Betting Stuff: A Big Ten Double Result and Georgia gets its mojo back
Betting Stuff is a regular sports gambling column here at Saturday Down South with a focus on college football wagering (though don’t be surprised to see some non-college football insights from time to time). Did you know that sports betting is now legal in Tennessee? You can view the best Tennessee sportsbook apps here.
The increasingly popular Double Result
As more and more states begin to offer sports gambling, the availability of specialty boosts and props continues to grow. Odds boosts, by and large, are designed to draw in casual gamblers with improved odds on high profile games and futures. For example, FanDuel is currently offering improved odds on Alabama to win the national championship, increasing the Crimson Tide’s odds from +200 to +225 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Boosts and promotions typically vary significantly from book to book, and even from state to state from the same sportsbook. What has been more consistent across the board are same-game parlays and props like the Double Result. As an industry standard, same-game parlays were generally forbidden by sportsbooks because they were considered to be correlated results. For example, if a bettor placed a four-leg parlay that included the Florida Gators to cover the spread, while winning the first quarter, first half and full game, that would be a correlated event. Sportsbooks have made this work by accepting such bets, but at significantly reduced parlay odds. A standard four-leg parlay should pay out in the neighborhood of 10:1, but a correlated parlay, like the one I just proposed, could be offered at 5:1 instead.
The Double Result bet, a popular soccer wager, is beginning to gain notoriety in American football circles due to the value it provides. The Double Result wager is a form of a parlay, combining the outcome of the first half or first 5 innings of a baseball game and the full regulation result. Here’s an example of the Double Result odds being offered by Bet365 on this weekend’s Kentucky-Alabama game:
As you can see, any result other than a “wire-to-wire” Alabama victory is considered a long shot. But what’s striking is that an Alabama 1st-half victory parlayed with an Alabama win in regulation drops the moneyline odds from -5000 to -900.
This season, I’ve placed 7 Double Result wagers, mainly utilizing the wager as a way to reduce prohibitive odds on a favorite. For example, I placed a Double Result bet on Marshall last month during its homecoming matchup with Florida Atlantic. By utilizing this bet, I dropped the Thundering Herds’ odds from -910 to -260. They ended up edging out the Owls in the 1st half and comfortably winning the game outright.
But the real moneymaker is when you select a Double Result that calls for the underdog to lead at halftime and the favorite to win the game in regulation. I was able to thread this needle during the Georgia-Alabama showdown, a play that paid out +625.
This weekend’s enticing Double Result
As I mentioned, 9 times out of 10, I dig into my bag of gambling tricks to pull out the Double Result when a major favorite’s moneyline odds are priced prohibitively. But in a few select spots, where I think an underdog has the fight to hang around for 30 minutes, I like to dabble in Double Result wagers at plus-sized odds. This week that means playing Indiana to lead Ohio State at halftime, and then for the Buckeyes to run away from the Hoosiers in the 2nd half.
This wager is being offered in the +600 to +700 range depending on the sportsbook. Indiana has been a strong 1st-half team this season, leading opponents by an average score of 21.2 to 5.2 at the break. Then you have the layoff factor. Ohio State hasn’t played since Nov. 7 and spent last week prepping for Maryland before their game was canceled 2 1/2 days ahead of time. A standard bye week would usually play in Ohio State’s favor, but COVID-19 cancellations and postponements haven’t provided the same kind of R&R teams rely on in a normal season. I think there’s a chance we could see a slightly rusty Ohio State team take the field at the Horseshoe on Saturday.
Last Week: 2-2 (50%, -.2 Units)
Overall: 40-26-1 (60.6%, +13.15 Units)
My top play for Week 12
Liberty at NC State-3.5 (67)
I was shocked to see this total under 70. The Wolfpack and Flames have each played 8 games this season and the over has hit in 12 of those 16 contests. NC State has been an over-bettors dream, exceeding the closing total by an average of 10.7 points per contest. Liberty’s offense, controlled by the soon-to-be Power 5 employed Hugh Freeze, is averaging 46 points per game in its last 5 games, including a pair of 38-point outbursts against Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
Defensively, NC State (55th in Defensive Havoc) and Liberty (68th) are ill-equipped to slow down these offenses. NC State quarterback Bailey Hockman has been trending up since being thrust into the starting role 3 weeks ago. His completion percentage, total yards and passing touchdowns have increased game-over-game for 3 straight weeks. His performance against Florida State last week in particular (275 total yards, 4 TDs) convinces me that the Wolfpack could score north of 35 points in this one.
— Bet The Pigskin (@betthepigskin) November 14, 2020
On the Liberty side, the Flames are led by Malik Willis, a former Auburn quarterback turned program-savior. Willis has played in 7 of Liberty’s 8 games and is averaging 335 total yards and 3.4 total touchdowns against just a single interception all season long. He has played his way into Heisman consideration, and if he were to become a finalist he would be the first player outside of the Power 5 to accomplish the feat since Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch made the trip to New York City in 2013. Willis is that good, and NC State’s 109th ranked pass defense will be virtually powerless to stop him.
