Ask the Oddsmakers: Do AP Top 25 Rankings Ever Influence Team Futures Odds?

No. 3 Iowa celebrates a big road win at Maryland in Week 5. They host No. 4 Penn State this Saturday.
No. 3 Iowa celebrates a big road win at Maryland in Week 5. They host No. 4 Penn State this Saturday. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Each week here at BetSided, you may have noticed our weekly AP Top 25 Rankings compared to how WynnBET Sportsbook stacks their team futures odds for the National Championship.

For colleges like Alabama and Georgia, there's not much to differentiate. Both SEC squads are considered the two top teams in football and are reflected in their respective odds of +125 and +175.

Then it gets a little more tricky.

Iowa, currently the No. 3 team in the country is currently listed 8th at WynnBET when it comes to their futures odds at +5000. On Sunday, they were still listed with even longer odds, so they've already started to move further up the odds board. Meanwhile, No. 21 Texas is just behind Iowa at +8000.

While oddsmakers almost all universally create odds and implied probability based on their own set of rankings, it begs the question why AP Top 25 rankings don't get some sort of consideration. After all, they play a massive role as teams work their way through the season to get sorted for the College Football Playoff. Additionally, many bettors base their wagering decision on a game based off Top 25 rankings, regardless of whether it's the right play or not. If, for example, a public bettor puts a six-figure bet on Iowa to win the National Championship, that money will likely make their odds shorter regardless of whether it's a "square" or "sharp" bet.

Why don't Top 25 Rankings Influence Futures Odds or Weekly Lines?

We reached out to WynnBET Trader Patrick Wall, who has helped answer many bettor's college football-related questions each week in our "Ask the Oddsmakers" series.

The question was simple: How much do AP Top 25 rankings ever influence futures odds? What about setting the lines?

“AP Top-25 rankings are not directly built into our futures pricing. That is almost exclusively done through computer models, but it does require a bit of artistry from our trading team." Wall told BetSided.

"The art of bookmaking is where something such as a team’s AP ranking might be baked into a price. A team that is coming into the season highly-ranked that our mathematical system does not favor might be a team we open a bit higher or off-market and look to get a bet on.”

Models and Money are what ultimately decides futures pricing

Wall's answer makes sense, given that the sportsbook would rather try to create as much assurance as possible, rather than base it on arbitrary rankings.

Ultimately, as both Wall and Head Trader Alan Berg have pointed out in previous series, the best way for bettors to gain an edge is to bet the number, rather than the team. If you believe No. 3 Iowa, who hosts No. 4 Penn State in Iowa City as 2-point favorites this Saturday is in the driver's seat to win the Big Ten with a win this week, grabbing them at +5000 before the line moves down would be of tremendous value.

Think there's opportunity to grab Iowa at longer odds before Saturday? Don't wait! Grab them now at WynnBET.

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