Category Archives: What’s Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

“Georgia’s gonna win by double digits.”

At least in terms of the Dawgs covering the spread tomorrow, Clay Travis delivers the kiss of death here:

I think the dudes at Eleven Warriors used to run a regular feature betting the opposite of Travis’ picks.  They always finished the year making money.

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Sooooo… how’s that whole gap thing going, Gators?

Swimmingly, it appears.

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Today, in ain’t played nobody

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Steele’s Vegas Power Rankings

For what it’s worth

When I worked for ESPN full time, I put out a weekly article entitled the Vegas Power Ratings. I still have all the sources that I used to produce that article as it featured my plus/minus ratings which closely resemble Vegas’s numbers as well as three different casinos including the fine folks over at the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook @SuperBookSports. We are now four full weeks into the season and I will post these numbers weekly.

This is not the AP poll but gives you an idea of how much teams would be favored over another team if they met on a neutral field. I use these to get an idea of lines on upcoming games and it is very accurate in that respect.

Two things there.  One, Auburn and Arkansas are basically a toss up for the casinos.  Two, take the ratings spread between Georgia and Auburn, add back in something for homefield advantage and you’ve basically got this week’s point spread.

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This week’s meeting of the Overachievers Club is now in session.

I have seen more than a few folks suggest this week that Saturday’s game reminds them of two previous Georgia games, the 2017 Mississippi State game and the 2015 one against Alabama.  Apparently, Arkansas is like MSU in the former and Georgia in the latter.

Honestly, I’m not feeling it.  That 2017 Mississippi State team’s rep coming in was built on a whipping of an LSU team that lost a couple of weeks later to Troy and finished 9-4.  Arkansas’ resume already has two wins over top-20 teams.  In 2015, Georgia actually found itself as the favorite in several quarters; nobody in Vegas sees the Hogs in a similar light.

But the real reason I’m not seeing it is because there’s been a complete absence of cockiness and trash talk emanating from Fayetteville this week.  Sam Pittman isn’t Dan Mullen.  And I doubt his team makes a pre-game effort to stare down the Dawgs, as Georgia tried with ‘Bama.  (Yeah, that worked well.)

Some of that — probably a lot of that — is because of the personal relationship Pittman and Smart share.  There’s too much respect flowing both ways for either to let their teams show their ass.

But there’s another factor that I think is in play here.  Arkansas under Pittman is an impressive 11-3 against the spread.  And, if anything, that’s intensified in 2021.  The topper is that, per Bill Connelly ($$), Georgia’s been overachieving, too.

Georgia Bulldogs: 75% vs. the spread, +14.4 points per game. The only time the Bulldogs didn’t cover this year was when they allowed South Carolina (+31.5) a garbage-time touchdown to turn a 40-6 cover into a 40-13 loss. The Dawgs have been rampant and just passed Alabama for No. 1 in both SP+ and ESPN’s FPI.

Arkansas Razorbacks: 100% vs. the spread, +13.3 points per game. The Hogs were projected to improve, but they’ve done more than that — they’ve already taken down both Texas and Texas A&M, and they’re 4-0 for the first time in 18 years. Now they get a shot at fellow overachiever Georgia.

Georgia’s already beaten the spread by more than 25 points in two games this season and the Dawgs have absolutely trashed Connelly’s SP+ as a predictor, missing Georgia games by an average of 16.4.

Both of these teams are way beyond living up to expectations so far this season.  Trash talking that kind of effort seems pretty silly.  In other words, save the comparisons for another time.

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While we’re talking about the offense…

here’s a take at The Athletic ($$) about the home opener.

UAB at Georgia -24.5, 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday

This UAB defense didn’t just look good because they were playing Jacksonville State. It has played very well over the past few years. They have made things difficult on some of the more prolific offenses in the NCAA. They will not be intimidated by Georgia’s offense. They will welcome the challenge. The Dragons’ offense will be intimidated, or at least they should be. The Georgia defense is for real. The job of the UAB offense will be to not give up points to Georgia on that side of the ball. If they take care of the ball, the UAB defense will hang with this Georgia offense. They won’t shut them down, but this will not be a blowout.

Pick: UAB covers, 24-3 Georgia

“If they take care of the ball” is the magic phrase there.  UAB is certainly a respectable program and when I saw that spread, I did wonder about it.  But if Georgia winds up in positive turnover margin territory, I don’t see UAB covering.

Your thoughts?

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Stupid is as stupid does.

This is what you call a sucker bet.

Honestly, I’d love to know what goes into the thought process that leads to a “yeah, think I’ll lay almost a quarter of a million dollars on a Tennessee football team to do something right”.

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Three betting takes on the opener

Pat Forde:

Clemson vs. Georgia (21). When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Where: Charlotte. Line: Clemson by three. How big is it: With the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the AP poll, this is the highest-ranked opener since No. 1 Alabama beat No. 3 Florida State in 2017. That game turned out to be a bit of a dud, and the Seminoles’ season was doomed after a late injury to quarterback Deondre Francois. Let’s hope for better this time.

The overreaction if Clemson wins: Kirby Smart still can’t win the big one. He’s just a recruiter who is slightly better than Mark Richt but will never be Vince Dooley.

The overreaction if Georgia wins: Clemson’s run is done. Opponents have figured out the defensive signal stealing and it’s over.

Reality: Barring a 40–0 result, the loser of this game sustains no irreversible damage. The winner can start dreaming College Football Playoff dreams.

Stat: Dabo Swinney is 11–1 in season openers, with his only loss to Georgia. Smart is 5–0.

