The Fresno State Bulldogs have earned the top spot in our latest weekly NCAA College Football Top ATS Cats and Rats list after upsetting San Diego State. BYU remains our King Rat. Who else made the list?
1—Fresno State 6-0-1 ATS (Last Week: #4)
Fresno State (5-2 SU, 6-0-1 ATS) has played +18.4 ppg better than the Point Spread so far this 2017 FBS Regular Season—the best mark in FBS now after the Bulldogs rewarded their backers at the betting windows in Week 8 against San Diego State with Fresno State leading the whole way against the host Aztecs and winning 27-3 in MWC play as outright +220 Moneyline Underdogs. SDS opened as 11½-point chalks and were bet down to down to 6½ almost everywhere with Sharps and the General Public alike profiting from the Bulldogs upset.
Next on tap for Fresno State in Week 9 is a date with UNLV on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno in a game which saw Fresno State open up as 15-point chalks and already climb up to as high as -21 in less than 24 hours on the board as sharps again are backing as 1st-year Head Coach Jeff Tedford and his Bulldogs who have already banged heads with #1 Alabama and #12 Washington back-to-back and on the Road. The Trends show Fresno State is 1-3 ATS L4 vs. the Rebels (4-3 ATS, -5.9 ppg ATS).
2—Central Florida 5-0-1 ATS (Last Week: #1)
No. 20 Central Florida retains its lofty Top Cat status in our rankings despite a Push against Navy in Week 8, winning 31-21 as 10-point favorites at Annapolis. The Knights got off to the best start in the program’s history, improving to 6-0 and 4-0 in AAC Conference play.
Next up for UCF in Week 9, a brief respite from FBS opponents and a game against FCS side Austin Peay at Home at Bright-House Networks Stadium in the first meeting ever between the two sides. An encounter that you may have to find in the Added games on the betting board. The big game for #20 UCF would seem to be coming in the Regular Season finale against #16 South Florida at Home in Orlando. UCF ranks #3 in TO Margin (+1.67) with 15 Takeaways and only 5 Giveaways, ranks #6 in Total Offense (536.5 ypg) and have covered the betting number better than anyone else (+16.6 ppg vs. ATS) outside of new Top Cat Fresno St. (+18.4 ppg).
3—Georgia Tech 6-0 ATS (Last Week: #3)
Georgia Tech (4-2 SU, 6-0 ATS) holds tight at #3 for the third straight week after the Ramblin’ Wreck covered ATS again, defeating Wake Forest, 38-24. Covering ATS as 3-point Favorites in Week 8 in a rare October night ACC game, which saw much money bet on the Demon Deacons in what turned out to be a nice result for the sportsbooks.
So are Georgia Tech possibly the Leicester City of the CFP? Probably not but we’ll see. A big hurdle for 10th-year Head Coach Paul Johnson (60-49-5 ATS) and the Yellow Jackets (+9.9 ppg versus ATS) comes quite abruptly on Saturday in ACC play at #7 Clemson where the Tigers have been bet down from 16-point Home favorites to 14½ at most Offshores Monday. The Trends show Georgia Tech is 1-4 ATS L5 vs. Clemson, with the Tigers winning 26-7 last season in Atlanta (CLEM -10½) and 43-24 (CLEM -7) in the last meeting at Clemson Memorial Stadium, aka Death Valley.
4—Notre Dame 6-1 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)
Notre Dame has recovered nicely after a 1-point Loss at Georgia in Week 2 at Home in South Bend with the Fighting Irish averaging a robust 6.2 ypp on Offense. They proved it in a 49-14 dismantling of #11 USC on Saturday night. Next up for Independent Notre Dame a Week 9 meeting with upstart NC State on Saturday in a game which sees the Fighting Irish currently as 7-point Home chalks. ND (0-2 ATS L2 vs NC State) is a very respectable +13.3 ppg compared to ATS, ranks #19 in Total Offense and are #4 in FBS in TO margin at an average of +1.83 per game. And teams who do well in TO Margin, usually do pretty well ATS also but finding consistent programs that do so over 5- to 10-year spans is completely a different thing.
5—Penn State 5-1-1 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)
And now for something completely different. Sorry Texas, Southern Miss, New Mexico State, and Stanford—all 6-1 ATS by some ATS grading—but Big Ten’s Penn State deserves some love. Not only for what the Nittany Lions have done at the betting windows, but also in their efforts in restoring Penn State’s football program to where it once was: back in the national spotlight after some ugly stains left from the latter Paterno years. We see you Mr. Franklin. Well done sir. QB Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions hurdled one huge obstacle last Saturday in Week 8, humbling #15 Michigan at State College, 42-13, covering ATS as 7½-point Home Favorites as RB Saquon Barkley continued his march toward a potential Heisman Trophy-win and the Nittany Lions continued to stay in the 2018 CFP championship hunt.
Next up for Penn State? None other than #6 Ohio State and a Saturday date at the Horseshoe in Columbus. The Nittany Lions are +10.1 ppg compared to ATS are #27 in Total Offense (453.3 ypg) and currently, rank an impressive #2 in Turnover Margin (+1.71 pg). This is a team which doesn’t beat itself and could be the best QB-RB tandem in FBS in McSorley and Barkley although Notre Dame’s Wimbush and Adams and Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough (and Damien Harris, 697 Rushing yards, 10 TDs) aren’t too shabby either. (Can you see why the Crimson Tide are probably winning it all this year?)
