College Football Week 1 Betting Trends: How Huge Spread Favorites Perform Early in the Season
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: Lincoln Riley
The unpredictable is as unpredictable as ever in Week 1 of college football thanks to the sixth-year eligibility, the transfer portal and last year’s COVID season.
That’s why the slightest of edges are important to find.
Those edges can come in a variety of ways and paired with historical data can uncover potential trends.
There are two trends worth exploring in the first month of the season that based on past recent performance have stood out as profitable.
The first? Huge underdogs.
Counting Thursday night’s games, underdogs of at least 28 points are 190-147-6 against the spread (ATS) in August and September since 2016.
That’s a profitable 56.4% cover rate.
On Thursday night, five huge favorites covered: Buffalo (-43.5), Coastal Carolina (-33.5), FIU (-34.5), San Jose State (-28) and Fresno State (-28).
Four huge favorites — including two heavily bet in Tennessee (-37) and Arizona State (-44.5) — did not. Ball State (-31.5) and Utah (-28.5) were the others. At DraftKings, 65% of the money was on the Vols, who failed to cover for the eighth time in their last 12 chances as a favorites of 28.
While teams favored by 28 or more enter the weekend 5-4 ATS, 20 more opportunities lie immediately ahead on games with spreads of at least 28.
Favorites of 28 points or more in Week 1
|South Carolina||Eastern Illinois||40.5|
|Oklahoma State||Missouri State||36.5|
|Virginia||William & Mary||33.5|
|Eastern Michigan||St. Francis||32.5|
|Wake Forest||Old Dominion||32|
|Iowa State||Northern Iowa||31.5|
|San Diego State||New Mexico State||31.5|
|Texas A&M||Kent State||29|
|Georgia Southern||Gardner Webb||28.5|
The other trend that shows a bit of profitability over recent years is the under on 65. Among possible reasons is it takes time for oddsmakers to catch up to coordinator changes and instead base opening lines off the previous year’s data.
In the last five years, counting Thursday night’s games, totals 65 or higher in August and September are going under at a 56% clip (144-113-3).
Week 1 Games with a total 65 or higher
|Louisville vs. Ole Miss||75.5|
|Memphis vs. Nicholls State||69.5|
|Purdue vs. Oregon State||69|
|Texas A&M vs. Kent State||67.5|
|Oklahoma vs. Tulsa||67.5|
|Michigan vs. Western Michigan||66.5|
|SMU vs. Abilene Christian||66.5|
|Arkansas St. vs. Central Arkansas||65.5|
|LSU vs. UCLA||65|
Trends are just one tool to use when filling out your betting card. In general, trends should not be followed blindly. But if you have a lean one way or another and are looking for another data point, these trends have shown a profit in recent seasons.
In Week 1, any bit of data can help.