Matchup: How does Clemson’s good-not-great offensive line fare against a Georgia front seven that features half a dozen NFL prospects?

Dash pick: Georgia 24, Clemson 21.

If I recall correctly, the over/under is in the fifties, so Forde is really sold on both team’s defenses.

Adam Kramer:

But if I were a Georgia fan and not just a gambler sitting on an array of Bulldogs future tickets — and I’ll get to those — I would feel good about this team. Not overly confident. Good. History says feeling any other emotion might be unwise.

Now, things aren’t perfect. The injury bug has already impacted Georgia at tight end (Darnell Washington) and defensive back (Tykee Smith). Arik Gilbert, the team’s star offseason acquisition, is also currently not with the team for personal reasons.

These issues are real, but elite teams can overcome these types of issues. And to me, Georgia is not only an elite team but the best team in college football.

I bet Georgia to win the national title. The Bulldogs are currently + 700. I bet them to win the SEC (currently + 200). I have them over 10.5 (currently -130). And I have J.T. Daniels to win the Heisman (currently 12-1).

And yes, I like Georgia (+ 3) against Clemson this week in what could wind up being the best game of the college football season.

The talent across both sides of the ball at seemingly every position is spectacular. And while quarterback has always been a mixed bag, JT Daniels has the gifts to change that.

The narrative, of course, says otherwise. Unfair or not, Georgia has long been regarded as a resource-rich team incapable of conquering the sport despite so many advantages and close calls. Given the historic and absurd run of Alabama in the same conference, that feels a bit unfair.

From his lips…

And, finally, from The Athletic’s Austin Mock ($$):

Georgia under 10.5 +105 (projected for 9.9 wins)

Georgia opens up with the equivalent of a playoff game against Clemson where they’re an underdog, so 0-1 isn’t far-fetched. The offense did start to click when J.T. Daniels was inserted as the starter, but I’m not sure the opponents were of the quality where I’m giving the Georgia offense the benefit of the doubt. Add in Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs always dropping a game they have no business losing, and you can understand why Georgia under 10.5 at plus money has value.

And there’s your turd in the punch bowl.

Thoughts?

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Best SEC college football bets

Per ESPN ($$):

Georgia Bulldogs +750 to win national title

Connelly: I’ve joked all summer about how I’m confidently and boldly stepping on the Georgia rake once more, ignoring decades of Dawg underachievement because their quarterback looked good for four games last season. I think we’ve gone a little far with the underachievement talk, though. Georgia was one play from the national title in 2017 and one play from a repeat CFP appearance in 2018. And even though they HAVE underachieved the last two seasons, they’re also 20-1 against teams that didn’t have top-5 offenses. And before he shined late in 2020, JT Daniels was a five-star quarterback holding his own at USC. All this is a long way of saying that Georgia is one of the most talented teams in the country and basically needs to split two key games — vs. Clemson in the season opener and vs. Alabama (or Texas A&M, or whoever) in a potential SEC Championship matchup. And if they reach the CFP, they’ll either be the most talented overall team or very close to it. Seems to make +750 odds worth it.

Good thing I don’t have a ranch to bet.

Also, this is exactly how I feel about Auburn’s chances to win more than seven games this season.

QB Bo Nix returns and I expect his inconsistent play to follow suit. I suppose new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo could unlock him but I will continue to fade that until it actually happens.

Tank Bigsby averaged 13.8 carries per game last season under Gus.  Is there any chance, barring injury, he’ll be under that number in 2021?  Not if Nix and Bobo have anything to do with it.

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TFW the buildup is better than the punchline

Interesting, PFF.

We are exactly two months away from FBS football kicking off on a Saturday afternoon. And the release of PFF’s College Football Preview Magazine makes this the perfect time to highlight the best betting opportunities on FBS futures odds.

Let’s dive into the best bets to make based on PFF’s vast college database that powers our NCAA Greenline product and our latest season-long simulation. We will walk through every conference, highlighting the teams with the most value based on market expectation.

Tell me more.

Alabama and Georgia — the usual suspects leading the conference — are expected to finish atop the SEC, combining for 68% of the implied probability to win the conference title. Both blue-blood schools have over a 50% probability of winning their respective divisions.

Five of the top 10 teams with the best odds to win the national championship play in the SEC, making it once again the deepest conference in college football. Whichever team emerges from the conference title game will be the odds-on favorite to receive the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Coolio.  So what’s the best bet for the Dawgs, given that lead in?  Winning the division?  Making the CFP?  What?

GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Win Total: 10.5 -134 | 105
Conference Odds: 28.6%
Playoff Chances: 25.0%
Championship Odds: 12.5%

Best bet: Georgia under 10.5 wins +105

The story of the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs will come down to the play of quarterback J.T. Daniels, who has yet to live up to his five-star recruit status. Daniels has put together only two games with an 80.0-plus PFF passing grade in 16 college starts. Georgia isn’t exactly easing into their 2021 schedule, either, with a neutral site contest to start the season against Clemson. Georgia is currently a four-point underdog and doesn’t look to have many one-sided matchup wins on paper.

From a betting perspective, one of the easiest ways to play the Bulldogs is on their under win total, which provides zero wiggle room in the event they lose in Week 1. The betting market seems set on Daniels playing closer to his recruitment status than his true performance over the past three years. If he once again fails to deliver on that promise, then the Bulldogs should fall well short of their win total. PFF’s simulation has them with a median win total of 9.5, which offers plenty of value given the +105 price on their under 10.5 betting line.

Gee, thanks.

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