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Each week we will provide trends for the top teams in college football. Some trends will be team specific and others situational. Our database goes back to 2005, the trends include all games in that time frame unless otherwise mentioned.

No. 1 Alabama (-34) vs. Tennessee

Nick Saban’s team is undefeated and -115 favorites to win the College Football Playoff (5Dimes). Bama laid 30+ points to Arkansas last week and will give another SEC team more than four touchdowns on the spread. Can the Tide cover?

  • Against SEC East teams, Bama is 21-11 ATS under Saban

No. 2 Penn State (-10) vs. No. 19 Michigan

Penn State moved up in the ranking while on a bye thanks to Clemson’s upset. This is the highest ranking for the Nittany Lions since 1999. We know ranked teams have been profitable after a bye week but what is they are facing a ranked team?

Ranked teams at home after a bye: 97-68 (58.8%) ATS

  • Vs. ranked opponent: 34-22 ATS 

No. 3 Georgia – bye week 

UGA closed as 28.5-point favorites over Mizzou on Saturday. After a competitive first quarter the Bulldogs easily won 53-28 but failed to cover. Georgia is on a bye this week but remember highly ranked teams that failed to cover their previous game have not been profitable.

  • Top 10 team at home, failed to cover in previous game: 130-162 (44.5%) ATS 

No. 4 TCU (-37.5) vs. Kansas

In the BCS era margin of victory served a role in determining which teams played for the national title. That is no longer the case with the playoff selection committee and teams have less incentive to run-up the score. Fun fact: since 2005, Kansas is 0-14 straight-up and 4-10 ATS vs. top 10 teams.

  • In College Football Playoff era, Favorites of 30+ points: 132-185 (41.6%) ATS 

No. 5 Wisconsin (-24) vs. Maryland

Top 5 teams get lots of public support and are expected to easily win against unranked opponents. But conference teams are familiar with each other and usually make for competitive games.

  • Top 5 teams, at home against unranked conference opponent: 64-84 (43.2%) ATS   

No. 6 Ohio State bye 

Ohio State is on a bye this week but when the Buckeyes return to action they’ll host No. 2 Penn State. In matchups of top 25 teams, casual bettors expect close games and will often bet the underdog. That has not been a profitable strategy.

  • In matchups of top 25 conference teams, the favorite is 241-197 (55%) ATS 

No. 7 Clemson – bye week 

How often has a top 10 team lost to an unranked opponent and remained ranked in the top 10? Clemson’s upset at the hands of Syracuse was just the 24th time it had occurred. The previous 23 teams didn’t bounce back like many bettors might expect in their next game.

  • Top 10 team, after losing previous game to unranked opponent: 8-15 ATS


No. 8 Miami (-14) vs. Syracuse
 

Ranked teams get public support, which inflates the line. Top 25 teams are expected to cover against unranked opponents but their win rates aren’t as great as many casual bettors would expect.

  • In ACC games, top 25 teams against unranked opponents: 106-142 (42.7%) ATS 

No. 9 Oklahoma (-12.5) at Kansas State 

At the time of publication less than 50% of spread bets are on Oklahoma. It is a good idea to bet against the public when they fade a ranked team.

  • Ranked road favorites getting <50% of spread bets: 39-24 (61.9%) ATS 

No. 10 Oklahoma State (-7) at Texas 

Texas is rarely a home underdog but the Longhorns have performed well when getting points in Austin: 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS. Mike Gundy’s team comes to town as touchdown favorites a week after Texas lost a close matchup against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.

  • Under Mike Gundy, Cowboys 40-23 ATS as a ranked favorite.

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