College Football Picks: 2013-2014 ATS Report

Willie Bee

Sunday, February 2, 2014 6:41 PM GMT

We all know how the final BCS Standings from this past season played out.  The final year of the often controversial Bowl Championship Series went out with a bang, as the Florida State Seminoles completed an undefeated campaign with a thrilling comeback to beat the Auburn Tigers for the national title.

But what if college football bettors had the final say in the rankings?

Those bettors would no doubt vote with their wallets, and it was Auburn who filled wallets better than any other team by beating the college football odds 12 times in 14 games. The Tigers experienced a dramatic turnaround in Gus Malzahn's first year as head coach, improving from a 3-9 straight up record (4-8 against the spread) in 2012.

Auburn was one of nine teams to finish in the BCS top 25 and the ATS top 25, with Florida State another just behind the Tigers in a 3-way tie for second-highest return. The Seminoles went 11-3 ATS, failing to cover regular season contests at Boston College and vs. North Carolina State before losing at the window to Auburn as 11.5 point chalk in the BCS Championship.

Backing FSU the entire season meant having to give up 30+ points in seven games. The 'Noles covered six of them, including a 59-point spread vs. Idaho, with the only loss coming to the Wolfpack who were getting 35 and just managed to cover the 32-point gap at the end.

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Blue Devils Enjoy Fine Season On Field & At Window

Mentioning Duke at this time of year makes everyone think basketball first, but it was an excellent season for David Cutcliffe and the gridiron group in Durham. Cutcliffe has been lifting the Dookies out of football obscurity for a few seasons now, and even though they were one of Florida State's victims in the 30+ point underdog column, the mere fact the Blue Devils were in the ACC Championship was a complete surprise.

Duke covered 11 of 14 for a $7.70 payout across the schedule, with the signature win coming in late-October at Virginia Tech, a 13-10 outright upset as a 12 point 'dog. Don't think that 'Bama doesn't already have Cutcliffe on its short list once Nick Saban does step aside in Tuscaloosa.

It was also a good season for anyone backing the Missouri Tigers. Gary Pinkel's crew won 12 out of 14 while covering 11 times, and made it to the SEC Championship their second year in the conference. The Tigers capped things off with a 41-31 win in the Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma State, giving their new league a 10-1 mark vs. their former conference in the bowl.

Three teams that each put 6.7 units into the backers' pockets were Navy, North Texas and Houston. Each of the trio went 10-3 vs. the NCAA football odds, with the Cougars covering their first seven before stumbling to finish the schedule.

Depending when you got down on the Wisconsin Badgers in their September matchup at Ohio State, bettors may have also put $6.70 in their accounts. That contest officially closed with the Badgers getting 7, but there were some 6-6.5 point lines along the way as Wisconsin's rally in the final quarter fell short in a 31-24 loss and push to the spread. As a result, the Badgers finished the schedule 9-3-1 ATS for a 5.7 unit payoff.

Baylor (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS), Michigan State (13-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) and UCLA (10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS) each brought in 4.6 units while Central Florida (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) was +2.5 to account for the other four teams to finish top 25 in both BCS and ATS rankings.

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Cal, UTEP & EMU Top Fades To Pay Off

As we say in Texas, there's more than one way to skin a cat...as well as a Bear, Miner or Eagle, though there are laws against hunting all three in most places. I normally don't promote a fade strategy in sports betting, but sometimes it can work such as this last MLB season when I faded 159 of the Houston Astros' 162 games to keep me in the black on the diamond.

Three teams that paid off handsomely in the fade column on last year's college football fields were the California Bears, UTEP Miners and Eastern Michigan Eagles. Each covered just two of 12 games for a cool $9 on the fade. In fact, when you check out our report on the top teams to play according to totals wagering, you'll discover that the Eagles were an ATM machine as far as fading and betting one side of the scoreboard figure.

A couple of teams that took different routes to fade rewards were the Georgia Bulldogs and Miami-OH RedHawks. Georgia went 8-5 during the season to finish No. 22 in the final BCS Standings, but only 3-9-1 ATS for -6.9 units of red ink. That's the same bankroll burn as the RedHawks, who might have ranked dead last at No. 125 in the BCS if the BCS went that low after a winless 0-12 schedule.

Below are the top 10 follows and fades last year. Keep checking back this winter and spring as SBR keeps college football bettors up to date with updates, previews and free college football picks.

Top 10 Teams Vs. Spread

SU

ATS

Units

Auburn

12-2

12-2-0

+9.8

Duke

10-4

11-3-0

+7.7

Florida State

14-0

11-3-0

+7.7

Missouri

12-2

11-3-0

+7.7

Navy

9-4

10-3-0

+6.7

North Texas

9-4

10-3-0

+6.7

Houston

8-5

10-3-0

+6.7

Wisconsin

9-4

9-3-1

+5.7

Colorado State

8-6

10-4-0

+5.6

Bowling Green

10-4

10-4-0

+5.6

 

Worst 10 Teams Vs. Spread

SU

ATS

Units

California

1-11

2-10-0

-9.0

Eastern Michigan

2-10

2-10-0

-9.0

UTEP

2-10

2-10-0

-9.0

Idaho

1-11

3-9-0

-6.9

Georgia

8-5

3-9-1

-6.9

Air Force

2-10

3-9-0

-6.9

Miami-OH

0-12

3-9-0

-6.9

Northwestern

5-7

3-9-0

-6.9

Tulsa

3-9

3-9-0

-6.9

Southern Miss

1-11

3-9-0

-6.9