We’re a week out from the 2021 Military Bowl between Boston College and East Carolina, and that means we have gambling odds, bay-bee! This is, of course, for entertainment purposes only... unless you’re in a state that allows legal sports betting, like most of the ones around Massachusetts. If that’s the case then this is definitely for more than entertainment purposes; go to town.
Our friends over at DraftKings have you covered for the Military Bowl. Let’s take a look:
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Boston College -3 (+100)
East Carolina +3 (-120)
The spread over at Draftkings opened up at 3 points, but with some adjusted juice. There seems to be some early money going to East Carolina +3, giving you even money for a bet on the Eagles to cover.
BCI’s Pick: Jeff Sagarin’s rating system — his model seems like it’s been around forever — is built such that you can get expected point spreads by comparing team ratings, so we’ll use that for our pick here. Sagarin has BC in 77th with a rating of 69.45 and ECU in 81st with a rating of 68.09. With no home field adjustment to make, that gives us an expected spread of BC by 1.36. This is really, really close when you factor in the added juice for BC -3, but we’ll say just from a pure calculation perspective that we’ll pick ECU to cover.
O 51.5 (-110)
U 51.5 (-110)
BC has averaged 24.67 points scored per game this year and averaged 22.16 allowed.
East Carolina has averaged 29.67 points scored per game and average 26.25 allowed.
Some super quick and super dirty math here would be something like (24.67+26.25)/2 = 25.46 expected points for BC and (22.16+29.67)/2 = 25.91 expected points for ECU. That adds up to a total of 51.37... right on the money for the O/U. Gotta love Vegas; they know what they’re doing.
BCI’s Pick: I would take the over here. Most of BC’s games were without Jurkovec. PJ has had a lot of extra time to get some strength back in his injured hand, and the BC defense struggled a bit over the last few games.
Boston College -140
East Carolina +120
Pretty close game, really. Those implied odds here work out to BC at a 58.3% chance of winning and ECU at a 45.5% chance. That adds up to over 100% because of the house’s juice, but still helps give you a little bit of an idea of what the odds are. Cut the juice in half for each and that gives you something closer to BC at 56.4% and ECU at 43.6%.
BCI’s Pick: There are a lot of models out there that give you odds of winning, but my personal favorite is Bradley-Terry (you may be much more familiar with its college hockey-specific name, “KRACH”). We found a site here that did the math for us. Note that both teams are missing a win in these ratings — they factor in FBS games only. KRACH shows BC at 76th with a rating of 78.512 and ECU at 66th with a rating of 105.391.
Uh oh. We can already see where this is going. To figure out odds of Team A winning, you just do A/(A+B) with the ratings. That gives us BC win odds of 42.69% and ECU odds of 57.31%. Yikes. Hate to say it, but KRACH really likes ECU to win straight up. Of course, you want to factor in BC’s lack of Jurkovec for much of the season here... but the numbers say go with ECU.
Bowl season brings some extra betting options beyond the usual moneyline and point spreads, and DraftKings has some added options for the Military Bowl than you’d have in a normal week. You’ve got a whole host of alternate line/spread/total options, and they also have 1st half betting options, team totals, and 1st/last to score too, if that strikes your fancy. Be sure to check it out.