What Are the Odds?

It's a question people ask all the time: "What are the odds?" Most of the time it's a figurative question, but in Las Vegas the question rules just about everyone's thoughts.

While I was in town for the Scout.com national convention, I wondered what some of early odds for college football might reveal about the coming season. They're called "Futures", and the only one offered on college football was at the sportsbook inside the Palms Casino on the strip. The odds were for the winner of the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, January 4th, 2006.

There was no fortune to be made betting on Southern Cal to three-peat as national champion. The Trojans are a heavy favorite to win it all again this year, paying less than even money at 5/6 as of May 3rd.

The second best odds on the board were with Ohio State at 8/1. The Buckeyes finished 11-2 with a 33-7 win over Oklahoma State. Not having a championship game in the either the Big Ten or the Pac-10 might be a built in advantage for the top teams from those conferences.

Three traditional powers come in next with 12/1 odds: Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma, and another power, Miami, has 14/1 odds. Of course that's to be expected because the tradition winners tend to receive more early bets – success breeding success.

The first Southeastern Conference squads appear at 15/1, they are Florida and LSU – interesting because both teams will be led by first-year coaches. Next in the SEC, Tennessee comes in with 25/1 odds. The Vols lost three games last year (two to Auburn) and their thrashing of Texas A&M left a good impression. The Vols also have a hefty fan following to boot.

The oddsmakers have Georiga in at 33/1. They lost David Greene but have an experienced quarterback in D.J. Shockey back on the squad. Georgia is more favored than Auburn – the Tigers are 35/1 odds to make it to the Rose Bowl and win.

It might be unrelated, but having the odds makers have picked up on the general consensus that the SEC West will be inferior to the East.

The rest of the SEC teams listed on the Palms board are true long shots. South Carolina, riding the instant national recognition brought by Steve Spurrier, is a 75/1 long shot to win the Rose Bowl.

Alabama and Arkansas appeared on the board with 100/1 odds to win the BCS title game Arkansas 100/1, Alabama 100/1 – sharing 100/1 odds with teams such as N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Missourri, Arizona State, Minnesota, Oregon State and Northwestern.

Fans wanting a true long shot, however, can choose the home town UNLV Runnin' Rebels, at 250/1 odds.


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