? Well, apparently not as WVU’s odds have moved quite a bit since they opened. The Big East was dreadful in 2010 but should be poised for a nice comeback in 2011. If you think West Virginia is going to lead such charge than take advantage of a good price.
For a full rundown of the 2011-2012 odds, and to see where your team stacks up check out Bodog.com.