The Bounce-Back: Double-Digit Faves Who Lose

Jason Lake

Friday, September 29, 2017 8:19 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 29, 2017 8:19 PM UTC

Losing as a big favorite isn’t much fun, but one week later, these teams might have some value for your college football picks – if they’re the resilient type. 

What’s up, holmes? We’re back with some more college football picks for Week 5, and today, we’re looking specifically at teams that lost in Week 4 as double-digit favorites. In theory, the betting market will over-react to these losses, while the teams in question “regress to the mean” and perform closer to expectations. Let’s start by identifying the teams that left everyone with a big ol’ mouthful of chalk last week:

Boise State Broncos (–13.5) 23-42 vs. Virginia
Florida State Seminoles (–11) 21-27 vs. North Carolina State
Oregon Ducks (–14.5) 35-37 at Arizona State

There you have it. The Broncos have been on our radar screen as a diminished program under fourth-year head coach Bryan Harsin, and the Seminoles may have turned to dust in Week 1 after QB Deondre Francois wrecked his knee and was lost for the season. The Ducks? It’s Year One under Willie Taggart, and Year One is usually a rebuilding year. We might not end up recommending any of these three teams as a bounce-back candidate – especially the Broncos, who are off this week. What does that leave us?

Florida State at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

The Deacs (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) are off to a flying start this year, while the ‘Noles (0-2 SU and ATS) have been sideswiped by injuries and hurricanes. Yet here we are with Wake Forest getting 7.5 points at home on the NCAAF odds board. ESPN’s Football Power Index has Florida State winning 71.3 percent of the time, which is pretty darn close to a 7-point favorite. The Seminoles may prove resilient enough to bounce back in this situation, but the math just doesn’t work here.

California Golden Bears at Oregon (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

Here’s an interesting Pac-12 matchup. The Ducks (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) and Bears (3-1 SU and ATS) both suffered their first loss last week, although, in Cal’s case, they were 16.5-point puppies when they fell 30-20 to the visiting USC Trojans. That game was tied heading into the fourth quarter. This time around, Oregon is laying up to 16.5 points in Eugene; the FPI projections have the Ducks winning 87.2 percent of the time, or –14.5 for a kayfabe spread. Once again, the math isn’t on their side.

Well, phooey. We can’t in good conscience recommend either of these teams for your Week 5 NCAAF picks. But their potential to bounce back also makes us wary of fading them. There are other games on the schedule worth betting, though, so good hunting, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

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