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UCF Expected to Finish College Football Season Undefeated; Odds Against Notre Dame, Though

Alex Kilpatrick

by Alex Kilpatrick in College Football

Oct 30, 2018 · 11:15 AM PDT

UCF Football
If UCF goes undefeated again, you can get a mediocre payout. If they don't, however.... Photo by Elisfkc (Flickr).
  • Online sportsbooks are offering odds on Notre Dame and UCF remaining undefeated through the regular season
  • Do those odds offer any kind of value?
  • There is a good bet here, after all

We’re approaching the end of the 2018 college football season. The leaves are falling, pumpkin flavors abound, “All I Want For Christmas is You” plays a mandatory three times a day, and sports betting sites are offering special futures bets on undefeated teams. ‘Tis the season.

Online sportsbooks are offering odds on two teams to finish the regular season undefeated. As we’ll see, those odds are a little overzealous, but there’s still some value available here.

Odds UCF is Undefeated in 2018

Will UCF Finish the 2018 Season Undefeated? Odds
Yes -160
No +120

Remaining on UCF’s schedule are Temple, Navy, Cincinnati, and South Florida. These odds are restricted to the regular season, so we don’t have to worry about Houston in the AAC Championship game.

Temple, Cincinnati, and South Florida are all good teams, and Navy is a weird option team that brings along that whole host of problems. This is not a schedule you roll over.

Odds Notre Dame is Undefeated in 2018

Will Notre Dame Finish the 2018 Season Undefeated? Odds
Yes +130
No -170

Notre Dame’s remaining schedule features more big names, but only one verifiable good team. Northwestern is your ESPN analyst’s favorite team, but also home to one of the worst offenses in Power 5. Florida State is in the first year of a rebuild and just took the biggest lost in school history. Syracuse is pretty good, but probably a little overrated in its AP Poll position. USC is a deeply disappointing 4-4 and will probably set off the coaching carousel when they fire Clay Helton.

UCF Favored, Notre Dame Not?

A big part of the difference in odds here is the difference in opponent brand name. South Florida, Temple, and Cincinnati all grade out (in S&P+) better than Notre Dame’s best opponent, USC, but none of those teams have the brand name of USC. USC and Florida State have both won national championships since the turn of the millennium and recruit at the highest level, but are also absolute butt in 2018.

Notre Dame has the bigger name opponents, but altogether a slightly easier schedule and a (slightly) better team. FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model, which is based on a different set of stats, would put Notre Dame’s odds of winning out at +177 and UCF’s at +270. Based on those numbers, neither of these bets offer positive value, but UCF’s are particularly bad. Is there value available here somewhere, though?

Value on the Other Side

As always with futures, betting sites make the odds so short that there’s value on the other side, if you can get it. Sportsbooks are letting you bet “no” here, which presents a ton of value. Statistical systems would put the odds of UCF losing at least one game at about -270, but oddsmakers will give you +120. That’s a huge difference in payout, and it’s not even over a crazy time scale. The regular season ends in just over four weeks, so you’re not tying up your bankroll for too long for this to be a good bet.

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