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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 (-4.5) vs. No. 6 Auburn
Alabama is a small favorite in Saturday’s Iron Bowl. In what is essentially an SEC West title game, the winner will play Georgia for the SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide are one of the most profitable teams against-the-spread in our database when facing a ranked opponent. At the time of publication, 66% of spread tickets are backing the No.1 team in the country. The problem for Bama in the Iron Bowl, they struggle to cover the number against Top 25 SEC West teams.
Alabama vs. ranked teams
- SEC West: 18-20-1 ATS
- All other teams: 19-6-1 ATS
No. 2 Miami (-14) at Pittsburgh
Undefeated Miami has one more hurdle to clear before facing Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Pittsburgh is 4-7 and 2-5 in conference play. The Panthers aren’t expected to win (+447 moneyline, 18.3% implied probability) but shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to the spread.
There has already been reverse line movement and steam on Pitt at +14.
Undefeated teams late in the season (November/December): 116-123-5 (48.5%) ATS
- In College Football Playoff era: 25-43-1 (36.8%) ATS
No. 3 Oklahoma (-23) vs. West Virginia
The Sooners clinched a spot in the Big 12 title Saturday by beating Kansas 41-3. Oklahoma’s path to the College Football Playoff got easier when West Virginia lost its starting quarterback to a season ending thumb injury in a 28-14 loss to Texas. OU opened as big favorites against the Mountaineers. Does the inflated line offer value to contrarian bettors?
In College Football Playoff era, top 5 teams vs. unranked opponents: 66-96-3 (40.7%) ATS
No. 4 Clemson (-14) at South Carolina
Clemson-South Carolina hasn’t been much of a rivalry in the last few seasons. The Tigers are 14-point favorites in Columbia on Saturday, that is the third straight year that Dabo Swinney’s team has been a double-digit favorite in this in-state matchup. SEC teams aren’t underdogs usually in non-conference games and rarely big dogs.
Favorites against the SEC in non-conference games: 49-43 (53.3%) ATS
- Favorites of 10 or more points: 22-2 straight-up and 17-7 ATS
No. 5 Wisconsin (-17) at Minnesota
As long as the Badgers beat the Gophers on Saturday they’ll be playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. Minnesota is 91st in ESPN’s offensive efficiency, Wisconsin has allowed 13.1 points per game (2nd best in the nation). The undefeated Badgers beat No. 24 Michigan a week ago and should take care of business against Minnesota but the spread is the equalizer.
In next game after beating a ranked team, double-digit favorites against conference teams: 124-152-7 (44.9%) ATS
No. 6 Auburn (+4.5) vs. No. 1 Alabama
The lookahead line a couple weeks ago was Auburn +10. After an impressive win over Georgia the oddsmakers shifted the odds significantly. Is that line movement warranted or is Auburn getting too much love after one game?
Iron Bowl: Alabama-Auburn
This Pro System is 207-156-7 (57%) ATS since 2005
No. 7 Georgia (-11) at Georgia Tech
This is a tune-up game for Georgia, the Bulldogs are locked into the SEC Championship game. Could UGA overlook little brother? GaTech has a lot to play for on Saturday. Not only could the Yellow Jackets finish the season unbeaten at home but a win would make them bowl eligible.
SEC teams as double-digit favorites in non-conference games: 199-222-4 (47.3%) ATS
- In the College Football Playoff era: 62-90-3 (40.8%) ATS
No. 8 Ohio State (-11) at Michigan
Name the best coaches in college football. How long did it take to say Urban Meyer’s name? The Buckeyes leader is 70-8 in his career, including 5-0 vs. Michigan while at Ohio State, and has won three national championships. Even with his greatness, Meyer’s teams have struggled to cover as big favorites in conference games.
Urban Meyer’s teams as double-digit favorites
- Non-conference: 23-13 ATS
- Conference: 27-37 ATS
No. 9 Notre Dame (-2.5) vs No. 20 Stanford
Notre Dame opened as 1.5-point favorites and have moved to 2.5-point favorites behind 64% of spread bets and 84% of spread dollars. We usually preach fading the public but in this game the Irish look like the right side.
In top 25 matchups, the higher ranked team in non-conference games: 66-40 (62.3%) ATS
No. 10 TCU (-24) vs. Baylor
We know OU is in the Big 12 title game, the Sooners most likely opponent will be TCU. The Frogs just need to beat Baylor and they’re in. The Bears have one win, against Kansas (1-10). It would be shocking if Baylor pulled the upset but not unusual for them to keep it closer than the spread suggests.
Top 10 teams as favorites of 3 or more touchdowns against bad teams (<40% win rate): 82-104-2 (44.1%) ATS