Rovell: Will the Reliable Service Academy Under Come Through in Week 5?


Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Air Force and Navy during their 2019 matchup.

It’s one of the most automatics in all of betting: The good ol’ service academy under.

As college football fans know, the service academies run the option. It’s a great thing to do because it’s virtually impossible to prepare for. But one thing service academies know how to do besides running the option is stopping the option.

Since 2005, games involving two of the three service academy teams have gone 35-9-1 to the under. That’s just under 80 percent.

Now if there’s a game to watch out for, it’s Saturday’s Navy-Air Force matchup. Five of the last six years this has been the highest scoring service academy game, including games where 59 points were scored and even 93 one year (a 48-45 duel).

Even still, the public loves the service academy under, with 84 percent of the money on this game at DraftKings on the under of 47.5, and an even bigger percentage (90 percent) at PointsBet.

Lots of Attention on Week 5 Totals

While spreads normally get a disproportionate amount of attention, the totals are getting it this week. Perhaps bettors hitting the overs on NFL games — to a record win percentage of more than 60 percent through the first three weeks — is rubbing over to the college games.

William Hill notes that, as of Friday night, its four biggest bets are on the totals.One bettor bet $33,000 each on four games:

  • USF-Cincinnati, under 47.5
  • East Carolina-Georgia State, under 69.5
  • North Carolina-Boston College, under 55
  • Virginia Tech-Duke, over 53

The most intriguing totals we’ve found based on the numbers coming into us from William Hill are on the totals from the SEC games: Texas A&M-Alabama, South Carolina-Florida and LSU-Vandy.

In Texas A&M at Alabama, 70 percent of the tickets are on the over at PointsBet, but 70 percent of the money is actually on the under (54). The sharp money also likes the under on South Carolina at Florida even though 80 percent of the tickets are on the over. There’s a huge split in the LSU at Vanderbilt game, with 87 percent of the tickets coming in on the over, but only 23 percent of the money.

Georgia-Auburn a Big Decision for Bookmakers

Spread wise, the most intriguing game is Georgia-Auburn. It’s the only game where the underdog was getting more money than the favorite at three books — DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet. Not only are sharps and squares on Auburn, but it’s the most bet game according to our data, which means it’s going to be a pretty big decision for the bookmakers.

These are the games bettors are the most confident about. It’s crazy that Oklahoma could be in this group after last week:

  • Baylor (-2.5) vs. West Virginia: 99 percent of money on Baylor, DraftKings
  • Cincinnati (-21.5) vs. USF: 95 percent of money on Cincinnati, William Hill
  • Texas A&M (+18) vs. Alabama: 95 percent of money on Bama, DraftKings
  • Oklahoma State (-22.5) vs. Kansas: 90 percent of money on OSU, DraftKings
  • Oklahoma (-7) vs. Iowa State: 90 percent of money on OU, PointsBet
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