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Follow the Money: Betting Trends from the CFP National Championship

Follow the Money: Betting Trends from the CFP National Championship article feature image

As sports gambling continues to be legalized in more states across the country, fans are becoming more and more interested in betting on their favorite teams and the big games. For college football fans, there is no bigger game than the National Championship. In the wake of this year’s championship matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and the Washington Huskies, we at Action Network took a look at bets tracked by the Action App’s BetSync software to find the most interesting trends from this year's championship game wagers. 

The masses liked Washington…

Bettors were high on the underdog. Of all bets placed on the outcome of the game, the majority of the action was on the Washington Huskies. This held up when looking at both bets against the spread (which was Michigan -5) and on moneyline bets. 56% of bets placed on the game against the spread went in favor of the Huskies, while 53% of moneyline bets went their way.

…but Michigan bettors were more confident

While Washington appeared on the most total wager slips, Michigan fans were clearly far more confident in their selections and put more money down to show it. 54% of the money put on straight bets against the spread was on Michigan, despite representing just 44% of the total picks. Likewise, Michigan was the pick for just 47% of users betting on the moneyline but accounted for 58% of the money put on the moneyline outcome on straight bets. So while the majority of the people may have backed the Huskies, Wolverines supporters were more willing to put their money where their mouth is.

The spread wasn’t as appealing as last year

Betting against the spread was the most popular way to bet on the game’s outcome, with the spread being bet by 56% more bettors than the moneyline. But this year’s spread of Michigan -5 appealed to wagerings fans less than last year’s insane line of Georgia -13.5. Compared to last year, bets placed against the spread dropped 21% while the number of bettors putting money on it is down a similar 20%. Moneyline bets, however, increased by a staggering 83% with 65% more people putting money on it.

Prop bets continue to rise in popularity

A continuing trend throughout the season, prop bets have become more popular with Action App users. Compared to last year’s championship game, 53% more prop picks were made this year and 19% more bettors placed wagers on them. The most popular overall prop type during this year’s game was the “anytime touchdown scorer” wager (which is a bet that a player will score a rushing or receiving touchdown at any point during the game). The player with the most wagers put on him was Michigan running back Blake Corum. Unsurprisingly, the most popular individual prop pick was Blake Corum to score a touchdown at any point during the game. The second most popular individual prop pick was for Corum to score two touchdowns during the course of the game. Both picks ended up hitting.

Methodology

For the purpose of this research we analyzed anonymous data obtained from the Action Network App’s BetSync software. This software compiles and tracks bets made by Action App users through partner sportsbooks. The full data set analyzed includes 79,019 bets and 104,000 picks made by 28,229 bettors wagered up to and throughout the championship game.

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