College Football Top 5 ATS Rats Rankings (October 24, 2017)
1—Brigham Young 0-8 ATS (Last Week: #1)
BYU (1-7 SU, 0-8 ATS) holds onto its unenviable title as King Rat, but that ain’t hard when you go to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and play lowly East Carolina and then lose outright as 4½-point Favorites, now is it?
The Cougars have played -13.1 ppg below the ATS—the third-worst behind Ball State and Oregon State—and have been seemingly given a gift in the schedule in Week 9 in the form of San José State, on Saturday. although the series Trends favor the Spartans (1-7 SU, only Win vs FCS Cal-Poly) who have gone 4-0 ATS the L4 meetings against QB Tyler Mangum and BYU (-1.16 TO’s a game, #113). But with SJS having the worst Scoring Margin numbers of all 130 FBS schools (-31.6 ppg), either backing our little King Rat BYU (-20.1 Scoring Margin, #119) or staying away seem the only options. You want some horror on a crisp October Saturday homeslice? Then try watching BYU-San José State (ESPN3, 3 pm ET/12 pm PT) sober or without a wager on the game (BYU -14, 44½, 5Dimes). Best of luck.
2—Florida State (0-5-1 ATS) (Last Week: Not ranked)
The Seminoles avoided this list up until now from Pity (starting QB Deondre Francois’ Injury), Respect (History, 8-4 ATS in 2016) and because Florida State’s ACC Schedule was and is so damn tough. But when the kids are soon coming and pounding on the doors in colorful costumes wanting mini Snickers bars and you haven’t covered a game ATS yet, well, then you’re not only on our Rats List, but you leap to #2. Daddy was a quiet man long enough. We’re here to canonize ATS winners and mock ATS losers you fools. Snap out of it for the love of Bear Bryant.
In Week 7, the Seminoles lost as 6½-point Home Favorites to 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville, 31-18, meaning the last time this team won its backers money at the betting windows, Barack Obama was still US president and Tom Petty and Hugh Hefner were still both alive. And we are seeing some strong, anti-FSU sentiment early this week (Sunday-Monday) from Sharps at sportsbooks for Week 9 when FSU is at Boston College in an ACC meeting which has seen FSU go from opening 8½-point Favorites to as low as 3-point chalks for this game at BC Alumni Stadium (FieldTurf) in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts Saturday (ESPN, 8 pm/5 pm PT) in a game which would surprise nobody if the Underdog Eagles won outright.
3—Kansas (1-6 ATS) (Last Week: Not ranked)
The Jayhawks (1-6 SU/ATS) make their debut just in time for the The Governor’s Cup on Saturday in Lawrence against rivals Kansas State at KU Memorial Stadium. A game which sees the visiting Wildcats looking to get to the .500 mark in a series which has seen them do pretty well ATS of late. KSU is going 7-1 ATS the L8 and 4-0 ATS the L4 at Kansas. This one could be a 30-point Wildcats blowout with Kansas heading in on a 6-game SU Losing Streak and looking like another losing season ATS is almost mathematically assured with an ATS Loss to KSU (KANSAS 5-6 ATS in 2016, 3-8-1 ATS in 2015, 5-6 ATS in 2014, 4-7 ATS in 2013).
4—North Carolina 1-7 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)
Bowling Green are off this weekend and although the Falcons probably deserve some ATS mock, North Carolina makes the cut at #4 after the Tar Heels lost their 5th straight to the betting number in Week 7 at Virginia tech. Michael Jordan’s old college checks in for the first time by virtue of that 52-point Loss to the Hokies, a woeful -13.0 Point Differential, a -0.75 TO Margin and general consistent crappiness. Next up on the rugged ACC slate for North Carolina is a Week 8 date with #8 Miami Florida at Chapel Hill on Saturday in a game from Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Trends show the Tar Heels to be 3-1 ATS the L4 against the Hurricanes (6-0 SU) but with the Point Spread at 20½, looking for better cherries to pick seems like the best idea.
5—East Carolina 2-6 ATS (Last Week: #2)
There are teams with just 1 ATS Win who might be more deserving of this #5 spot (Ole Miss, Tennessee, USC, Georgia Southern) than East Carolina. But when one of two teams without an ATS Win (BYU) covered against you and lowly UConn was your other ATS Win, then it’s just too hard to keep the Pirates out of the Top 5 Rats List. Especially with a Total Defense ranking of #129 (577.6 ypg) and the Pirates having still L9 of 11 ATS and being a money-burning 3-15 in their L18 ATS. Maybe next week guys. Now go swashbuckle something.
Next up for 2nd-year Head Coach Scottie Montgomery (2-9 ATS) and the Pirates—who covered ATS and won SU against aforementioned King Rat BYU on in Week 8—is a welcome By Week before ECU travels to Houston in Week 10. The Pirates have a -0.88 TO Margin (#112), a -22.9 ppg Scoring Margin (#122) and a Scoring Defense average of 49.9 ppg, worst in FBS.
NCAAF WEEK 9 FEED THE CATS PICK: Fresno State -19 -106 over UNLV NCAAF WEEK 9 FADE THE RATS PICK: Kansas State -24-106 over KansasBest Lines Offered: at Pinnacle