There are a handful of NCAA College Football teams every season that seem to thrive in the Underdog role and 2014 has been no different. Here are the teams getting the bettors the butter when also getting the points.
College Football Teams With Best Underdog ATS Records
Passing judgment on college football teams annually is a hard thing to do with such a small sample size of games; especially when compared to some of the other major sports which play so many more games for statistics and trends to be deemed significant like soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey. Breaking down success to specific roles—in this case ‘Underdogs Who Have Been Solid Bets Thus Far This Season’ —leaves one with a list of names familiar and to be expected to be successful in this Underdog role as well as a number of surprises and perceived skunks. Let’s see who has done the best job winning money after 10 weeks of the College Football season, ATS-wise and mull if some of these teams are pretty set in this role or may just be a statistical anomaly.
One of two teams that is 4-0 ATS as Underdogs is #20 Utah (+5.5 ppg Margin of Victory, +12.5 ATS = Average Amount of Points Covers Spread By), which has covered as Underdogs against then-ranked opponents and fellow Pac-12 teams UCLA, USC and Arizona State as well as against Michigan at The Big House as 3-point Underdogs. The Utes were one of two teams tabbed in this space last week (along with Auburn Money Line) and Utah (+9½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) is again suggested as a pick at Home in Salt Lake City on Saturday against (AP) #5 Oregon in this week’s NCAA College Football: Trying To Make a Profit Off Underdogs in Week 11 column here at Sportsbook Review.
The other school tied with Utah with the best overall Underdog ATS record right now is Louisiana Tech (4-0 ATS, -2.8 ppg MoV, +18.6 ppg ATS +/-) which has covered as an Underdog against Oklahoma, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas and Auburn. The Bulldogs were 13-11 ATS L4 seasons as an Underdog, so this 4-0 ATS mark may just be a friendly byproduct of oddsmakers making Louisiana Tech’s big-name opponents Oklahoma (-34) and Auburn (-32½) such huge Home Favorites against the Bulldogs in games Louisiana Tech lost by 32 and 28, respectively.
East Carolina (+8.7 MoV, +16.8 ATS +/-) is 3-0 ATS this season in this role with consecutive Underdog covers in Weeks 2-4 against South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. The Pirates were 1-0 ATS as both Home and Road Underdogs last season, so this is a trend to watch to see if it’s for real. Not enough meat on the bone yet.
Besides these three, there are seven pretty decent college teams with 2-0 ATS records as Underdogs, five of which—#1 Mississippi State, #6 TCU, #8 Notre Dame, #9 Kansas State and #12 Mississippi—are actually still in the national championship hunt this season. The other two are Houston and South Carolina, the latter which covered as Underdogs against SEC rivals #17 Georgia and #3 Auburn.
College Teams With One Just ATS Loss in the Underdog Role
Florida Atlantic University (6-1 ATS Underdog, -9.9 MoV, +4.4 ATS +/-) actually is tied for the most covers in the collegiate ranks as an Underdog with 6—six straight actually after failing to cover in that role as 20½-point Underdogs in the season opener against #15 Nebraska, where the Owls lost 55-7. And who is FAU tied with you ask? None other than Massachusetts (6-2 ATS Underdog, -7.5 MoV, +6.2 ATS +/-) of course. The Minutemen—relatively new members to the College Football betting board—have Underdog ATS wins against everyone in the MAC that’s been favored against them as well as non-conference opponents Colorado and Vanderbilt.
Two teams on our NCAAF Free Picks with 5-1 ATS records as Underdogs heading into Week 11 are California (-0.3 MoV, +7.5 ATS +/-) and Western Michigan (0.0 MoV, +6.7 ATS +/-). The only time the Golden Bears—who have been absolutely awful in the role of Underdog over the last two seasons going a combined 4-15 ATS in this role—didn’t cover as an Underdog was against #5 Oregon getting 17½-points where they lost, 59-41, losing to the ATS by ½. Western Michigan’s lone non-cover as an Underdog was also a close shave as the Broncos lost 43-34 as 7½-point Underdogs in the season opener at Purdue. Both Cal and Western Michigan could very well be 6-0 ATS as Underdogs right now.
There is one team with a 5-2 ATS record as an Underdog, another MAC entrant, Miami of Ohio (-15.0 MoV, +3.1 ATS +/-), while there are four with 4-1 ATS marks—Boston College, Vanderbilt, Ball State and West Virginia—and one team, Purdue, with a 4-1-1 Underdog ATS record.
Overall, information like this is best examined over a period of years to see if teams actually do consistently reward sports bettors when they are in this Underdog role, and teams like #9 Kansas State actually do seem to thrive in this reality. The Wildcats play at #6 TCU on Saturday night (FOX, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT) in a huge Big 12 game with potential national title aspirations on the line for both teams involved. Kansas State is a crazy 13-1 ATS L14 record as a Road Underdog, and getting 6½ points (SIA) against the Horned Frogs is enough to recommend backing the Underdog Wildcats on this one. Check our College Football Odds before you make your pick on what should be one of the most exciting games of the season; and a game the loser will probably remember more than the winner.
Free College Football Pick: Kansas State +6 at 5Dimes