I have a feeling this may be the end of the road for Liberty’s perfect season, but if they go down, it’ll be in a shootout.
Pick: Over 67
It’s in the game
As we enter the gambling stretch run, the video game/best bets hybrid I designed in September is rounding into shape. Now 14-8 (63.3%, +5.2 Units) on the season, the 7-year-old video game (NCAA ‘14) has proven that its simulation results are highly reliable against the spread and when forecasting totals. Last week it nailed a Wisconsin blowout and anticipated Wake Forest’s performance against North Carolina. It did miss on Boston College, but 2 out of 3 is a moneymaker for anyone tailing the system.
This week, I have 3 more simulations:
1. Coastal Carolina is the kind of rare college football Cinderella that we see only once or twice a decade. The program has only been in existence since 2003 and didn’t make the jump up to the FBS level until 2016. To say that it is over its head at No. 15 in the AP Poll would be an understatement. And the Sun Belt’s premier program, Appalachian State, is now rolling into Conway with its eyes on an upset. Coastal has been the beneficiary of a positive turnover margin (+.7 pg, 25th) all season, but they were bit by 2 lost fumbles and an interception in the end zone during the simulation. That turnover luck was all the Mountaineers and senior quarterback Zac Thomas needed. The veteran quarterback returned from injury and played well enough to pull off the upset and help the ‘Neers cash ATS and SU (+190).
2. Under has hit in 5 of Cincinnati’s 8 games this year, but the real story is the number. This is the highest total for a Bearcat game this season by a full touchdown and the highest total for UC since they last played UCF. Their 2019 showdown with the Knights closed at 63 and ended in a 27-24 Cincy victory. I had this game penciled in at 59.5 for the total, so there’s still value even with the total falling from 67.5 at the open to its current position on the board. The Bearcats have already suffocated two great AAC offenses (SMU, Memphis), allowing just 23 total points to the Mustangs and Tigers. The simulation saw more of the same with Desmond Ridder and UC grinding out a 31-20 win at the Bounce House.
3. Georgia needs to feel good about itself, and Mississippi State is more than happy to oblige. Mike Leach’s team has faced a pair of top-30 scoring defenses this season (UK, Alabama) and scored a grand total of 2 points. Georgia fed the struggling MSU offense right into a wood chipper again in the simulation. Georgia also found its mojo through the air, which could be linked to its black jersey look on Saturday. UGA 45 – Mississippi State 9.
If you’re reading the DraftKings odds correctly, the sportsbook is stating plainly that the race for the Heisman is a 4-man derby.
Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence are currently going off at +175, followed by Mac Jones at +200 and Kyle Trask at +500.
The next player on the list, Zach Wilson, has odds of +2500. These figures surprise me for a few reasons. The first is that public perception is shifting around Kyle Trask. His numbers are certainly Heisman-esque and he now has a marquee win against Georgia on his résumé. If he remains healthy, the Heisman is his if he beats Alabama in Atlanta. I project the point spread in an Alabama-UF SEC Title Game to be in the 4 to 5-point range in favor of the Crimson Tide, which means that a moneyline bet on Florida could return 2:1 on your money. If you believe UF can win, it makes more sense to take Trask at 5:1 to win the Heisman, as I believe it’s a correlated event.
Updated odds to win the Heisman:
+200: Trevor Lawrence
+250: Justin Fields, Kyle Trask
+300: Mac Jones
+2500: Zach Wilson
+5000: Ian Book, D'Eriq King
+6600: DeVonta Smith
+8000: Najee Harris
+15000: S. Ehlinger, B. Purdy, K. Mond, S. Rattler, T. Etienne
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) November 16, 2020
As for the rest of the board, I’m still shocked that Ian Book is going off at 50:1. The Notre Dame quarterback has the marquee win of the season, an 11:1 TD-INT ratio and the Notre Dame brand working in his favor. He also has the chance to punch the Irish’s ticket to the College Football Playoff on championship weekend in Round 2 with Clemson. If I were on the other side of the counter, I wouldn’t be comfortable with any ticket north of 15:1.
Due to the timing of this weekly article, I haven’t been able to deliver pregame reads on MAC games, but I can report that there is a retro trend resurfacing throughout the conference. Once known for innovative offenses, the MAC has regressed offensively, as a whole, in recent years. But this season, it’s tackling-optional across the board. As of Wednesday morning, MAC overs, on a team by team basis, are 18-10 (64.3%) and the box scores are just absurd. Four teams are blowing past the closing total by an average margin of 10+, including Kent State’s record-setting pace of 19.2.
Next week MAC games will shift to the weekend slate, and I’ll be sure to pick out my favorite overs to share with you.