On Thursday afternoon, the downtown Las Vegas book put up win totals for two dozen of the top teams in the country, along with win totals for each of the Power Five conferences (all Pac-12 teams combined, all SEC teams combined, etc.). And the Nugget also posted a Grand Salami – the total wins of all Power Five conference teams combined.
“The thing that helped us is we’ve worked on the Games of the Year and done a lot research already,” Miller said. “We knew the key players on both sides of the ball, returning starters, stars on offense and defense, and we looked at recruiting for teams like Alabama and Ohio State.
“All these teams we used in season wins, we also used in Games of the Year. We just had to look at the schedules and the opponents that aren’t in our Games of the Year.”
For the most part, Miller and Kessler had consensus on the win totals. But there were a couple teams that required a little negotiating between the two.
“I have a really high opinion of Houston and Stanford. I’m higher on them than Aaron was, and we had to hash that out,” Miller said. “I’ve got Stanford coming out on top in the Pac-12, and I think Houston is a very legitimate team. The Cougars could be one of the final four for the college football playoff.”
Ultimately, Stanford’s total opened at eight wins, and Houston was pegged at nine.
“There was some give-and-take. I think I gave more than I took,” Miller joked.
Clemson, Florida State, Oklahoma and Tennessee topped the list, with each win total opening at 10. Defending national champion Alabama, Louisiana State and Michigan followed at 9.5, with Notre Dame, Baylor, UCLA and Louisville joining Houston at nine.
The new wagering opportunities drew a crowd when they hit the board at noon Pacific, but the numbers have remained stable.
“We’ve had steady action, but no movements to report at this point,” Kessler said, about an hour after the totals went up.
“We’re taking dime limits,” Miller said, meaning bettors can wager a maximum of $1,000 per bet. “We’ll see how the momentum goes. It should be interesting.”
Miller said the timing is perfect to give football bettors something to ponder as summer approaches.
“It’s just to get that buzz going,” he said. “It’s a time of year where things really slow down for sportsbooks. We’re gonna start doing a lot of things with pro and college football. We’ll be coming out with a lot more things in the next few weeks – the Games of the Year and a bunch of other things that are kind of juicy for college football fans.”
Here are the Golden Nugget’s 2016 college football win totals (and conference props):
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.