How to bet on SEC football: Preseason props and futures
If you’re getting tired of the preseason rankings, predictions and commentary, then you’re likely doing something wrong. You’re not paying enough attention to preseason props and futures!
As we kickoff our SEC football betting coverage, we’ll begin with preseason prop bets and futures. In a few days, we’ll also take a look at the Week 1 lines.
Keys to futures and prop betting
1. The odds on props and futures are crucial. If somebody tells you that the over/under win total for Auburn is 8 without telling you the odds on it, you have pointless information. Betting on War Eagle to surpass 8 wins at +400 is completely different from betting it at -150. Sometimes the odds will look like 5/1, and other times, they’ll take the form of +500. Both mean the same: Bet $100, Win $500 (collect $600 total, $500 in winners + the original $100 stake).
Following up on that point, as you pay attention to the odds …
2. It might warrant having multiple accounts set up in different sportsbooks. For example, BetUS has Tennessee to win the SEC Championship at +500 and I’ve seen other sites have it at +400. If you’re wanting to bet Tennessee to win the conference title, don’t bet it at +400 if it’s available elsewhere at +500!
3. Betting on Heisman futures is not a good bet. Don’t waste your money.
4. Always check the fine print wherever you’re betting. In most cases, a player prop bet requires the player to play in the first game of the season for the prop bet to be in play. The over/under win totals are for the regular season only (no conference championships, bowl games, etc.).
5. Consider a hedge bet. One of the most interesting elements of futures betting is when you’re close to the end of a season and you realize a futures bet is very close to hitting. You can implement a hedge bet and guarantee yourself a return.
For example, let’s say you had Tennessee to win the SEC this year at +500. If Tennessee made it to Atlanta to square off against Alabama for the SEC crown, you might bet on Alabama to win the Championship Game, lowering your overall return, but eliminating your risk.
Depending on how the season plays out, we might have some hedging recommendations down the road.
6. If it’s your first time, consider betting the same amount on every prop or futures bet. You won’t hit all of them, anyway.
2016 Futures & prop bets
For the following futures and prop bets, we’re going to use Bovada’s odds as of Monday morning. Between now and the start of the season, these can change. You can look at them yourself here.
Ole Miss Under 9.5 Wins (-250)
The odds on Bovada for this bet have worsened dramatically. I believe they were more in the -150 range a few weeks ago. At -250, I’m not taking this bet because betting $250 to win $100 is rough. If these odds improve, I’ll reconsider. For comparison purposes, BetUS has Ole Miss over/under at 7.5 wins (over -175, under +145).
I’m fairly high on Ole Miss. I think they’ll be good this year, but you can’t put money on them winning 10 games when they open with Florida State and you know Alabama will be dialed in to prevent a third straight loss to the Rebels.
If Ole Miss drops the opener to the ‘Noles, the likelihood of hitting this bet becomes a near certainty. I want to believe in the Rebels to win the opener as Ole Miss is surely better at quarterback. The problem is that FSU is probably better everywhere else.
Finishing 9-3 at best seems reasonable.
The Play: Bet under 9.5 if you can find odds better than -200.
Arkansas Under 7 Wins (+175)
Admittedly, this is a bold bet. But the +175 odds combined with the Hogs’ 2016 schedule have me convinced. If you’re intrigued, but a little more cautious, you can get under 7.5 wins for +110 over at BetUS meaning you’ll hit the bet if Arkansas goes 7-5.
Bielema’s boys are on the road at TCU, they get Florida out of the East, and of course, get the usual West gauntlet. There’s probably a good chance that Arkansas wins 7 rather than 6, and in that case, I’ll push and won’t lose the bet. The +175 is enough for me to pull the trigger on the under.
The Play: Bet under 7 wins at +175.
LSU Under 10.5 Wins (-140)
I think LSU has the potential to be outstanding this year, but winning 11 games in the SEC West is quite difficult. Fournette is Fournette, but I’m going to have to see a legitimate passing game that can win a game on its own before I believe they’ll only lose one game all year.
LSU hasn’t won 11 games since 2011 (five seasons ago).
It’s also interesting comparing this bet to the Ole Miss under 9.5 odds listed above. LSU’s win total is a full game higher and the odds are dramatically better. It’s hard to imagine betting Ole Miss under 9.5 at -250 when you can bet LSU under 10.5 at -140.
The Play: Bet under 10.5 wins at -140.
Texas A&M Over 8 Wins (+150)
Another bold bet, and I liked it better at a previous +175. I’m still intrigued at +150.
Simply put, I’m pretty big on the addition of Trevor Knight. The Aggies’ crop of wide outs is outstanding, and they might have one of the better defensive lines in the country. In our top 10 position units article, John Crist rated the Texas A&M wide receivers No. 6, and the Texas A&M defensive line at No. 3. Even if he’s off somewhat, the point is that the Aggies have some talent along with a mature leader under center.
