It’s certainly been an exciting college football bowl season. Do you want to know what conferences fared the best against the spread? SBR contributor Ross Benjamin provides you with those answers and much more.
If using underdogs in bowl games for your college football picks is a force of habit, then congratulations. Bowl game underdogs went a stellar 25-15 against the spread over the past two-plus weeks. When tightening up those betting parameters even further, bowl game underdogs of 3.5 to 10.5 were a remarkable 15-3 ATS.
The ACC had far and away the best bowl season of any conference. There were 11 teams from the ACC received bowl invitations, and that speaks volumes regarding the conference’s strength. ACC teams went 9-2 straight up and 8-3 against the spread. As a matter of fact, Clemson was a decisive 31-0 winner over Ohio State in one of the College Football Playoff contests and will play Alabama for a national championship this upcoming Monday 1/9.
Contrary to the ACC, Big 10 teams were a major disappointment during this past bowl season. The Big 10 went a poor 3-7 straight up and 4-6 against the spread. Those failures were magnified by 3 of their top 4 teams (Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan) losing. The most disappointing of which was Ohio State’s embarrassing performance on a big stage against Clemson. On a more positive note, despite losing 52-49 to USC in the Rose Bowl, Penn State covered as a 7.0-point underdog, and that game unequivocally will be remembered as an all-time classic.
There were 6 teams from the Big 12 playing in bowl games. With all being considered, their 4-2 SU & ATS record in those games exhibited a strong showing. The highlight was Oklahoma’s 35-19 blowout win as a 2.0-point favorite over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
If you blindly bet on all 6 PAC-12 teams during this bowl season, the results weren’t pretty. Although the conference went 3-3 straight up, they were a dismal 0-6 ATS in those contests, and 5 of the 6 teams were a favorite. Utah, Stanford, and USC all came out on top, but those 3 wins came by just a combined 7 points.
The SEC once again sent a plethora of teams to bowl games. Specifically, there were 12 in all, and they went a mediocre 6-6 SU&ATS. After getting off to a poor 1-4 SU&ATS start to the bowl season, SEC teams finished strongly by going 5-2 SU&ATS.
Alabama continues to carry the SEC flag proudly and will look to win its second straight national championship next Monday against Clemson. At the time of this writing (1/3), a consensus of college football betting odds shows Alabama as a 6.5-point favorite.
American Athletic Conference
The AAC had a banner regular season and definitively established itself as the 6th best conference in college football. Nonetheless, they failed poorly this bowl season, and that was evidenced by their teams going an uninspiring 2-5 SU&ATS.
Conference USA held its own in bowl games, proven by their 4-3 SU&ATS record in those contests. Conference champion Western Kentucky was particularly impressive during a 51-31 rout of Memphis and covered with ease as a 7.0-point favorite.
It seems strange discussing independent teams bowl game results, and Notre Dame isn’t part of the dialogue. Just BYU and Army played in the bowl game this season, and they both won. Although, neither team covered as double-digit favorites.
Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference teams also acquitted themselves well during the bowl season and went a profitable 4-3 SU&ATS. Conference champion San Diego State was dominant in a 34-10 win as a 5.0-point favorite over a very good Houston Cougars team.
Sun Belt Conference
With all things being considered, Sun Belt teams had a stellar bowl season, evidenced by them going 4-2 SU & ATS. One of those results that stood above all the rest, came in Idaho’s 61-50 upset of Colorado State as a massive 16.0-point underdog.