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

What those preseason point spreads are telling us.

Chase Stuart does this exercise every preseason now – generates a set of team power rankings from the early betting lines.  I find it useful, because it provides some real insight into how Vegas sets up the season before it’s underway.  It you need a reminder of his methodology, here you go:

You may be wondering, how do we know how good Alabama’s opponents are? Well, we can imply the ratings of each team in college football based on these points spreads.  I explained how to do this last year, but here is the refresher:

The system is pretty simple: I took the point spread for each game and turned it into a margin of victory, after assigning 3 points to the road team in each game. Do this for every game, iterate the results hundreds of times ala the Simple Rating System, and you end up with a set of power ratings.

Two quick notes about the rankings.

1) These are not intended to be surprise. The methodology may be somewhat complicated, but all these ratings are intended to do is quantify public perception.

2) These are not “my” ratings. These are simply the implied ratings based on the Vegas (or, more specifically, the Golden Nugget) points spreads; nothing more, nothing less.

And here’s his top twenty.

 

As he notes, he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with this.  As a matter of fact, there’s a remarkable consistency at the top with others.

The top five teams based on implied vegas ratings are, in order, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson, Florida State. In Phil Steele’s top 10 rankings, he has Alabama at 1, Oklahoma at 3, at 5, Clemson at 2, and FSU at 4; in other words, that’s the same top five, just in a different order. ESPN’s FPI’s top six teams are FSU-LSU-Oklahoma-Clemson-Tennessee-Alabama. That, of course, is the same top six as these implied ratings. Bill Connelly at SB Nation? His top five was, as of February, also Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State.

Along those lines, Georgia at 12 doesn’t seem that out of line.  Also worth noting is that Georgia faces five of the top 22 teams in that set of ratings.  Add in Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Vanderbilt and that’s eight of the top 48 there.  There may be more meat on those scheduling bones than we’ve admitted.

Nothing definitive, of course, but it does shed some more light on the preseason perceptions of Georgia.

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First week CFB spreads…

are out, via the William Hill book.  Georgia still sits as a 3.5 favorite over North Carolina.

Other lines of interest:

  • Vanderbilt is favored at home over South Carolina.  Welcome to the Will Muschamp era, ‘Cocks!
  • The Clemson-Auburn spread has narrowed slightly, to +8.  I’m not really sure why.
  • Oklahoma is favored by ten over everyone’s mid-majors darling, Houston.
  • FSU is favored by six over Ole Miss.  Not sure how I feel about that.
  • And Notre Dame is only a four-point favorite over Texas.

Thoughts?

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An early look at SEC win totals

Chip Patterson’s gathered the info from Vegas Insider for the early lines on wins.  Here’s how the SEC looks on June 1:

Team Win Total Prices
Alabama 10 Over +100 Under -120
LSU 10 Over +100 Under -120
Tennessee 9.5 Over +105 Under -125
Georgia 8.5 Over -110 Under -110
Ole Miss 8.5 Over +100 Under -120
Arkansas 7.5 Over -120 Under +100
Florida 7.5 Over -125 Under +105
Auburn 6.5 Over -110 Under -110
Mississippi State 6.5 Over -120 Under +100
Texas A&M 6 Over -120 Under +100
Missouri 5.5 Over -110 Under -110
Kentucky 5 Over -110 Under -110
South Carolina 5 Over -110 Under -110
Vanderbilt 5 Over -110 Under -110

Patterson thinks taking the over on Georgia looks like the best bet on the board.

Before you jump in here one way or another, here are some advanced stats to ponder.  First, Brian Fremeau has his initial stab at 2016 strength of schedule rankings posted and here’s where the SEC teams stand:

  • Auburn – 1st
  • Mississippi State – 2nd
  • Texas A&M – 3rd
  • Ole Miss – 4th
  • Kentucky – 6th
  • Arkansas – 7th
  • Alabama – 8th
  • LSU – 9th
  • Florida – 11th
  • Missouri – 12th
  • Tennessee – 14th
  • South Carolina – 15th
  • Vanderbilt – 21st
  • Georgia – 43rd

Over at Team Speed Kills, David Wunderlich has taken the early S&P+ projections and fashioned what he calls an equivalency list of each SEC team.

What counts as “equivalent teams” is entirely subjective, but the measure I used is being within a touchdown’s worth of points. In the example above, Ole Miss is just outside of being a peer to Alabama. No. 2 LSU, with its S&P+ of 24.4, would be a peer of Alabama (and also of the Rebels, incidentally).

Enough setup. Here is how everything turned out:

TEAM S&P+ RANK S&P+ HIGHEST PEER LOWEST PEER TOTAL PEERS
Alabama 1 26.8 No. 4 Oklahoma 3
LSU 2 24.4 No. 1 Alabama No. 7 Ole Miss 6
Ole Miss 7 18.9 No. 1 Alabama No. 25 Texas A&M 23
Tennessee 9 17.0 No. 4 Oklahoma No. 30 Miami (FL) 25
Georgia 15 16.2 No. 4 Oklahoma No. 34 Texas 30
Arkansas 17 15.2 No. 4 Oklahoma No. 38 Iowa 33
Florida 19 14.5 No. 5 Florida State No. 39 Utah 34
Mississippi State 21 13.6 No. 5 Florida State No. 42 Minnesota 37
Auburn 24 12.5 No. 6 Michigan No. 45 WKU 37
Texas A&M 25 12.5 No. 6 Michigan No. 45 WKU 37
Missouri 47 5.1 No. 26 Nebraska No. 80 Air Force 54
South Carolina 63 2.8 No. 31 TCU No. 90 MTSU 59
Vanderbilt 69 1.8 No. 35 BYU No. 95 Ohio 61
Kentucky 83 -2.4 No. 51 Duke No. 105 Georgia State 54

Respectable projection for the Dawgs there.  Taken together with what, at least at this stage, appears to be a favorable schedule, I’d have to say that Patterson is on to something.  What do you guys think?

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8.5

That’s the over/under on Georgia’s 2016 win total, per the Golden Nugget’s sports book.

Check out Tennessee at 10.  That’s the top win total in the conference.

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Lines are forming.

Some more early betting  lines are starting to trickle out of Vegas.  (Week 1, which I’ve mentioned before, you can find here.)

If the lines are to be believed, the SEC East looks like it’ll be tight:  Tennessee-Georgia is a pick ’em and the Dawgs are a one-point favorite against the Gators.

Some other interesting spreads:

  • Oklahoma is a whopping nine-point favorite at home against Ohio State.
  • Alabama is a three-point underdog in Baton Rouge.
  • And Vegas is definitely not impressed with Auburn, which is listed as a big ‘dog against Clemson, Ole Miss and Alabama.

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May the points be with you.

Georgia is an early favorite in the opener.

Evidently the betting public isn’t as worried about the quarterback situation as we are.

Oh, yeah – looking good, Gus.

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Ignore Nick Chubb at your own risk.

Vegas now has Chubb at 20-1 to win the Heisman Trophy this season.  As Seth Emerson puts it, “That may not sound like much, but consider that a) there’s still no timetable for Chubb’s return, and b) there are only nine players with better odds for the Heisman.”

I keep saying the most amazing thing about Chubb is the level of certainty out there that he’ll be a significant contributor this season.

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