The stadium isn’t even empty after the BCS Championship game each year before the future odds for the next BCS Championship are posted at many sportsbooks. There really aren’t a lot of reasons you would want to tie your money up a full year by making one of these bets when there is a whole lot of uncertainty involved. That doesn’t mean that these futures aren’t interesting and potentially useful to look at, though. Here are four reasons for college football handicappers to look closely at the BCS Championship futures as soon as they are posted:
First sense of what the public perceptions will be – One of the biggest factors in college football handicapping is the impact of the betting public. The teams that the public bet heavily on can see inflated lines and little value. Teams that the public ignores can offer juicy lines and very nice value. The initial BCS championship futures are a good early way to get a sense of which teams are going to get the most media coverage heading into the next season, and which teams are likely to draw a lot of public support as a result.
Starting point to measure which teams have a very good or very bad offseason – These initial futures are posted before a lot of major events on the college football calendar. Some players have not yet decided whether they will stay in school or turn pro. National signing day can offer a huge bounty of incoming talent for some teams, and disappointment for others. Spring football lets coaches assess what they have and who may be ready to start in the fall. Competition among players for playing time is high during the summer and early fall before the season starts. Coaching staffs can be changed and filled out through the winter. All of those things and many others mean that some teams will have a very good offseason that will make them far better than they initially looked to be, while other teams will have rough offseasons that will lower the expectations of them. The BCS championship futures show us what early perceptions are, and gives sports bettors something to measure the offseason against.
Way to measure your assumptions and perceptions – If your opinion varies wildly from posted odds then you need to figure out why that is and what it means. You don’t have to assume that you are wrong and that the oddsmakers are right. A difference just means you have more work to do in regards to your thoughts about the team in question. If you find a difference in opinion that stands up under further scrutiny then you could have an attractive potential sports betting opportunity – perhaps one good enough to warrant investing a few dollars in.
Teams that are under-respected – Ultimately, college football handicapping successfully is all about finding teams that you like more than the oddsmakers do. When you find that then the point spread or the moneyline will be attractive to you. You’ll have found value, and value is the key to betting success. By looking at the BCS future odds and comparing them to your opinions you will be able to spot teams that are, in your opinion, being under-respected by oddsmakers. There are lots of reasons why this could happen. It could be that you like their recruiting and expect an immediate impact. Or perhaps you aren’t worried about the departure of a big name player because you respect the team’s depth or don’t think the player’s impact was significant as it seemed. Maybe you expect the football coach to take a step forward as he gets his system in place, gets personnel that suits his needs, and fine tunes his coaching staff. Maybe you just don’t respect the rest of the conference. Whatever the reason, the teams that stand out as under-respected in your eyes are the ones that you’ll want to pay particular attention to down the road – potentially by betting on them in the futures if you think they can win it all, or by looking for value on them early in the season before oddsmakers and the public start to recognize what you already believe about the team.