Exceptions To the Rule: Our 2019 College Football “Do Not Bet” List
David Butler II, USA Today Sports.
“Bet numbers, not teams.”
If you ask any successful sports bettor for advice on how to grow as a bettor, they will likely tell you one of the first big steps to take is to cover up the team name and just use the numbers.
It’s sage advice as it removes all sorts of personal biases and leaves less room for error. But there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes, numbers can’t quantify just how bad some teams are. This is especially true in college football, where teams like Akron, UMass, UConn and Rutgers are defined by their ineptitude.
So while the committee is busy putting together its list for the College Football Playoff, we were busy making an equally important list — our ‘Do Not Bet’ List.
Stuckey: Akron, UConn and UMass
I wish I had Akron on my do not bet list since the beginning of the year. It would’ve saved me a lot of money.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around a MAC team being as bad as the market kept implying. After a self-imposed clown mask punishment on our live show, the Zips are now on the list, which means they are a lock to cover against Miami of Ohio on Wednesday night.
Akron joins the two teams that have been on my “Do Not Bet List” all year — UConn and UMass. The Huskies may have had the worst defense we have ever seen last year and I wanted no part of them this year. Meanwhile, UMass became the new UConn this year because the Minutemen defense could be worse than the Huskies were last season.
How bad is the Umass defense? It has played three of the four worst offenses in the country this year — Rutgers, Akron and Northwestern — and those teams scored 48, 29 and 45, respectively. None of those teams average more than 15.5 points per game.
There is only one more chance to fade UMass this season — this weekend against BYU.
One of the things I love about sports betting is you can never fully master it. As cliche as it sounds, you learn something new every single day, week and season. I’ve realized that modeling these terrible teams is a difficult task and sometimes we never identify their floors until the end of the season.
I know I should always play numbers and not teams, but I should make an exception for these truly horrifying teams in college football which will be a point of emphasis for me personally next season.
The goal would be to identify these bottom-dwellers early in the year and avoid them like the plague all year. That way, I won’t have to wait until November to add UTEP and Akron to this list.
Collin Wilson: NC State
Considering UMass is the easiest target and I have a bet on Akron this week, there are just a few other teams at the bottom rung of the ladder.
My Arkansas Razorbacks are now 2-8 Against the Spread (ATS). Arkansas is missing the number by an average of 10.7 points per game. Unfortunately, I am emotionally invested in my Hogs and may find a way to back them if Missouri is disinterested in their season-ending encounter.
That leaves me with lowly NC State, who just burned a lead against Louisville this past weekend. Dave Doeren’s team is now 2-8 ATS and is missing the mark by an average of 10.8 points.
A team once known for passing efficiency under Ryan Finley is now the 111th-ranked team in passing success rate. If that isn’t enough to keep you off the Wolfpack, consider NC State is an underdog on Thursday night to 2-8 Georgia Tech.
Kyle Miller: UMass, Akron, Rutgers, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Northwestern
As Stuckey always says, “I play numbers, not teams.” With that being said, you couldn’t pay me to bet on UMass or Akron the rest of the season. UMass is by far the lowest-rated team I’ve ever had in the five years I’ve been creating power ratings.
New Mexico State and UTEP are 127 and 128 in my ratings so they should be on this list. The problem is they play each other this week and New Mexico State is a 7.5-point favorite. I’ll likely be backing the Miners.
My power five do not bet list includes: Rutgers, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern.
Steve Petrella: Texas State
For a few weeks in October, my betting life felt significantly more at peace. Not better, necessarily. Just peaceful. And I didn’t know why.
But then, when I bet Texas State in the first half last weekend, it all came rushing back. That was the difference. Betting TEXAS STATE was driving me insane. And not betting Texas State was making me much happier.
I bet the Bobs three times to open the season, lost all three, and have since bet the Bobs on two first-half moneylines. Shocker, those lost.
In the preseason, this team fit my criteria that 1) offense means more than defense and 2) you need to stake your reasoning to something the market doesn’t factor in, since things like returning production are already accounted for.
So I figured some creative coaching hires would lead to early-season offensive magic. Turns out the defense, which is still horrendous, is somehow better than the offense.
So I’m done with Texas State. I thought I was done long ago. I just can’t wait until the win total I have in my pending bets finally clears, because it was dead in the water long ago.
Michael Leboff: Nobody
If you think I’m going to miss out on Akron’s first cover of the season just because plenty of smarter people are telling me to never bet them again, you really underestimate how much I hate myself.