Top Nine College Football Teams Took It on the Chin Against the Spread

Top Nine College Football Teams Took It on the Chin Against the Spread
By Bill Ordine

Betting backers of the ‘dogs and mostly likely the ‘books were howling over the weekend in college football.

Marshall stunning No. 8 Notre Dame, 26-21, may have been the marquis upset of the weekend that had fans of the Irish and Notre Dame’s bettors reaching for their crying towels, but favorites failed to deliver almost across the board. The Irish were 20.5-point favorites at home. 

Even when favorites did escape with a win this past weekend (we’re looking at you Alabama), they went down against the spread. 

Amazingly, the top nine teams in the Associated Press rankings of college football teams all failed to cover the spread over the weekend. Three of them, aforementioned Notre Dame plus Texas A&M and Baylor, lost outright.

Ohio State has failed to cover the last two weekends in Ohio sports betting, although they did get wins. Against Notre Dame in a matchup of two ranked teams at the time, the Buckeyes were 16.5-point favorites. They won 21-10. This weekend against Arkansas State, Ohio State was a 44.5-point favorite and won easily, 45-12, but again failed to cover.

Sports betting has been legalized in Ohio and is scheduled to launch on Jan. 1, 2023.

AP Week 2 Poll Top 10 Results

TeamResult
1. Alabama -20.5 Beat Texas 20-19 (Texas covered)
2. Georgia -52.5 Beat Samford 33-0 (Samford covered)
3. Ohio State -44.5 Beat Arkansas State 45-12 (ASU covered)
4. Michigan -52.5 Beat Hawaii 56-10 (Hawaii covered)
5. Clemson -45.5 Beat Furman 35-12 (Furman covered)
6. Texas A&M -19.5 Lost to Appalachian State 17-14
7. Oklahoma -33.5 Beat Kent State 33-3 (KSU covered)
8. Notre Dame -20.5 Lost to Marshall 26-21
9. Baylor +2.5 Lost to No. 21 BYU 26-20 (OT)
10. USC -9.5 Beat Stanford 41-28 (USC covered)

Advantage Bookmakers

As a rule, the betting public leans toward favorites so the wagering rout suffered by favorites over the weekend was much to the advantage of bookmakers and certainly crushed parlays all over the betting universe.

Speaking of No. 1-ranked Alabama, which edged Texas, 20-19, head coach Nick Saban was upset with both his players’ performances as well as the mocking gestures some of the Tide were giving the Longhorns post-game. The oft dour coach was certainly joined by ‘Bama backers who were crushed as Alabama fell far short of covering a 20.5-point spread.

The weekend was a cautionary lesson about betting into the daunting point spreads that oddsmakers often hang on college games. For instance, No. 2 Georgia had an easier time with Samford, 33-0, but the Bulldogs were looking at a steep 52.5-point spread. And the previously mentioned No. 3 Ohio State, a winner on the scoreboard but a loser in Ohio against-the-spread betting.

Along with Notre Dame, the other top 10 teams that were dumped were No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 9 Baylor. Texas A&M, a 19.5-point favorite against Appalachian State, fell 17-14. Baylor, which was actually a 2.5-point underdog against No. 21 BYU, was a 26-20 loser in overtime.

Big Wins, But Not ATS Wins

No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson and No. 7 Oklahoma all won handily, but in the world of college football spreads, not handily enough.

Michigan’s point spread against Hawaii was 52.5 points and a 56-10 decision didn’t get it done for Wolverine bettors. 

Clemson had a 45.5-point mountain to climb against Furman and the Tigers’ 35-12 victory was fine for Clemson’s won-loss record but not so fine for Clemson wagering backers.

And Oklahoma came close to covering its 33.5-point spread against Kent State in a 33-3 win but the Sooners, after building a 28-point lead through three quarters, hit the scoreboard with just a safety in the fourth quarter.

USC Only Top 10 Cover

The lone top 10 team that made their betting backers happy was No. 10 USC beating Stanford, 41-28, and covering a 9.5-point spread.

The weekend’s results allowed Georgia to slip by Alabama for the No. 1 spot in the AP rankings but the Crimson Tide remains the betting favorite (+175) to win the National Championship. The Bulldogs are +200 and No. 3 Ohio State is +300.

Ohio State, which has QB C.J. Stroud, the leading Heisman candidate, also has the schedule to move up in the polls during the season.

Current Betting Favorites for National Championship

TeamResult
Alabama +175
Georgia +200
Ohio State +300
Clemson +1000
USC +1200
Michigan +2500
Oklahoma +5000
Utah +5000
Arkansas +8000
Miami +8000
Oklahoma State +8000
Penn State +8000
Tennessee +8000
Wake Forest +8000

Odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio.

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Contributors

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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