In case the Big 12 wasn’t hard enough, the conference swaps out Texas A&M and Missouri and brings in (arguably) two tougher football programs with TCU and West Virginia.
Bill Barnwell from Grantland posted a list of updated odds for select college football teams’ total over/unders. In that list, Iowa State’s total is 4.5 games. The odds for the under is +145, the over is -165. The total amount of wins only count in the team’s schedule. Bowl wins do not count.
A little bit of betting 101: With the half point in the total, that means there is no chance of a push when a bettor selects over or under. If Iowa State wins four or less games, everyone that bet the under win; obviously vice-versa for the over.
With lines, it works completely different if an odd has a plus or negative in front of it. If it’s a negative, that means it’s favored. If you put in a dollar, the formula (100/165) is calculated, giving you 71 cents back. If it’s a positive, it’s an underdog. Again, if you put in a dollar, you would get the dollar back and 45 cents.
So, looking at the favored formula, a higher number means the better chance Vegas sportsbooks believe it will happen. -165 is a high number, and there’s a good reason for it.
The ISU schedule is tough, but a 6-6 record and another bowl bid is without question obtainable. Western Illinois is the easiest team (by far), Tulsa is right alongside Houston and UCF as favorites to win Conference USA, and playing at Iowa is always tough. If the Cyclones reach 2-1 before the conference season, Texas Tech will be visiting Ames and come in with a five-game losing streak to open things up.
Let’s say Iowa State has three wins at this point. The four road games: TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Kansas are all tough, but the Jayhawks will be by far the easiest. Notch on another win; now they have to find just one more victory against Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma, or West Virginia. Baylor should be the easiest team. Combine that with an upset against one of the other teams, and you have your six victories to reach a bowl.
At long last, what’s the bottom line? Four or five games is right on the money for now. But given the atmosphere Paul Rhoads is creating, the odds of overachieving again this season are pretty high.