When Alabama lost outright to South Carolina last week as a favorite of about a touchdown, the Tide's odds to win the BCS title game went from the 3-1 range to 7-1 in Las Vegas.
The upset left three clear betting favorites in the BCS championship race: Ohio State at 2-1; Oregon at 7-2; and Boise State at 9-2.
Odds are from the Las Vegas Hilton, one of the best sports books in the city. This means that while you might find slightly better odds by shopping around rigorously, you could also do much worse at a subpar book. (In fact, many books have taken college football futures off the board entirely.)
Even so, I suggest Ohio State backers would do better using a money-line parlay on several of the Buckeyes' remaining regular-season games along with the title game.
For instance, I believe betting Ohio State to win outright against Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan plus its opponent in the title game, rolling the profits over each time, would yield at least 3.2-1 or so, perhaps a little better.
That's an imperfect strategy, of course: It does not account for the possibility of Ohio State losing one game along the way yet winning the title game anyway. Still, I find it preferable to the option of taking 2-1 now.
After the top three comes a handful of teams that at least partly "control their destiny," as the sports-talkers say: Auburn at 12-1; TCU at 10-1; Nebraska at 7-1; Oklahoma at 8-1; and, most intriguingly for the price, LSU at 20-1.
Boise could land atop the first set of BCS ratings when they are released Sunday, but the Broncos are expected to slip as the season progresses.
As a result, Boise's game at Nevada on Nov. 26 has taken on added significance. In early wagering, bettors can play Nevada getting 8 points in the game at the Las Vegas Hilton, or lay 7 1/2 points with Boise at all Lucky's sports books.
Oct. 15, 2010