What Can Vegas and Gamblers Tell Us about Boise State’s 2016 Record?

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College football is upon us (Praise be!). Camps have opened, players and coaches are giving daily interviews, and sports blogs have begun over analyzing every aspect of their favorite team. Blue Turf Nation has no shortage of talented writers that leave no blue and orange stone un-turned, but to paraphrase Robots visionary innovator Mr. Bigweld, I see a need, so I’ll fill it!

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This space will attempt to analyze the 2016 Boise State football season through the eyes of Las Vegas bookmakers and the actions of real-life professional gamblers. Each week I will

discuss what gamblers think of Boise’s chances based on the point spread, over/under on total points, and any movement of those numbers throughout the week. My goal isn’t to offer betting advice, instead I hope to provide another tool for fans yearning to know what to expect from BSU on game day.

For my debut Blue Turf Nation article I’ll look at Boise State’s season win total odds. Over the next week I’ll discuss BSU’s odds of winning the MWC Championship and the College Football Playoff. As the season approaches (maybe around the fall scrimmage), I’ll analyze BSU’s opening game against Louisiana-Lafayette. As a heads up, the first few posts will be overly long and explain-y (futures odds can get confusing), but after that I think the weekly look at BSU’s opponent will be a three or four paragraph report that is hopefully informative for Bronco fans.


Here’s how season win total bets work: odds makers set a number of regular season wins for each team in college football and bettors can place wagers on whether the team will win OVER or UNDER (O/U) that number of games. The O/U for Boise State in 2016 opened at 10.5 games. If you placed a bet on the OVER, you’d be betting that BSU would win 11 or more games. Alternatively, betting the UNDER would be a winner if BSU won 10 or fewer games.

Since betting first opened the O/U has changed. Currently, at most betting outlets, the O/U is 11 games. That small change might not seem significant, but now BSU would need to win 12 games (go undefeated) for your bet to win you money. Winning 11 games just gets you your money back, essentially giving the sports book a three and a half month interest-free loan.

The biggest information that fans can glean from the season wins total is that sports books are very high on Boise State this year (10.5 was tied for the most wins of any team in college football), and that gamblers STILL bet the OVER, which drove the number of wins up to 11 from 10.5. What we can see from the upward movement of the line is that people are betting on BSU to win 11+ games. The reason? Well, if you look at the schedule you’ll find the reason.

Boise State will be the betting favorite in every game they play this season (assuming the wheels don’t fall off, of course). So if you bet $10 on BSU to win each week you would pay a heavy price to do so. Often when you won you’d only be making $5. So if BSU went undefeated and you bet $10 on each game ($120 total) you’d make $5 times 12, or $60 in profit. Instead you could bet BSU to win OVER 11 (-150) games and make $80 on that same $120. I say all of that to say…there’s a reason sports magazines and bloggers are so high on BSU this season, it’s because Vegas and bettors are combining to tell us that Boise State is a FAVORITE to go undefeated.

That’s all for now (I told you it’d be overly long and explain-y), soon I’ll post the MWC Championship and the College Football Playoff odds. Reach me @ddenato04 on Twitter with any questions or advice. Go Broncos!

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