College Football Handicapping: Under-The-Radar ATS Gems
by Trevor Whenham - 11/11/2009
When it comes to college football most bettors focus on the big name teams playing the high-profile games. That only makes sense given the coverage that those games get in the media. The problem, though, is that increased betting attention means that the lines just don't have the potential for value that under-bet lines can. It makes sense, then, to look for teams that are traveling under the radar but are covering a lot of spreads as they are doing so. Here's a look at six such teams:
Connecticut Huskies - This team might be just 4-5 in the Big East, but no team in the country is any better at covering the spread than the Huskies. They are 8-1 ATS, and they covered their first seven games. They have also gone over the total six times in nine tries - the best in the conference - so the key to their success from a betting perspective has been that they are able to score enough to stay close to their opponents even if they can't win. They have only been favored against teams that they outclass, and they have done their job there. The rest of the time they get solid spreads - clearly bigger than they need. Last weekend was a prime example - they were given 16.5 points against Cincinnati, but they moved the ball well and only needed two of them.
Temple Owls - Considering that this team won just one game three years ago, and then won four and five games in the next two years, they probably deserve a lot more attention than they are getting this year. They are already 7-2, they have won seven in a row, and they are bowl-eligible for the first time since the first Bush was President. They are playing decent defense, and freshman running back Bernard Pierce is among the best young players in the country. That combination has helped them cover six of eight spreads. Temple is exactly the kind of team that is a betting success - they are better than people have gotten used to them being, and they are doing it without drawing attention. A reasonably easy remaining schedule and a great deal of momentum could lead to a few more covered spreads before the season ends.
Fresno State Bulldogs - It used to be that Fresno State was the first team people thought of when they talked about non-BCS teams. The rise of programs like Boise State and TCU and the comparative struggles of Fresno State have made them fall out of the gaze of the public. That lack of attention has made it reasonably easy for them to cover spreads - they have done it six times in eight tries. Fresno State has shown that they are versatile in their spread-covering abilities - they covered two of their first three games as significant underdogs, and then went on to cover four of five spreads as significant favorites. They should be on both sides of the spread in their remaining games, so they'll need to continue to exercise that versatility.
Marshall Thundering Herd - Not many people have paid any attention to Marshall since Byron Leftwich graduated. More bettors should be. The Herd have covered four games in a row, and six of eight overall. They have only been favored twice, but they have taken care of business both times. They are only 5-4 overall, and they haven't won more than two in a row, so they are far from a consistent team. They are clearly good enough when they need to be, though - from a betting perspective at least.
Wyoming Cowboys - The only time in a long time, probably ever, that people paid attention to Wyoming was earlier this year when a strange quirk in scheduling meant that they hosted Texas. They managed to narrowly cover that spread despite not playing particularly well. Since then they have covered five of their next seven games despite only winning three of those games. In this case I don't think that their success is because the public is underestimating them. It's because they aren't thinking about them at all. When no one knows anything about a team, it's easy to assume that they are outclassed by a higher-profile team.
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders - This 6-3 team has, in retrospect, been reasonably easy to handicap - when they win they cover the spread, and when they lose they don't. With the exception of a reasonably surprising one-point win against Maryland, this team either wins by a lot or loses by a lot. In other words, this is one of those teams where the trick to successfully betting them has been as simple as figuring out if they are going to win or not. If only it were always as simple as that.
Most Recent College Football Handicapping
- Bowl Game Schedule - College Football Bowl Schedules for 2019-2020
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Big Bowl Game Opening Line Report and Picks
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Bowl Game Opening Line Report and Picks
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Championship Week Opening Line Report and Picks
- College and NFL Football Biggest Line Moves for Dec. 12-13
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Week 15 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Week 14 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Week 13 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Week 12 Opening Line Report and Picks
- College and NFL Football Biggest Line Moves for Nov. 14-15