Let’s begin with this, I don’t gamble because I’m horrible at it. I learned that in college. That knowledge stuck with me longer than the calculus class I had to take.
However, I learned something pretty quickly about gambling. There is something to be gleaned by point spreads and odds that help build luxurious resorts in Las Vegas. The bookies that helped turn a desert stopover into a resort town tend to know a thing or two. As much as anything, they know when to hedge their bets.
Vegas is doing just that with Tennessee’s football team. The Vols odds of winning a national title are now 20-to-1, according to various sources. That’s a massive change.
Per Max Chadwick of Pro Football Focus, Tennessee was a 150-1 long shot to win the national title at the beginning of the season. Since then, things have gone pretty well for the Vols after monumental wins over Florida and Alabama. Both games broke long losing streaks. Vegas took notice.
The Vols’ odds of winning the national championship before the Alabama game were 40-to-1. Now, the Vols have the fifth best national championship odds in the nation at 20-to-1.
Ohio State still has the best odds to win the national title. At +180, the Buckeyes are better than a 2-to-1 favorite to win it all. Georgia is just behind Ohio State at 2-to-1. Alabama is still 4-to-1 despite losing to the Vols. Clemson is 12-to-1 to win a national championship. Michigan is 16-to-1, followed by Tennessee.
The ascension from being a long shot to a real shot has been rapid for the Vols. Tennessee went from 70-to-1 to 60-to-1 after beating Florida and were 40-to-1 after beating LSU. Then, things got serious after the Vols beat Alabama.
In gambling terms a 150-to-1 shot is practically like throwing money in the garbage disposal. At 20-to-1, Vegas thinks the Vols are clearly in the hunt. That may still seem far fetched if you’re still used to the Vols over the past decade, but these Vols are different.
I learned long ago not to bet against the bookmakers, who always seem to be in the know. As for Calculus, I still can’t muster much from that.