Historical Betting Trends for This Season’s College Football Conference Championships
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Davis.
I don't value trends as much as some other bettors, as most are usually just noise. Keep in mind betting markets also will adjust to any identifiable profitable trends over time as well.
That said, I do find them interesting at the minimum for one-off unique events like conference championships this weekend. Here's a quick summary of the ones I dug up for your reference.
In all conference championships since 2005, underdogs have gone 57-49-3 (53.8% ATS), per Action Labs. True home and road underdogs have performed better at 22-12 (64.7%) than neutral underdogs at 35-37-3 (48.6%), which I assume is mainly random noise.
Here are a few other underdog-related nuggets:
- Underdogs catching over 7 points: 29-21 ATS (58%)
- Underdogs getting less than 40% of bets: 30-20-1 (60%)
- Worst conference underdogs: Big 12 3-7 (30%)
- Best conference underdogs: MAC: 11-4-1 (73.3%)
Also, unranked teams have enjoyed quite a bit of success ATS against ranked teams in conference title games, going 14-6 (70%) and covering by an average margin of 9.45 points. This year, Appalachian State and Utah State fit that mold.
Underdogs that failed to cover multiple games in a row have gone 17-4 ATS (81%) in their conference championship. They have also covered by a gaudy average margin of 10.31 points. This trend applies to UTSA and Alabama this weekend.
Conversely, teams that have covered multiple games in a row have gone 32-44-2 (42.1%) in their conference titles. This applies to the following four teams:
- Western Kentucky
- Kent State
Five of the matchups this weekend involve rematches from the regular season with the following teams losing the first game:
- Northern Illinois
- Western Kentucky
- Appalachian State
So, do teams that lost the first meeting have an edge the second time around in the conference title? Not from an against-the-spread perspective, as they've gone just 21-20 ATS.
However, it's worth noting that 27 of the 41 (65%) teams improved their scoring margin in the second meeting by an average of 7.5 points.
That includes three underdogs that lost in OT — two of which didn’t cover. I'd say there's a very slight edge to being the team that can adjust after losing the first meeting, but the market appears pretty efficient overall in these spots.
Since 2005, unders in conference championship games have gone 55-53-1 (50.9%). Right around 50% as you'd expect with totals increasing in efficiency later in the season.
For what it's worth, the Mountain West (7-1) and Big 12 (8-2) have been the best under conference championships, while the SEC has been the kindest to over bettors (11-4).
Here are a few other nuggets you may find interesting:
- Totals under 45 points have gone 8-1 to the over, which applies to Michigan-Iowa. Also, underdogs with a total of 45 or below are 10-4 (74.1%) ATS.
- When the total is 48 or below, overs have gone 15-8 (Big Ten and Big 12).
- When it's 65 or higher, unders have gone 14-9 (C-USA, MAC, ACC).
Lastly, overs in indoor venues are 25-22-1 (53.2%) and have gone over by an average of 1.8 points per game. That's pretty close to the upward dome adjustment I have for the MAC Championship.
Other conferences that will play indoors this weekend include the C-USA, SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten title games.