Summer is here, and that means football season is upon us. A summer tradition unlike any other — grinding out research for football futures. I’ll have a series of my favorite NCAA Football futures releasing all the way up until the start of the season in late August.
Follow along on Twitter — @julianedlow — for some betting analysis on both NFL and CFB leading up to the season. Here’s a win total play that could be on the move, but we can currently find the best price in the industry on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Arkansas is coming off a 3-7 season in SEC play and does return a significant portion of the roster, but it’s tough to convince yourself this team finishes above .500, and the skill level doesn’t even have that much to do with it. According to Phil Steele, who’s scheduled to join the Unreasonable Odds podcast to preview the college football season, the Razorbacks face the most difficult schedule in college football.
But before we dive into the horrendous schedule, let’s discuss the number and price we’re getting here at DraftKings Sportsbook. Every other major shop in the industry has Arkansas’ win total set at 5.5, with some books juiced to -125 on the under. As you’ll learn, I don’t think there’s any way this team wins more than five games, but being able to push on a miracle six-win season season should give you extra confidence to fire big on this play, which is only available at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Now for the actual football part of the handicap. Let’s get the layup wins out of the way first — Rice, Georgia Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff should be three easy victories for anyone in the SEC.
But there are also some games on the schedule where the Razorbacks will be sizable underdogs. I’m counting the following games as losses — vs. Texas A&M (neutral site but in Arlington, Texas), at Georgia, at Ole Miss, at LSU and at Alabama. That’s a murderers’ row of opponents in essentially all road contests. Even if those teams were to suffer significant injuries, it’s tough to say any of those will be winnable games for the Hogs.
Now, Arkansas sits at 3-5, meaning it would have to win all four of the following games to make this a 7-5 season and lose us the bet. Those games are all at home vs. Texas, Auburn, Mississippi State and Missouri — each team has a win total between six and eight, and are projected to be much better than Arkansas. Winning all four of those games, even at home, feels nearly impossible. An improbable 3-1 record would give us a push. Even a 2-2 record, which I think Arkansas would consider a moral victory, gives us the win at 5-7. I think a 4-8 season is far more plausible than a 6-6 season, giving us multiple paths to victory with higher odds than even just pushing.
I’d look to lock this one up sooner rather than later, as the price will likely move given the value being offered.
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