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College Football Betting Trends that Emerged in Week 1
by - 9/3/2014

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Florida State's quarterback Jameis Winston

The first weekend of college football came and went, and the biggest take away from the opening games was that the race to the national title is wide open. Many of the top-ranked teams struggled to cover their spreads and played games that turned out to be much closer than expected. However, three of the five largest favorites on the board (30 points or more) managed to cover their spreads, while the other two came tantalizingly close.

Football betting trends can, and will, change on a weekly basis, but it is imperative for every bettor to understand what those trends were in order to pick up on what will happen in the future. Let’s take a closer look at the first week of college football action and go over a few trends that popped up over those first set of games.

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Top Ranked School Struggled

Large favorites struggled to cover the spread during Week 1, and many of the top-ranked schools took home wins to go along with ATS losses. No. 1-ranked Florida State won but did not cover. No. 2 ranked Alabama won but also didn’t cover. In fact, only one of the Top 5-ranked schools managed to cover its opening week spread on Saturday.

No. 1 Florida State : 18-point favorite, won by six

No. 2 Alabama : 22-point favorite, won by 10

No. 3 Oregon : 52-point favorite, won by 49

No.4 Oklahoma : 37-point favorite, won by 32

No. 5 Ohio State : 13.5-point favorite, won by 17

Once we expand to the Top 10, only four teams managed to cover, and the best teams in the nation produced a 4-6 ATS record.

Large Favorites Covered

The biggest favorites on the board performed surprisingly well against the spread. The 30-points-or-more lines managed to produce a 3-2 record, but the two largest spreads of the weekend—Oregon as a 52-point favorite and Oklahoma as a 37.5-point favorite—did not cover their spreads. Both teams came close, however, but were not looking to step on the gas late in the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma: 37.5-point favorite, won by 32

Oregon: 52-point favorite, won by 49

Baylor: 33-point favorite, won by 38

Mississippi State: 30.5-point favorite, won by 49

Michigan: 34.5-point favorite, won by 38

Home Underdogs Covered and Other Trends

Home underdogs produced a fantastic 8-3 record against the spread over the first week of action and covered at a 72-percent rate. Home teams also managed to cover at a decent rate and produced a 46-37-1 ATS record for a 55.42-percent win rate. The totals numbers for the first week of the season nearly fell right on the 50/50 mark and produced a 39-40 record over the 79 games that had lines. Nearly every other category fell into 50-percent rate, but the favorite did manage to win its matchup straight up nearly 86 percent of the time.

Only One Upset in the Top 15

Taking moneylines on the Top 15 would have been a solid play for the ones that were available. The only upset to occur in the Top 15 was Thursday’s opening game between No. 9 South Carolina and No. 21 Texas A&M. The rest of the schools were able to cover with relatively ease, except for the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers, who played No. 13 LSU during the opening weekend. However, do not expect that trend to continue as the top-ranked school will each begin to add losses to their record as the season progresses.

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