Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer watches their NCAA college spring football game Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer autographs a hat at the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days in Chicago, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Annie Rice)
Betting on college football games based on the Associated Press Top 25 poll can be hazardous to your financial health.
“I would not recommend that,” South Point sports book director Chris Andrews said.
Neither would Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons.
“Rankings are amateur hour,” he said. “The people that do the rankings have zero to do with gambling.
“You’ll see teams unranked or ranked much lower favored over teams ranked above them.”
For example, Salmons noted the Ohio State-Michigan State game from last season. The No. 13 Buckeyes were coming off a 31-point loss at Iowa and were favored by 17 over the No. 12 Spartans, who’d just upset No. 7 Penn State.
“Everyone freaked out,” Salmons said. “How can a team this good, Michigan State, be getting this many points?”
Ohio State whipped Michigan State, 48-3.
“They have their agenda. They’re looking at wins and losses,” Andrews said of the AP voters. “But the way we look at things and the way the press and public look at things is different.
“A team might have a couple losses but that doesn’t mean they’re worse than a team that hasn’t played anybody.”
Poll vs. power ratings
The AP released its Monday and Las Vegas oddsmakers’ top 25 power ratings were at odds with several of the rankings.
For starters, the AP poll had Wisconsin at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5 with coach Urban Meyer’s status still unresolved. Andrews and Salmons each rank Ohio State at No. 2.
“I’m assuming Meyer’s in,” Andrews said. “If he’s out for the year, I would probably lower them by a couple points, but they wouldn’t drop too far. They’ve put together a great staff and recruited really well.”
While the AP poll ranks Michigan at No. 14, Andrews and Salmons each have the Wolverines at No. 7, ahead of Wisconsin, which they have at No. 10 and No. 9, respectively.
The veteran oddsmakers have Auburn rated higher — at Nos. 5 and 6 — than the AP, which ranked the Tigers ninth. They also consider Texas stronger, with Salmons rating the Longhorns No. 11 and Andrews No. 16 compared to the AP’s No. 23.
Andrews and Salmons also have two teams in the same spot in their power ratings that aren’t ranked by the AP: Oklahoma State at No. 20 and Texas A&M at No. 25.
“Oklahoma State is a pretty good program,” Andrews said. “I expect them to be very good.”
Andrews also praised Texas A&M’s hire of former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who replaced Kevin Sumlin.
“Fisher’s probably a step in the right direction but they’re playing in a really tough conference and in a really tough division,” he said. “They might have some losses but they’ll still be a good team.
“They’re a perfect example of a team that’ll probably fall out of favor with the pollsters but not so much with the power rating guys.”
The Westgate will raffle off six free entries to the SuperContest on Friday and Saturday during its annual SuperContest weekend.
Sign-ups for the $1,500-entry NFL handicapping contest are on pace to shatter last year’s record field of 2,748 entries. Using a prize structure based on 3,500 entries, this season’s winner would earn $1.59 million and the runner-up would win $579,600. The final 20 places paid (out of the top 100) would win $2,415.
Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito will host a Kickoff to Football NFL handicapping seminar from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Club Madrid. The panel will feature handicappers Hank Goldberg, Bruce Marshall and Andy Iskoe, and local radio hosts Brian Blessing and Bernie Fratto.
The event is free and open to the public. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided and there will be free giveaways, including two entries into the Last Man Standing contest.
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