8/10/2009 12:00:00 AM
College football teams that cover three straight games as the underdog and suddenly find themself in the favorite's role come crashing back down to earth with their tails tucked between their legs.
When deciding where to place your hard-earned cash in the sports betting arena most will tell you to find a solid underdog and back that puppy because they will lead to more cash in your portfolio in the long run? This seems to be a basic concept when playing football, basketball and especially baseball where the odds are certainly against you when playing favorites.
This made me wonder what happens to college football underdogs that have won more than one game in that role and are now installed as a favorite. Will the confidence of, let’s say, three-straight underdog victories translate into the role of solid favorite or will the weight of being a favorite make them howl for a completely different reason?
I searched the database for a situation like this that possibly happened last season and I found the Virginia Cavaliers had been installed as an underdog or pick’em in three-straight games in which they won each of those straight up. The oddsmaker decided that they were now worthy of being a favorite, a small one, but a favorite nonetheless at home versus the Miami Hurricanes.
In that game they were a one-point favorite and lost the game straight up 24-17, failing to cover the number by eight points. I know that’s just one game and one game is not grounds to lay your hard earned money on so I dug a little deeper.
This happens to be a rather rare situation having occurred only once during the 2008 season so I went back in time to see if there was any validity to my idea. To my surprise there were two more occurrences during the 2007 season.
Miami-Ohio had won three-straight games as an underdog or pick’em when they hit the road to face the Temple Owls as a six-point road favorite. The outcome of this contest also supported my idea as the Temple Owls defeated Miami 24-17, as the Redhawks failed to cover the number by 13 points. So far so good, let’s continue.
The second occurrence happened when East Carolina hosted NC State as a five-point home favorite after winning three-straight games as an underdog or pick’em. The Pirates fell flat as the Wolfpack defeated them 34-20 with East Carolina failing to cover the number by 19 points.
With three qualifying games and three easy winners so far I decided to put this new idea to the test and ask the database if there were more occurrences and if so what were the outcomes. Could I have possibly stumbled upon a solid situation playing against those howling underdogs that are now called upon to be favorites?
My search took me all the way back to 2002 and this is what I found. Playing against these favorites we would have cashed in 14 straight games and averaged covering the number by 17 points per game. Now that is enough evidence to support my idea and turn it into a solid play on situation when playing against a previously howling underdog that must now lay chalk.
Have a great football season, be safe and as always good luck!