We. Are. Back. Baby.
Man, hard to believe I’ve been doing this now for a full decade, and GAM is now in its 7th year. Over the years we’ve made some money too — and that is our intention again this season. Featurin’ top o’ the line fancy maths and statistical modeling that only years of grad-level education could have provided (Thanks UAB! Thanks Vandy!)
And, for a third year, we extend our thanks to DraftKings for sponsoring Roll ‘Bama Roll in this space. For more degenerate gambling, fantasy, and sportsbook posts, you can check all of those out at the SBNation DraftKings Supergroup hub.
For current odds, check those out here.
We’ve already tossed out some Week Zero Picks — I did it a few weeks ago, in fact. You can find those right here:
Today, instead, we’re going to focus on some futures bets for the national picture: wins and titles, playoffs and flops — once again using all that fancy mathematical book learnin’.
All futures and props are via Draftkings:
Best Odds for Perfect Season
Ohio State +350 — 3 1⁄2 to 1 is fairly stingy as far as futures go. But, if you’ve seen the Buckeyes schedule, you’ll see why Vegas had to be parsimonious with this pick. The nearest contenders (PSU, UM) have some barriers to overcome to even begin to punch in this weight class. For starters, most of the heavy lifting is done in the ‘Shoe: Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State all come to C’Bus. The Buckeyes go to Madison, but they own the Badgers. The OOC is a joke — and, no, I’m not including that trip to Notre Dame. The Irish are rebuilt #cheeks, and still without quarterback. So, as usual, the season is a one-game affair: at The Big House. Are we suddenly pretending that OSU doesn’t have one of the best staffs and rosters in the country? I’m not willing to concede that. Speed kills; speed especially kills Michigan. And if Day doesn’t get cute, OSU has enough to run the regular season to 12-0.
Best Long(er) Shot for an undefeated Regular Season
FSU +$700 — Let’s just say that there is a whole lot to like about the ‘Noles. Outstanding offense. Playmakers all over the defense. Great coaching. And a schedule that features just one tough road game (at Clemson), and two other very manageable ones (at Florida, at Pitt). But none of those are insurmountable — not with what Norvell has on hand.
At 7:1, this is a very good value pick.
Worst Short Odds for an Undefeated Regular Season
Alabama +$380 — Do I think Alabama can run the table? Of course I do. But I also believe that this team will not fully round into form until later in the season. And there are some nasty games both out of the gate (Texas Week 2), as well as ones laying in wait down the stretch (at Kentucky, at Auburn). And don’t overlook that Oct 7 game in College Station. It’s not just one road game: it’s the night cap on a four-game stretch that sees Alabama hit the road three times. That’s simply brutal. I don’t know that Alabama gets out without at least one loss...even if they make it to Atlanta.
Sure, these are short odds at 3.8 to 1, but it’s still a waste of money
Worst Odds to Make the Playoffs
Washington +$2200 — At first blush, 22:1 is a pretty good bet for a preseason Top 10. But then you start looking. And, my god, have you seen the Huskies defense? The offense can score on anyone...well, they could. They lost their starting running back last night, on a team that leans on the ground to open plays up for Penix. And the schedule? They travel to Oregon State, to USC, to East Lansing, to a reborn and dangerous Arizona squad. They host giant killing Boise right out of the gate. And, for good measure, in the middle of the season, the Ducks come calling.
If you want my guess of who comes crashing down to earth the hardest in 2023? Besides Tennessee, it’s this one right here. Sorry, Doogs.
Best Odds to Make the Playoffs
Georgia $220 — Yep. These f’n guys. No matter how much the East is improving around them, the talent gap is glaring. Carson Beck will essentially do the same thing that Honky McCrackerson did the last 17 years: hand off to a deep stable of backs, get the pass to McConklin and Bowers PDQ, a few YOLO shots a game, and not make mistakes. He will make them, sure. But look on the schedule and tell me where you see even a likely loss? I don’t see a single one. There are few “maybes,” but that could be hope more than anything. And certainly there’s not a gimme L in the regular season.
This team will sleepwalk into the playoffs. Divisionless football is going to be a rude, rude awakening.
Best Odds to Go Under Win Totals
Colorado O/U 3.5 — I honestly don’t see even two gimme wins on a team that is this bad. Look at the schedule. Maybe at home vs. Colorado State? Maybe at home vs. Stanford? Otherwise, there are 2-3 tossups and half a dozen or more guaranteed losses. Take the under and profit.
BONUS TOTALS PICK
Nebraska O/U 6.5 — Look, I’m as high on Rhule as anyone else. He’ll get the Huskers turned around. But it won’t be in Year One. His MO has been to have a ghastly Year One, then turn it around and improve drastically in Year Two and Three. Again, look for that to be the case, especially in a conference with as much parity as the Big 10...and especially with roadies to Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Sparty. Hell, even the home games drew Maryland and Michigan out of the East. Going 6-6 and getting back to a bowl would be a great year for the Huskers. 7-5 may be too much to ask for. The breakout is next season.
There ya’ go. Something to think about as we vrooooom into Week Zero.
For those of you who subscribe to (Almost) Giving Away Money, we’ll have far more granular picks for you over at that site, including: Projected conference winners, select win totals, and more. Look for those this afternoon or tomorrow.
Now, get out there and go make some funny.
Alabama: Over 10.5 regular season wins?
This poll is closed
Want some more of these? I crank the data for every single game over at my companion site: (Almost) Giving Away Money. Check it out, and prosper. You can’t even get a street handy for the five bucks that this costs.