Last July, CG Technology was the first Las Vegas sportsbook operator to release projected college football regular-season win totals for the 2015 season.
The Nevada prognosticators got half of the SEC teams correct, completely whiffed on five others and were in between on a pair of schools. With this season’s projected win/loss totals due soon, we’re providing a close look at the types of bets you should or should not have made last summer.
Teams Vegas got right
- Georgia (9 wins, -125 over) — Mark Richt won nine games, but it wasn’t enough to keep his job in Athens. This was the rare case in which Georgia fans actually got their money back.
- Kentucky (5.5 wins, -130 over) — The book encouraged bettors to take the under, and those who did were rewarded with another poor season in Lexington. Mark Stoops’ second straight 5-win campaign made him 12-24 since taking the Wildcats job.
- LSU (8.5 wins, -130 over) — Louisiana State began 7-0, making this look like an easy “over” call, but the Tigers (8-4) collapsed late.
- Ole Miss (8.5 wins) — Bettors were not nudged either direction here, which means Vegas was pretty confident in 8.5. Mississippi won its final two regular-season games — both against Top 25 teams — to sneak into the “over” category.
- Tennessee (8 wins, -160 under) — Following an ugly 3-4 start, Butch Jones’ squad took care of a relatively easy back half, winning five straight regular-season games to reach the magic number.
- Texas A&M (8 wins, -120 under) — Another spot-on pick. The Aggies made some noise early, but a blowout loss to Alabama sent them spiraling toward mediocrity.
- Vanderbilt (3.5 wins, -135 under) — Vegas pointed bettors toward the “over” here, and those who went that route made their money by mid-November. Having outdone expectations, the Commodores were promptly blown out in their final two games.
Teams on which Vegas missed
- Alabama (9.5 wins, -135 over) — There were various points last season when bettors would’ve stayed “under,” especially after the Crimson Tide dropped a September game to Ole Miss. But Alabama pulled off another surprising rebound for its second straight 11-win regular season.
- Auburn (8.5 wins, -130 over) — The Tigers were many pundits’ choice to win the SEC West last season, leading Vegas to discourage bettors from picking the over. It immediately became obvious that 8.5 was a pipe dream for Gus Malzahn’s dysfunctional squad.
- Florida (7 wins, -130 under) — Vegas didn’t have much confidence in Jim McElwain’s first Gators team. The opening figure anticipated gamblers would prefer to bet the under, but those who went with the over were laughing as Florida picked up win No. 7 on Halloween and No. 8 a week later.
- Missouri (7.5 wins, -135 over) — The fact that Vegas thought Missouri would win more games than Florida tells you how tough college football is to predict. Some crazy off-field issues — protests and Gary Pinkel’s leukemia diagnosis among them — sank the Tigers last year, so we’ll cut Vegas some slack.
- South Carolina (6.5 wins, -155 over) — Much like Missouri, there were some major off-field factors in play for the Gamecocks, but the team didn’t look very good before Steve Spurrier left, either.
- Arkansas (8 wins, -140 over) — The Razorbacks (7-5) came within one point of matching this projection, losing a 51-50 heartbreaker to Mississippi State in December.
- Mississippi State (7 wins, -145 under) —The Bulldogs were in the SEC West driver’s seat for a moment in mid-November, needing wins over Alabama and Ole Miss to get to Atlanta. They dropped both, but still finished one victory higher than Vegas thought they would.