Photo courtesy of Baylor athletics
Welcome back to our series of articles going over the preseason win totals for all 131 FBS teams.
Thanks to Playoff Predictors for being a free site that allows each and every game to get picked. To ensure that we didn’t just blindly choose overs or unders, all 131 teams had their schedules picked.
Explaining the Math
All Power 5 win totals and odds are from June 13, so not all odds listed may be current. Group of 5 odds are not yet widely available at multiple sportsbooks, so those articles will get started whenever those odds are released, but the games have been picked.
Where sportsbooks had differing win totals, the combination of odds with the lowest hold was kept, because sports bettors usually look for the lowest holds before looking at any prices or numbers.
For those unaware, the hold is however much over 100% each side of the bet adds up to. It’s how the sportsbooks win bettors’ money in the long run.
A lower hold is better for bettors. Anything below 2% is considered good, and a negative hold is great because it means the bet is skewed in the bettor’s favor.
Plus odds (+) means that betting $100 will profit that much. Minus odds (-) means that to profit $100, a bettor must wager that much.
The sportsbooks considered — due to having all, or very nearly all, of the Power 5 teams — were PointsBet, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Barstool.
Special thanks to Kelley Ford. We’ll be referencing some of his models that he’s posted to his Twitter (@KFordRatings).
We’re able to take the odds and turn it into expected return. Expected return means how much profit should be expected per $1 wagered if the models are correct.
By his own admission, they’re not perfect. And as the old saying goes, “all models are wrong, but some are useful.”
They’re an interesting piece of the puzzle worth considering, but do not take any of these opinions as gospel. It’s all in good fun and to acknowledge just how wrong we were at the end of the season.
We continue this series with the Big 12:
Image Credit: Kelley Ford, Twitter
Iowa State — Over 6.5 wins; Confidence: 4/10
At DraftKings and PointsBet, the over is +100, while the under at DraftKings and PointsBet is -120. So, the hold is 4.55%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 57% chance that the Cyclones go over. This gives an expected return of $0.14 per $1 put on the over at DraftKings or PointsBet.
Iowa State only has four away games in conference play. One is Kansas, and another is TCU in November. Also, prior to hosting Oklahoma, Iowa State gets a bye week.
Between Breece Hall, Brock Purdy, Charlie Kolar, and other valuable contributors, Iowa State appears to be in a rebuilding year.
At the same time, a program like Iowa State has been built by Matt Campbell to be defined by the grit and determination to compete in a way that grinds out a minimum of seven wins.
Kansas State — Under 6.5 wins; Confidence: 5/10
At FanDuel, the over is -110, while the under at DraftKings is +115. So, the hold is -1.11%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 61% chance that the Wildcats go over. This gives an expected return of $0.16 per $1 put on the over at FanDuel.
Kansas State has become the trendy, dark horse Big 12 contender. We’re not buying it.
It only has four home games in conference, and one gets burned on hosting Kansas.
Missouri, Texas Tech, Iowa State, TCU, and West Virginia are all toss-up games. The Wildcats are going to need to win most of them to be on the right side of this win total.
Kansas — Under 2.5 wins; Confidence: 5/10
At DraftKings, the over is -110, while the under at Barstool and FanDuel is +105. So, the hold is 1.16%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 50% chance that the Jayhawks go under. This gives an expected return of $0.03 per $1 put on the under at Barstool or FanDuel.
Kansas plays an FCS team, 10 Power 5 teams, and a Group of 5 team returning its quarterback and coming off of a 12-win season.
We are firmly of the opinion that Lance Leipold is the right guy for the job in Lawrence. But this is going to take more than one year with an exciting win over Texas and an almost win over Oklahoma for us to think that Kansas finds enough wins.
If Kansas loses in either the first week vs. Tennessee Tech or the fourth week vs. Duke, over bettors can go ahead and pack this one in.
Texas Tech — Under 5.5 wins; Confidence: 6/10
At Barstool, the over is +115, while the under at FanDuel is -115. So, the hold is 0%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 54% chance that the Red Raiders go over. This gives an expected return of $0.16 per $1 put on the over at Barstool.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Texas Tech program currently, thanks to the incredible job that Joey McGuire and Co. have done on the recruiting trail.
But a homegrown, grassroots effort like that is going to take time and proper talent development to get Texas Tech to a bowl game.
The schedule for Texas Tech arranges nicely to get to bowl eligibility, with five home games and a bye week in the middle of the season.
We have the Red Raiders at 4-8 or 5-7, rather than the 6-6 necessary for this to go over.
A non-conference slate of Murray State, Houston, and NC State is more likely than not to produce a 1-2 start entering conference play. And if not 1-2, then 2-1.
So, Texas Tech would need to effectively go .500 in conference play to get to a bowl game. The last time Texas Tech had a winning record in conference play was 2009. For perspective’s sake, that’s when Nick Saban won his first national championship at Alabama.
In other words, it’s been so long that Texas Tech has done what would need to have happen, that the Alabama dynasty didn’t exist the last time it did.
Baylor — Over 7.5 wins; Confidence: 8/10
At DraftKings, the over is -130, while the under at DraftKings and PointsBet is +110. So, the hold is 4.14%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 46% chance that the Bears go under. This gives an expected return of -$0.03 per $1 put on the under at DraftKings or PointsBet.
Baylor’s conference schedule is pretty rough, with five away games and a home game against Kansas. In Week 2, the Bears travel to BYU — an incredibly challenging test for a new quarterback that will be making his second start as the guy.
That being said, Baylor has been disciplined and tough under head coach Dave Aranda. If a team is going to get through a gauntlet of a schedule, discipline and toughness are two necessary qualities.
Even with the tough schedule and new quarterback, Baylor should hit a minimum of 8-4. Even with a lot of the toss-up games going against Baylor, it’s very difficult to find five losses.