We may be months away from any college football, but that does not stop Las Vegas from releasing betting odds for 65 college football games this year. SBNation has the betting lines here curtesy of the South Point Casino. Of interest in this to Utah fans is that two Utah games are included, at Washington and at home against Colorado. Both of those games fall in November, so a lot will happen between now and then, so these betting lines are far from predictions on the outcomes of these games and should be used more as a barometer for how oddsmakers feel about a team’s potential this season. Because all of these games are so far off, there is a betting limit of $1,000 for any of these games.
So, how do the oddsmakers see Utah fairing in these games? They are underdogs for both. They are 21-point underdogs in the game at Washington and one-point underdogs at home in close out the regular season against Colorado. Utah sent more players (with 15) to the NFL than any other team except Michigan, so it is safe to say that there will be many new players contributing for Utah in 2017. This was likely a factor in why Utah is an underdog in both of these games. The other thing to remember about betting lines (in addition caveat of the incredibly early nature of these lines) is that they are not necessarily a prediction but are intended to entice people to bet on these games. Teams like Colorado and Washington are coming off a Pac-12 South and Pac-12 Championship respectively, so there will likely be confidence in them, so it makes sense that they are favored because people are more likely to bet on teams they are confident about.
Another indicator about how Vegas feels about a team’s season is over/under. SBNation (curtesy of Oddshark) has the over/under for many teams. Utah’s is 6.5; however, to bet the over and win $100, you need to bet $130, while you would only need to bet $100 on the under to win $100, meaning Vegas has slightly more confidence Utah will win seven or more regular season games.
When we take into account these two lines of evidence, it seems that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas think Utah will be a decent team in 2017 but not an elite team. This does not surprise me given that they have to replace four out of five starters along the offensive line and in the secondary. They also lost multiple starters on the defensive line and stud running back Joe Williams. With so many question marks heading into the season, it makes sense that Vegas has some apprehension about the Utes.
In the comments below, tell us if you think these odds make sense for Utah or if Vegas is way off base.