Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
- The top team in the nation. Clemson, takes on No. 12 Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
- With just 32% of spread bets, they are among the least popular No. 1 teams we've ever tracked.
The betting public generally loves good, popular teams: Yankees, Lakers, Patriots, etc. College sports make it easy to target the good teams because of the Top 25 rankings.
If a casual fan sees that a big game will be on TV and doesn’t know who to bet on, more often than not they’ll take the higher ranked team.
On Saturday, No. 1 Clemson will host the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Big, big game that will have loads of casual fans watching and betting on it. At the time of writing, it is the most heavily-bet game of the day, though I suspect the LSU-Texas game may close with more tickets.
Here’s the twist, though — Clemson is about as popular as Steven Glansberg this week.
After opening at -20, folks have just hated the thought of laying all those points against another highly-ranked team. Just 32% of spread bets are on Clemson, which places them among the least popular No. 1 teams of all time in terms of ticket percentage.
Data via Bet Labs
As you can see, these super-unpopular No. 1 teams have not fared too well against the spread, though Tim Tebow’s Gators certainly didn’t deserve being faded that often.
The love for the Aggies, which has come from both sharp and square bettors, has moved their line all the way from +20 to +16.5.
Generally speaking, betting on the No. 1 ranked team has not been a bad idea, as they’ve gone 91-84-1 against the spread during the regular season dating back to 2005. Not profitable, but there are definitely worse approaches that public bettors have.
They actually have been profitable against ranked opponents, though the sample size isn’t very big:
- vs. unranked opponents: 54-55 ATS (49.5%)
- vs. ranked opponents: 37-29 ATS (56.1%)
I don’t expect the Clemson support to fall down below 30% and potentially break the record, but they should definitely wind up cracking the top-10 and likely the top-5 least popular No. 1 teams of all time.