Bettors should get in the practice of always looking for futures opportunities as the season goes along. Sportsbooks update the odds based on the results and based on betting action from those that are actively seeking out the chance to get a good price.
On Saturday, I joined Ben Wilson and Wes Reynolds on Betting Across America and we had a “Buy, Sell, Hold” segment on the SEC futures market (around the 5:18:00 mark). It is a two-horse race between Alabama and Georgia, but there was an interesting price on the board that got me thinking.
The Auburn Tigers were listed at 25/1 per BetMGM. Auburn already has a loss in conference play, but the Tigers technically control their own destiny to win the SEC West. Will it happen? No, probably not, however, there is a good futures betting technique that would yield a higher return than 25/1 and it is something that bettors should be aware of in case chances pop up in the future.
This is a concept that is most often utilized during the NCAA Tournament for college basketball, but it applies to Auburn for this college football season because Auburn needs to win out. Much like a team that makes the Big Dance, there is no margin for error. Win or go home, at least in terms of winning the SEC West to grab a spot in Atlanta on December 4.
Auburn’s only SEC loss is to Georgia, so there are no tiebreakers to worry about in the division. The Tigers’ remaining schedule after the Week 8 bye is Ole Miss, at Texas A&M, Mississippi State, at South Carolina and then the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Alabama.
Consider that Auburn’s path to Atlanta means beating all of those teams. Rather than betting the 25/1 futures price, you can do what is called a “moneyline rollover”. In this instance, Auburn cannot afford a loss. If the Tigers lose a game, your 25/1 bet is dead anyway. With a moneyline rollover, you’d bet the moneyline of each Auburn game and roll over the total of your winnings and bet amount.
Let’s say you want to bet $100 on the futures odds, just to make the math easy.
$100 at 25/1 = $2500
It doesn’t get easier than that. However, your potential winnings are capped at $2,500.
If you were to look at a moneyline rollover, here’s how it would work (note: odds projected in advance based on power ratings; math rounded up):
Start with $100
Auburn vs. Ole Miss (+ 125) – Bet $100 to win $125 ($225)
Auburn at Texas A&M (assume Auburn 4, so ML around + 160) – Bet $225 to win $360 ($585)
Auburn vs. Mississippi State (assume Auburn -9, so ML around -340) – Bet $585 to win $172 ($757)
Auburn at South Carolina (assume Auburn -18, so ML around -1100) – Bet $757 to win $69 ($826)
Auburn vs. Alabama (assume Auburn 14, so ML around + 425) – Bet $826 to win $3,510
These two options are essentially the same bet, just in a different way. The Auburn future pays $2,500, but an Auburn moneyline rollover pays over $3,500.
Technically, your investment is the same in both wagers. You started with $100 in both cases.
The beauty of a moneyline rollover is that you don’t have to come up with some complicated hedging scenario. The hedge is to stop betting. Or, you can bet less and keep some of your profits.
I’ll talk more about moneyline rollovers when we get to the college basketball postseason, but this is a good example for introducing the topic. If you can project lines in advance, you are often going to find that a moneyline rollover creates a higher profit potential than a futures bet in these situations.