Alabama is the No. 1 team in the AP preseason Top 25 poll in college football. Behind Bama is No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 USC and Clemson, the defending champions, at No. 5. Each team is expected to compete for the National Championship but are the top teams in the Preseason AP Poll good bets?
No. 1 Teams
Since 2005, the No. 1 team in the Preseason AP Poll has gone 10-2 ATS in Week 1.
The good times don’t last. In that same time frame, only four preseason No. 1 teams have finished the year with a winning ATS record.
Alabama is ranked in the preseason top five for a ninth straight year. In the previous eight seasons, Bama went 7-1 against-the-spread in Week 1 and finished the year with a winning ATS record six times.
When the Tide started the season as the top-ranked team in 2010, 2013 and 2016, Nick Saban’s group finished the year with a winning ATS record each season. Combined those three squads went 23-14, +8.2 units.
Top 5 Teams
Since 2005, teams ranked in the preseason top five have gone 31-29 ATS in Week 1. In the last five years the record has gotten worse as top 5 teams have gone 8-17 ATS in Week 1.
Only 38.3% (23 of 60) of preseason top five teams finish the year with a winning ATS record.
Preseason top 5 teams are usually public programs that get a lot of support from casual bettors. Oddsmakers know they will get public money and shade the lines accordingly. There appears to be value fading the top teams in the country, especially early in the season.
College Football kicks off Saturday
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