A Profitable Betting System for Boise State vs. Marshall: Back or Fade Ranked Teams?

A Profitable Betting System for Boise State vs. Marshall: Back or Fade Ranked Teams? article feature image

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Maclaine Griffin (15), Scale Igiehon (90) and Curtis Weaver (99

  • No. 24 Boise State is a 12-point favorite over Marshall on Friday night.
  • See what history says about betting teams at the bottom of the top 25.

Blah, blah, blah the NFL is back blah, blah.

Obviously the game we’re all excited about this weekend is Marshall visiting No. 24 Boise State on Friday night.

I include “No. 24” for a specific reason, because that number is probably playing a significant role in how bettors are approaching this game.

Nearly four out of five bettors (78%) are laying the 12 points with the Broncos, and I’d be willing to bet that many are making their decision simply based on which team has a little number next to its name and which one doesn’t. And that Boise has historically been a Group of Five power.

But why should we stop ranking teams after the top 25? It’s just an arbitrary number that sounds nice because it’s a quarter of 100. Technically every team is deserving of some ranking from 1 to 130, but many bettors don’t consider that when making picks.

A 24 vs. 37 matchup would sound much different than a 24 vs. 105 matchup, for example, but each looks the same on a scoreboard.

For that reason, I love targeting teams in the final few spots of the top 25, as they generally get overvalued despite not actually being that far ahead of some of their unranked opponents.

Teams that fit the following criteria

  • Ranked from 20 to 25 against an unranked team
  • Less than a two-touchdown favorite (to keep the opponent respectable and the spread more enticing)
  • 55% or more spread bets (to filter out uncharacteristically contrarian spots)

… have gone 90-126-5 against the spread since 2005. Fading such teams would’ve profited 29.4 units over that time for a 13.3% return on investment.

If the unranked team was above .500, that record falls to 43-73-2, and the ROI on fading it rises to 21.8%. Obviously, Week 2 isn’t the most fair time to be judging teams off their record, though.

In any case, the point remains that there’s been value in going after the bottom of the rankings. I’ll take my chances on the Herd keeping that trend going Friday.

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