If you are like most college football fans, your Saturday morning routine includes watching College GameDay. The best part of the ESPN pregame show is Lee Corso and his headgear predictions.
Corso ends each broadcast by donning the mascot’s headgear of the team he thinks will win the host school’s game. It is a tradition that has spanned more than two decades for the 83-year-old ESPN analyst.
The headgear predictions are not only entertaining, but also provide bettors a profitable wagering opportunity. Corso, the former coach, is a television personality and often short on actionable analysis.
He is Joe Public personified and, like casual bettors, he overvalues a program’s ranking and the name of the school on the uniform.
One of our mantras at The Action Network is betting against the public, which means we should bet against Corso.
To test my theory, I analyzed Corso’s headgear picks since 2012 using plays catalogued by GameDayCole. Here is how Corso’s plays have performed straight-up and against the spread (excludes five FCS games that didn’t have lines):
Since 2012, Corso is 56-42 (57.1%) straight-up. Not bad, but anyone tailing his picks got crushed on the spread with a 35-61-2 (36.5%) ATS record.
Fading Corso has been profitable. By betting against his headgear selections, gamblers are 61-35-2 (63.5%) ATS since 2012.
The results aren’t too surprising if you consider that most picks are for marquee matchups often featuring a pair of Top 25 teams.
These games receive a lot of public action, as much as three times the daily average of tickets.
Betting against the public (teams getting fewer than 50% of spread bets) in highly wagered games (at least three times the ticket count) featuring ranked opponents has also been profitable: 55-43-3 (56%) ATS since 2012 according to Bet Labs.
On Saturday, College GameDay will be in South Bend for No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Michigan. When Corso puts on the headgear, make your way to the ticket window to fade his pick.