Photo credit: Gregg Ellman/Ellman Photography/TCU athletics
Welcome back to our series of articles going over the preseason win totals for all 131 FBS teams.
Thanks to Playoff Predictors for being a free site that allows each and every game to get picked. To ensure that we didn’t just blindly choose overs or unders, all 131 teams had their schedules picked.
Explaining the Math
All Power 5 win totals and odds are from June 13, so not all odds listed may be current. Group of 5 odds are not yet widely available at multiple sportsbooks, so those articles will get started whenever those odds are released, but the games have been picked.
Where sportsbooks had differing win totals, the combination of odds with the lowest hold was kept, because sports bettors usually look for the lowest holds before looking at any prices or numbers.
For those unaware, the hold is however much over 100% each side of the bet adds up to. It’s how the sportsbooks win bettors’ money in the long run.
A lower hold is better for bettors. Anything below 2% is considered good, and a negative hold is great because it means the bet is skewed in the bettor’s favor.
Plus odds (+) means that betting $100 will profit that much. Minus odds (-) means that to profit $100, a bettor must wager that much.
The sportsbooks considered — due to having all, or very nearly all, of the Power 5 teams — were PointsBet, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Barstool.
Special thanks to Kelley Ford. We’ll be referencing some of his models that he’s posted to his Twitter (@KFordRatings).
We’re able to take the odds and turn it into expected return. Expected return means how much profit should be expected per $1 wagered if the models are correct.
By his own admission, they’re not perfect. And as the old saying goes, “all models are wrong, but some are useful.”
They’re an interesting piece of the puzzle worth considering, but do not take any of these opinions as gospel. It’s all in good fun and to acknowledge just how wrong we were at the end of the season.
We continue this series with the Big 12:
Image Credit: Kelley Ford, Twitter
Oklahoma — Under 9.5 wins; Confidence: 1/10
At DraftKings, the over is -105, while the under at PointsBet is -110. So, the hold is 3.60%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 54% chance that the Sooners go over. This gives an expected return of $0.05 per $1 put on the over at DraftKings.
First-year coaches, especially with new quarterbacks, tend to put together so-so seasons.
That being said, the Big 12 is Oklahoma’s for the re-taking and we have Oklahoma at 9-3, so our confidence is as low as we can go.
Nebraska, Kansas State, TCU, Texas, Iowa State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State are all teams that we think Oklahoma could slip up against. But, the Sooners staying on the wagon of 10-2 or 11-1 would not surprise us.
Texas — Over 8.5 wins; Confidence: 1/10
At FanDuel, the over is -110, while the under at PointsBet is -105. So, the hold is 3.60%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 50% chance that the Longhorns go under. This gives an expected return of -$0.02 per $1 put on the under at PointsBet.
If Oklahoma is our least confident pick for all of college football this year, Texas is our second-least confident pick.
We narrowly have Texas at 9-3, and this requires a few games going in the Longhorns’ favor.
New quarterback Quinn Ewers will have his work cut out for him. If Texas is going to get to nine wins, it’s going to be in large part to Ewers and the offensive line doing enough.
Games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU, and Baylor are going to be the swing games on the schedule.
Oklahoma State — Over 8.5 wins; Confidence: 3/10
At FanDuel, the over is +105, while the under at DraftKings and PointsBet is -115. So, the hold is 2.27%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 58% chance that the Cowboys go under. This gives an expected return of $0.08 per $1 put on the under at DraftKings or PointsBet.
After losing Jim Knowles as the defensive coordinator, what was the staple of recent Oklahoma State teams is in question.
But a bye week before traveling to reigning Big 12 champion Baylor helps. The downside is nine consecutive conference games follows that bye week.
A non-conference schedule of Central Michigan, Arizona State, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff should lead to a 3-0 start.
The last time Oklahoma State won consecutive games against Oklahoma was 1997 and 1998; this year does not seem to be the year it happens again.
Contests vs. TCU, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Oklahoma will decide whether Oklahoma State goes 9-3 or better or 8-4 or worse.
West Virginia — Under 5.5 wins; Confidence: 3/10
At DraftKings, the over is -130, while the under at FanDuel is +115. So, the hold is 3.03%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 77% chance that the Mountaineers go under. This gives an expected return of $0.66 per $1 put on the under at FanDuel.
West Virginia is weird, because JT Daniels was good in his limited opportunities at Georgia. But he also could not earn the starting job over a former walk-on in Stetson Bennett.
Scheduling is not in West Virginia’s favor. The Mountaineers do get five home games in conference, but one of them is Kansas.
Non-conference road matchups at Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech won’t be easy. A home date with Towson should be a win.
Lastly, finishing the season with games against Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State could be tricky if West Virginia is sitting on the edge of bowl eligibility at five wins.
TCU — Under 6.5 wins; Confidence: 3/10
At DraftKings, the over is -120, while the under at FanDuel is +125. So, the hold is -1.01%.
According to Ford’s ratings, there is a 46% chance that the Horned Frogs go under. This gives an expected return of $0.04 per $1 put on the under at FanDuel.
A good sign for TCU is that it has only four away conference games, and one of them is Kansas.
One thing that will be interesting to watch is how TCU looks late in the season.
At SMU, new TCU head coach Sonny Dykes was 30-18.
In August, September, and October, SMU was 24-5. Since 2019, SMU was 21-2 in those months, with the two losses coming to teams that finished with a combined record of 21-3.
But in the months of November and December, SMU was 6-13. And the six teams that SMU did beat finished those seasons with a combined record of 30-40.
The November slate for TCU this season is vs. Texas Tech, at Texas, at Baylor, and vs. Iowa State. Both Kelley Ford and Las Vegas have those teams averaging seven wins this season.
We have TCU at 6-6, aided by home games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State. But, TCU is hurt by 10 consecutive games following the Week 3 bye. Its November slate is a tough one.