Are Vegas Odds Reliable Ranking Indicators?

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Are Vegas Odds Reliable Ranking Indicators?

Kirby Smart – G-Day 2017
Kirby Smart – G-Day 2017

If one looks at a list of Las Vegas national championship odds, has one just viewed a reliable preseason ranking of college football teams?
One national publication (Athlon) released the following preseason predictions on June 2, 2017:
1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Florida State
4. Washington
5. USC
Yesterday, Sportsline analyst Josh Nagel release a list of schools ranked by betting odds:
1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. USC
4. Florida State
5. Oklahoma
When one scans the list further, the projections continue to mention the usual suspects, but the ranking is not consistent.
In case you are interested, here is what was said about UGA:
15. Georgia
Kirby Smart’s debut (8-5) was a mild disappointment. But after losing three games by three points or less last season, the Bulldogs aren’t far from the top of the SEC East. With 11 returning starters on defense, and the continued development of Jacob Eason at quarterback, Georgia is Athlon’s pick to win the SEC East in 2017. Eason should benefit from a full offseason to work as the starter, and the backfield tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel should ensure the ground game is among the best in the nation. The question marks on offense remain up front and outside with the receiving corps. Former No. 1 recruit Trenton Thompson had a breakout performance in the Liberty Bowl but was away from the team in the spring. The junior lineman is expected to return, providing Smart with a talented anchor to build around in the trenches. The linebacking corps is among the nation’s best, and three seniors lead the way in the secondary. The annual showdown against Florida in Jacksonville is likely to decide whether or not the Bulldogs win the SEC East.

Georgia (Open: 30/1. Current: 30/1): The Bulldogs had an inconsistent season under first-year coach Kirby Smart. But if they shore up the defense and get expected improvement from promising quarterback Jacob Eason, they could be in the mix for the SEC title.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.