CFB Betting Tip: Should Bettors Trust Ranked Group of Five Teams?

CFB Betting Tip: Should Bettors Trust Ranked Group of Five Teams? article feature image

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Huff (55).

  • Four Group of Five teams have found their way into the latest AP Top 25 poll.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze how bettors can profit from these non-Power Five ranked teams.

The latest edition of the Associated Press college football poll is out. Alabama has the top spot. Behind the Tide, Clemson is No. 2, Ohio State is No. 3, Georgia is No. 4 and LSU is No. 5.

Power Five teams, as usual, dominate the rankings but a few Group of Five programs have snuck into the Top 25 among the big boys. Boise State is No. 14, SMU ranks No. 21, Memphis is No. 23 and Cincinnati rounds out the Top 25.

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These plucky contenders have earned the respect of pollsters but should bettors wager on ranked Group of Five teams?

Using the Bet Labs database, we find that Top 25 teams outside of the Power Five conferences have not been profitable bets (ignoring independents like Notre Dame). Since 2005, Group of Five teams have gone 297-318-13 (48.3%) against the spread (ATS) when ranked in the regular season.

It gets worse if these ranked teams are favored: 259-283-11 (47.8%) ATS, -36.27 units. The lower in the polls the more money the Group of Five teams have cost bettors:

Fringe Top 25 teams like SMU, Memphis and Cincy have historically burned bettors. Recreational gamblers tend to bet ranked teams, regardless of overall talent and coaching. But oddsmakers know the public is influenced by the polls and as a result, inflate the lines.

Contrarian gamblers can profit by fading low ranked (No. 15-25) Group of Five teams. The most profitable situation is to bet against low-ranked Group of Five teams when the line moves against them as favorites:

Bettors have gone 60-41-1 (59.4%) ATS since 2005 fading these teams when the line moves by one or more points against them as favorites.

No. 23 Memphis and No. 25 Cincinnati are favored in their Week 7 matchups.

You can track betting odds on our live odds page. If the lines move against these teams (they become smaller favorites), history suggests it will be profitable to bet against them.

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