How injury to Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa influenced futures markets

New York Post Sports 1 month ago

After Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain last Saturday versus Tennessee, futures markets involving the college football national championship and Heisman Trophy adjusted quickly.

Heisman adjustments were most dramatic. Here’s a quick look at the “before and after” odds at William Hill.

We’ll include equivalent win percentage in parentheses because those best express changes.

Remember that sportsbooks build a universe larger than 100 percent to create a house edge.

  • Before injury: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama 2/3 (60 percent); Joe Burrow, LSU 9/5 (36 percent); Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma 4/1 (20 percent); Justin Fields, Ohio State 10/1 (nine percent).
  • After injury: Burrow 6/5 (45 percent); Hurts 7/5 (42 percent); Tagovailoa 11/5 (31 percent); Fields, 9/1 (10 percent).

Tagovailoa should have an opportunity to return and make an impact in high-profile games against LSU and Auburn, and possibly in the SEC title game. But his chances to win the Heisman were basically cut in half by the turn of an ankle.

Because he’s expected back near full strength by the postseason, Alabama’s championship chances at William Hill dropped only a smidge:

  • Before injury: Alabama 9/4 (31 percent), Clemson 5/2 (29 percent), Ohio State 4/1 (20 percent), Oklahoma 5/1 (17 percent), LSU 6/1 (14 percent)
  • After injury: Alabama 5/2 (29 percent), Clemson 5/2 (29 percent), Ohio State 7/2 (22 percent), Oklahoma 4/1 (20 percent), LSU 9/2 (18 percent).

It’s interesting that the “universe” expanded — with “before” adding up to 111 percent, “after” to 118 percent. Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU all have better real-world chances now, but bettors aren’t getting a bargain backing any of them.

All five championship contenders are in action Saturday. Let’s see what has been happening in the markets:

No. 1 Alabama hosts Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPN). With Mac Jones now at quarterback, we’ve seen a “floor” of Alabama -31 this week and a “ceiling” of ’Bama -33¹/₂. The line might settle at 32. Sharps will take the underdog Hogs at +33 or more if available.

No. 2 LSU hosts No. 9 Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS). Global openers of LSU -12 or -12¹/₂ have been bet down to -10¹/₂. It’s expected that LSU would get support at the key number of 10. Auburn is a respected dog at +11 or more.

No. 3 Ohio State hosts No. 13 Wisconsin (noon, Fox). We’ve seen a very tight betting range here, between 14 and 14¹/₂. Leading to kickoff, the public probably likes laying two touchdowns with a superpower that has covered in six straight blowouts. Sharps will gobble up that hook (half-point) when available. (Wisconsin’s national championship odds plummeted from 10/1 to 50/1 after losing at Illinois last week as 30-point favorites.)

No. 4 Clemson hosts Boston College (7:30 p.m., ACCN). The line has been hopping between 33¹/₂ and 34. This won’t be a heavily bet game. Sharps likely will back the ’dog at +34 or better.

No. 5 Oklahoma visits Kansas State (noon, ABC). Global openers near 21¹/₂ or 22 have been bet up to 23¹/₂ or 24. It looks as if it’s going to take the full +24 to get sharps interested in the underdog.

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