2014 College Football Futures Odds: Teams with Best Value
by Trevor Whenham - 7/28/2014
When it comes to betting on college football futures, anyone can pick a favorite. There is no joy for bettors in that most times, though - the risk usually isn't reflected by the price, and even if it is you still have to tie your money up for too long. The best approach to betting on these futures - whether it is for conference champions or division winners - is to look at longer shots that have a chance to break through. It only takes one or two of those hitting to have a great year.
Here are five college football futures bets - one from each of the major conferences - that stand out as good value for your money ( odds are from Bovada):
Kansas State to win the Big 12 (10/1): Unless the last several years haven't scared you when it comes to trusting Oklahoma when they have high expectations, the Big 12 appears to be a wide-open conference. A team that isn't getting the respect they deserve - at least according to the odds - are the Wildcats. They have a quarterback in Jake Waters who was very good last year in his first year out of juco, and he has a pile of room for improvement this year. He has real breakout potential, a nice line to play behind - especially in the interior - and some really explosive weapons to play with. Defense is a slight concern for the team thanks to losses and a general lack of excellence in recent years, but a strong juco recruiting season gives reason for optimism. They lost the turnover battle last year, but that improved in the second half. With continued improvement on that front they could make some noise in the conference. The value would be much better here if they didn't have to play at both Oklahoma and Baylor, but they are still considerably more attractive than some other teams in the conference.
Michigan to win Big Ten East (5/1): Michigan has been on a long, frustrating run of mediocrity, so you can't blame the public for being skeptical. These odds place the Wolverines well behind Ohio State and Michigan State in the ridiculously-loaded new division, though, and the gap may not be as large as perceived. A much-needed change at offensive coordinator should provide a major spark to the team, and they have some real players who are poised to emerge in a big way - receiver Devin Funchess and true freshman all-rounder Jabrill Peppers among them. Both lines have some real questions, but that is through youth more than talent. If they can play well up front then this time has a chance to shine. They have to play at both of their major conference rivals, but the rest of the schedule is soft and more than manageable. A split of those big road games could, in the right situations, be enough to win the conference.
Duke to win ACC Coastal (7/1): This is one terrible division. Really, outside of Florida State it's not really much of a conference this year, either. This price puts Duke as the fourth choice in the seven-team division, well behind North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech. While those teams may all have higher upside, there certainly isn't a complete, likeable team amongst them. Any of those seasons could easily go off the rails. Duke has some decent talent in spots, but more importantly they have exceptional coaching. They overachieved last year because they believed in themselves, and that could easily happen again this year.
Arizona to win Pac-12 South (10/1): I actually have a fair bit of faith in the Bruins in this division. When it comes to a long shot that could pick up the pieces if things blow up, though, Arizona is intriguing. Rich Rodriguez is in his third year and has begun to assemble the team he really wants. They played hard for him last year, and we should see a step forward this year. There is a whole lot of potential at QB if someone can just grab the job and run with it. They have to play at UCLA and Oregon, but they get both USC and Arizona State at home. At the very least the Wildcats are candidates for a real step forward this year - whether it is enough to win the division or not.
Missouri to win the SEC East (10/1): Stop me if you have heard this one before - the Tigers are a team that isn't getting any respect compared to the traditional powers in their new division. That's what happened last year, and it is happening just as much this year. All they did then was win the division. While the team may not be as talented as last year, the division isn't entirely formidable either - Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all combine uncertainty with their potential. It can be easy to overreact to a roster when they lose as many good players as Missouri has this year. They have a strong system in place, though, and there is good talent to step in and take the place. There are a whole lot of unknowns with the squad, but you have to respect their SEC competitiveness, and they are certainly undervalued compared to the big names.
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