2018 College Football Betting Tips: Predictions for Worst ATS Teams This Year
There are many unique words and phrases in the sports betting industry, but none of them are as prominently used as "good teams win, great teams cover." Unfortunately for bettors, college football teams don't care about whether they cover the spread or not. They are focused on one thing and one thing only, and that's winning football games. This is why betting on college football and the NFL is difficult. The point spread adds a degree of difficulty to an already-challenging task.
For example, I'm sure by now we are well aware that Alabama won last year's National Championship. What I'm sure many of you don't know is that if you backed them on a game-to-game basis that you would have been shown a negative result. The Crimson Tide went just 6-8 ATS last season, which put them below teams like Massachusetts, Charlotte and even Rutgers, all of whom were god-awful.
I understand that when you are one of the best teams in the college football landscape, you will be tagged as the favorite in almost every game, and sometimes the spreads can reach upwards of 30+. But when you are a mediocre or poor team, failing to cover the spread only adds misery for bettors around the world. The worst ATS teams from last year were Hawaii 1-10-1 ATS, UTEP 2-9-1, USC 3-10-1, Western Kentucky 3-10 and Tennessee 3-9.
The main point of this article is to help you identify a handful of teams that could be ATS money-burners this year. You can use this list to fade them or avoid them completely. The choice is yours. These may just be predictions, but they are intended to be as accurate as possible given a team's strength of schedule, expectations and personnel.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
The Hawaii football program should be forced to remove the "Warriors" portion of their name. They were not a good football team last season as they finished 3-9 straight up and 1-10-1 against the spread. Technically speaking, they were a great fade, but for the sake of this article they aren't going to be a very good ATS team once again this year. Right out of the gate they get what should be a good Colorado State team, then Navy, Rice and Army. That looks like 0-4 ATS. The Rainbow Warriors will have to rely on a quarterback who has thrown only nine passes for UH, and those came in mop-duty last year. They will also have to replace the entire left side of the offensive line and replace the running back who set the school's single-season rushing record last year with 1,510 yards. Until the Rainbow Warriors can show me that they've patched up these glaring holes, they will continue to be a train-wreck of a team and a great fade at the betting window.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are one of the most publicly-backed teams in the entire college football landscape. Unfortunately for fans of the team, they are also one of the most overrated teams on a yearly basis and are perennial money-burners for bettors. The Irish finished last season with an 8-5 record ATS, which isn't the worst mark in the world, but I expect them to take a major step backwards this season. The Irish have question marks at the quarterback position and lost their leading rusher, two of the country's top offensive linemen and two of their go-to wide receivers. The schedule also doesn't do them any favors. The Fighting Irish open the 2018 campaign with a game against Michigan. They also face Stanford, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and USC, all of whom figure to be much better than they were last season. With all the personnel the Irish have to replace, I can't see them getting to eight ATS victories once again this season.
Rutgers Scarlett Knights
Rutgers has essentially been the laughing stock of the Big Ten for the last handful of years and with good reason. Their records over the last three seasons have been 4-8, 2-10 and 4-8, respectively. This year I expect much of the same from them considering they have a terrible quarterback problem and a wide receiver corps that lacks experience. What Rutgers does have going for them is their defense, but I'm not sure how much that matters in a Big Ten conference featuring teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Rutgers did give bettors plenty to be happy about at the betting window, going 8-4 ATS last season, but regression in that category is coming. The schedule does not do them any favors, having to play Indiana, Ohio State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. That is a damn near impossible schedule. I am fully aware that Rutgers will be an underdog in each of those games, and a backdoor cover does the trick, but I don't see how this team is going to put up points on good defenses or keep a high-powered offense like Ohio State or Penn State out of the end zone.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
By now we all know that a competent quarterback is almost essential to any football teams' success. Coastal Carolina hasn't figured that out yet as they have used seven different quarterbacks in 2016 and six different signal callers in 2017. If there is no consistency among the offense, the results are going to bad, and that's what they've been over the last two seasons. Last year Coastal Carolina finished with a 3-9 record straight up but managed to cover in five of those games. They benefited from a relatively easier schedule compared to what they have on tap for this year with games versus South Carolina, UAB, Appalachian State and Arkansas State. Not sure where the points are going to come from on this team with a combination of an inexperienced offensive line and a big question mark at the QB position. Defensively, the Chanticleers return just four starters from a unit that gave up 34 points per game. A big reason why they gave up so many points is because they struggled to force turnovers, getting just six fumble recoveries and five interceptions. They also had only 15 sacks. It's going to be tough sledding once again for this third-year FBS team, so keep an eye out for them on the betting board and fade them with confidence.
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