Vegas Odds to Win the Super Six Conferences

Posted by rtmsf on October 28th, 2010

Last week we took a look at the Vegas odds for the 60 or so teams that sportsbooks offer futures wagers on to win the 2011 national championship.  In a complete surprise to nobody, Duke was at the very top of the list, but there were several mild eyebrow-raisers in the slots after the Blue Devils — Kentucky at #2, Memphis at #5, UNC at #7.  This week we thought it might be interesting to take a look at another futures bet that is offered: the odds for each team to win its conference regular season title.  Again, these odds aren’t necessarily an indication of what Vegas “thinks” will happen; it’s more a combination of market forces and line shading toward the more popular teams.  But these gambling establishments are not in the business of losing money, so there are some nuggets of information that we can draw from their established odds (e.g., if you think anyone but Duke will win the ACC this season, you’re a steaming hunk of moron).  Let’s break it down.  Each conference will have a few thoughts after its table.

Ed. note: keep in mind that Vegas doesn’t set its odds to add up to 100%; if they did that, they’d never be able to sucker people and make any money on long-term futures bets.  So these percentages do not represent the “true” chances of winning the conference; rather, they represent what Vegas is willing to risk on those teams. 

Quick ACC Thoughts.

  • Are there any surprises here?  Not really.  Duke is a prohibitive favorite for a reason — even if they have injuries, there’s not a lot of depth to this league right now.  UNC, an NIT team last year who lost its top three scorers, getting love as a strong second tells you a lot about the uncertainty of this conference beyond the Blue Devils.
  • Vegas doesn’t like Virginia Tech nearly as much as the pundits — that clearly has something to do with its recent history as an underachiever. 
  • Look at Maryland pretty far down the list — that’s not a typical position for the Terps to be in under Gary Williams.  Given their “brand name” value-add, Vegas must really not be fond of Jordan Williams and company this coming season. 

Quick Big 12 Thoughts.

  • This is a crazy grouping at the top, with four schools basically acting as co-favorites — Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas and Texas.  Again we see another school (the Longhorns) living off its recruiting prowess and not its actual performance with such a high placement.
  • In our opinion, Missouri is a darkhorse candidate to not only win the Big 12 this season but also go to the Final Four.  Yet there the Tigers sit at +800 and 11.1%.  We’re not sure there’s a better value in this entire post if you’re so inclined.
  • There may not be a better duo in the Big 12 than Alec Burks and Cory Higgins at Colorado, but the Buffs aren’t getting any love from Vegas.  The CU situation is an interesting comparison with Georgia in the SEC — both teams bring back two all-conference caliber players from a mediocre squad last year.  Yet, while the experts seem to like the ‘Dawgs this year, Colorado hasn’t gotten the same traction.  Is it a Big 12 vs. SEC thing; is it the coaching (Mark Fox vs. Tad Boyle)?

Quick Big East Thoughts.

  • There’s something particularly disdainful about not being considered good enough to get your own line-item odds in a conference listing.  Yet DePaul, South Florida, Providence and Cincinnati – take a bow.   You’re part of the Big East “field.”  Hey, give us Gus Gilchrist, Marshon Brooks, Yancy Gates and Cashmere Wright to start a team with, and we might just come in sixth in this league. 
  • We’re still having trouble digesting how Louisville is anywhere near the top half of this conference, but as we have stated multiple times before, Vegas tends to make fools of people like us. 
  • If you’re interested in taking a chance on some of the lower teams in any conference, this might be your best opportunity — Marquette, UConn, St. John’s and Seton Hall are all capable of making some noise.  Whether they can do it for an entire Big East slate is another matter, but it’s worth watching.

Quick Big Ten Thoughts.

  • Prior to Robbie Hummel’s injury, we were probably looking at Purdue in the +150 or +200 range.  They’re still not a bad value at +500 — how many other teams in the league have an E’Twaun Moore and a JaJuan Johnson?  Plus, Michigan State and Tom Izzo rarely seems to care about the regular season.
  • Surprised to see Northwestern so high considering that Kevin Coble is no longer playing basketball and, you know, the school last won the Big Ten during the Great Depression (1933).
  • Minnesota and Indiana equally valued?  Tubby Smith will have a solid team returning to Minneapolis.  We’re not sure we can say the same about Tom Crean, although the Hoosiers should be improved.

 
Quick Pac-10 Thoughts.

  • Most everyone thinks Washington is going to roll up this conference and smoke it this year.  So why is Arizona the co-favorite according to the odds?  Derrick Williams is vastly underrated, and Sean Miller is a helluva coach.  Maybe the books are onto something here…
  • USC returns a solid core of players, adds Jio Fontan mid-year and plays sticky defense for Kevin O’Neill.  The Trojans could be a darkhorse selection in a league that is fairly wide open once again.
  • Among the Super Six conferences, Vegas is providing the truest odds for these ten teams that make up the Pac-10.  Adding their total odds together gives you 144%, which means if you’re willing to give up on Arizona and Washington, you can have the other eight teams as a value selection.

Quick SEC Thoughts. 

  • The SEC continues to annoy us this week.  Not only do they have seventeen members on their preseason all-conference team (not made up), but the books are only giving odds on the chances to win the division, not the overall conference (yes, we know it’s not their fault, but we can still be annoyed).
  • With that said, Kentucky is the favorite over Florida in the SEC East, a reversal of what you might expect based on the preseason selections in that league.  But based on what we saw last week in terms of winning the title, it’s closer than you think (only a 4.4% difference in odds).
  • The SEC West is its standard hot mess, but the choice of Alabama as co-favorite over Ole Miss (by a considerable margin) along with Mississippi State is intriguing.  In our minds, Alabama is a distant third or fourth in this division.   
rtmsf (3737 Posts)


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3 Responses to “Vegas Odds to Win the Super Six Conferences”

  1. Andrew says:

    Gimme: NC St, Mizzou, Seton Hall, Wiscy, ASU and Georgia… I’d need just one of those longshots to come home…

  2. zhayes9 says:

    Missouri at +800 is definitely the best value.

  3. Brian says:

    I like Andrew’s line of thinking. I’d probably take all those teams except maybe Washington State in the Pac 10. Out of those, I think Georgia has the best chance.

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