Beating the over 8 wins means going at least 9-3. Not going to be easy, but the +150 odds and the above reasons make me like the bet.
If you assume the Aggies lose to Tennessee and Alabama, then Texas A&M has to beat LSU or Ole Miss to stay at nine wins. Bold bet, but some futures bets need to be bold, otherwise what’s the point?
However, if you’re not convinced, you can bet Texas A&M to win over 6.5 games at BetUS at -135.
The Play: Bet over 8 wins at +150. Consider waiting for better odds in the +170 range.
Georgia Under 9.5 Wins (-160)
Bovada also has a Georgia over/under win line at 8.5 wins, but I’m choosing to bet the under on 9.5 instead. Of course, I’m getting worse odds than if I took the under 8.5 win total.
Simply put, I have a hard time seeing Georgia winning 10 games in 2016 during Kirby Smart’s first year. The Dawgs could lose the opener to North Carolina if they aren’t careful, and Georgia has to travel to Ole Miss as well.
The Play: Bet under 9.5 wins at -160.
Tennessee Over 10 Wins (+135) / Under 10 Wins (-165)
Typically teams that the public is quite hyped on are bad bets when it comes to betting the over. I wouldn’t touch this line unless you’re going against the public and taking the under.
I think Tennessee will have a great year, so I’m not touching the under, either.
The Play: Stay away.
Florida Over 8 Wins (-115)
This is basically a bet on the belief that the Gators will win at least eight games. I don’t think 7-5 is in the cards, and I believe that 9-3 is in play.
Like usual, Florida has talent at many places all over the field. You saw two teams in 2015: The Will Grier team that was rolling, and the Treon Harris team that got worse by the week. The end of the season was as bad as it gets, and too many people are focusing on that.
Luke Del Rio won’t light it up like Grier did against Ole Miss, but he’ll be a major upgrade over Harris. He’ll be good enough to move the chains and run the offense effectively. In other words, exactly what Jim McElwain wants.
The Play: Bet over 8 wins at -115.
Chad Kelly Over 3,700.5 Passing Yards (-120)
Chad Kelly averaged 310 passing yards during the 2015 campaign across his 12 regular season games and bowl game. He’ll have to essentially match this average in order to hit the over over 3,700 passing yards.
It’ll probably be close, but I’m betting the over. Kelly is fantastic, and the Rebels will be slinging it. Laquon Treadwell is gone, but Ole Miss has a nice crop of wideouts for Kelly to throw to in 2016.
The Play: Bet Over 3,700.5 Passing Yards for Chad Kelly at -120.
Joshua Dobbs Under 18.5 Touchdown Passes (-120)
His passing stats might make you think that this bet is a no-brainer, but I’m honestly not overly confident on it. I went back and forth a few times, but I’ve decided I’m going to take the under.
Yes, Dobbs only threw 15 touchdowns in 13 games last year, but the stat that convinced me to take the under was the touchdown passes during some of the Vols’ easy wins. Against North Texas, Missouri and Northwestern in the second half of the season, Dobbs had zero touchdown passes.
Simply put, when the Vols are rolling, Dobbs isn’t throwing touchdown passes. The defense and run game will be excellent in 2016, and Dobbs himself is an amazing runner. My view is that the Vols have a great year AND Dobbs hits the under 18.5 TD passes.
The Play: Bet Under 18.5 TD passes for Joshua Dobbs at -120.
Christian Kirk Over 850.5 Receiving Yards (-140)
I love this bet. Christian Kirk is electric, and he broke the 1,000 receiving mark last year (13 games). The Aggies can spread it around to their wideouts, but Kirk is the best they have, and as I mentioned previously, Trevor Knight will be a big upgrade for the Aggies at quarterback.
This offense might put up some serious numbers this year, and Kirk should easily surpass 850 receiving yards.
The Play: Bet Over 850.5 Receiving Yards for Christian Kirk at -140.
Here are the bets I’m making. Each futures bet or prop bet will have a single unit wager, meaning I’m betting equally on all of these. For some, a single unit might be $10. For others, it might be $100. Develop your own system and stick with it.
- Arkansas Under 7 Wins (+175)
- LSU Under 10.5 Wins (-140)
- Texas A&M Over 8 Wins (+150)
- Georgia Under 9.5 Wins (-160)
- Florida Over 8 Wins (-115)
- Chad Kelly Over 3700.5 Passing Yards (-120)
- Joshua Dobbs Under 18.5 Touchdown Passes (-120)
- Christian Kirk Over 850.5 Receiving Yards (-140)
I’ll be watching the odds on the Ole Miss under 9.5 wins. At -250, the odds aren’t good enough to pull the trigger yet.