As college football gets started, you probably know who the favorites are in the 2017 season, and you have been given plenty of coverage about the preseason Heisman hopefuls. But which way are the wagers going on the sportsbooks?
According to information from Bovada, the money being wagered this season on the most common bets is going pretty much where you would expect it to be. Alabama, Ohio State, USC are among the favorites according to the bets coming in at the start of the season, and the Heisman bets include all of the familiar names you have been hearing since the bowl season wrapped up.
Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular bets being placed as we head into Week 1 of the college football season…
Of all of the money being placed on the national championship, it comes as no surprise to see Alabama has been the most popular pick. It’s essentially the safest bet, with 30% of the money being placed on the Crimson Tide to win it all. Alabama is the only team to play in the College Football Playoff each of the three seasons of the new championship format, and the Tide have played in the last two championship games (winning one two years ago and losing one last season). And considering how well Alabama has recruited and developed talent year in and year out, the public feels confident in placing some money on Nick Saban’s squad.
But betting on Alabama isn’t the most lucrative bet if you want to get a nice return on your bet. As the favorite, Alabama is the safest pick but not the most rewarding if it comes true. So what is the next best pick to make? The Ohio State Buckeyes, if the trends are any indication. Ohio State bets have accounted for 11% of the gambled money coming through Bovada, with USC represented by 8% of the money. Again, no real surprises here. Blueblood programs will always bring in a few more bets than most programs, and it helps that Ohio State and USC are each expected to have solid seasons.
Florida State and Michigan each accounted for five percent of the money, according to Bovada. Florida State makes sense given their expectations for the season, while Michigan probably gets inflated just for being Michigan. What is interesting is Bovada claims no other school brought in more than two percent of the money, including defending national champion Clemson, College Football Playoff participants Washington, or defending Big 12 and Big Ten champions Oklahoma and Penn State, respectively.
As for win totals, fans seem to enjoy placing bets on West Virginia and Michigan. The Mountaineers are the most popular bet to go over their win total (7), while the Wolverines are the most popular pick to go under their win total (9). Florida (8) and Missouri (6) are also popular over picks, while Alabama (10.5) and Army (7.5) are popular under picks.Alabama may seem like a surprise to you, and this goes back to the line of thinking that suggests playing the odds will pay off. Keeping in mind these win totals are only for regular season games and do not include conference championship games and bowl games, bettors are banking on Alabama being defeated twice this season for a payoff. As good as Alabama may be, that’s not a bad wager to make, especially if you think Florida State hands Alabama an “L” this weekend to get the season started.
Alabama may seem like a surprise to you, and this goes back to the line of thinking that suggests playing the odds will pay off. Keeping in mind these win totals are only for regular season games and do not include conference championship games and bowl games, bettors are banking on Alabama being defeated twice this season for a payoff. As good as Alabama may be, that’s not a bad wager to make, especially if you think Florida State hands Alabama an “L” this weekend to get the season started.
But what about the Heisman Trophy? USC quarterback Sam Darnold is currently Bovada’s favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at +400, but it is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley that is narrowly the favorite bet among gamblers. Barkley has had 13 percent of the money placed on him, with Darnold having 12 percent bet on him. It’s worth noting Barkley is Bovada’s second-top Heisman candidate at +700 (tied with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield). Interestingly, Mayfield is not ranked in Bovada’s top five for preseason Heisman money. Neither is last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has brought in the third most money on Heisman picks (9%), and Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Bo Scarborough each have accounted for seven percent of the money. Barrett is listed at +1000 by Bovada, and Scarborough (+1400) and Hurts (+1800) all have good early payouts to help provide more of an incentive to place a wager on them. That means a lot of money for Heisman picks is being spread around between the other candidates at this point in the year.