Can USC, Other Favorites Live up to Hype?

Tony Salinas: Can USC, Other Favorites Live up to Hype?

The USC Trojans were pretty impressive last week against Hawaii in a national TV game. They're back on the tube Saturday on the road at Syracuse. Is USC a budding National Champion, so good that they can cover Vegas pointspreads week after week? Or, are they destined to be overrated because it's impossible to cover spreads when EVERYONE expects you to win big game in and game out?

Well, as good as USC looked in the first half vs. Hawaii last Saturday Night (leading 35-0 at the break), they still didn't cover their high full game spread of 42 points. Their 49-10 victory fell short as the ream relaxed with a huge lead. The same thing could happen at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands where USC is laying 25 points on Saturday afternoon.

What you need to realize as gamblers is that it's very hard to make money betting college football teams who are high up in the polls. Yes, one or two each season seem to get hot and "name the score" every week because nobody can stay with them. For the most part, the high profile teams lose money. And, last week showed that as dramatically as one could imagine.

  • USC failed to cover as a big favorite against Hawaii

  • LSU failed to cover as a big favorite against North Texas

  • Oklahoma looked awful most of the night in a non-cover at UTEP

  • Oregon had a big lead vs. Arkansas State but couldn't cover the full game spread

  • Georgia didn't really impress as favorites vs. Buffalo in a non-cover

  • South Carolina was life and death all night in their season opener at Vanderbilt

  • Wisconsin played surprisingly poorly against unheralded Northern Iowa

  • Michigan State turned the ball over too much in a non-cover against Boise State

  • Texas was sluggish on offense in a non-cover against Wyoming

  • Virginia Tech wrapped up the week by almost losing to Georgia Tech

All in all, the top 16 teams in last week's AP poll went only 4-12 against the spread. That's just 25% covers! You were getting 75% the best of it last week by fading all the big name favorites. Yes, Alabama won and looked good. So did Clemson. A couple of teams covered against nobodies. The big picture value was in betting against the big name teams...whether they were from the Pac 12, Big 12, Big 10, or the SEC.

I told you last week right here on these pages that I expected several disappointments across the map in terms of overrated teams. Now you know what I meant! I'll continue to fade overhyped teams until the lines catch up. In a few cases, that may not be until November because the media hypes won-lost records over pointspread performances. If most of these teams keep winning while not covering, you're going to hear about how they're "undefeated" rather than about how they're "underachieving." Handicappers and Vegas bettors have to know the difference.

If you're the type of bettor who HAS to bet the big TV games, here are some tips:

  • Take the dogs! This general rule will show profit most seasons, even after you've moved beyond the most obvious marquee matchups. Most games that are on ESPN or a major network through the various Saturday TV windows are going to get a motivated effort from the underdog. That's the key to winning money against favorites.

  • If you can't enjoy gambling by betting on dogs because you hate having the inferior team, then you should either retire, or focus on first half and second half options. Many of the top teams show clear "fast start" or "great finish" tendencies. Both USC and Oregon covered their first half lines easily last week for example (winning 35-0 and 50-10). Some teams are more physical up front, and they start slowly but pull away in the third and fourth quarters once their opponent has worn down. Bet those teams against their second half lines.

  • Reserve your favorite bets for the times when you have clear matchup advantages. By that, I mean take a highly ranked power running attack against a defense that can't stop the run. Or, take a team led by a great quarterback against a bad pass defense. I can't believe how many times I've seen public bettors load up on a big name favorite laying too many points against a good defense. Bet against bad defenses, don't lay points against good defenses!

  • MAKE yourself play a few TV dogs per week. Go through the schedule and try to find the very best options in this category. History says you're already getting about 54% to 46% the best of it just by looking at the dogs. Look to fade favorites who could be flat off a big win the prior week, or who may be looking ahead to a big rival. Look to back underdogs with some talent who have circled this game as their most important one of the season. This will be really important once conference play begins.  

Are we going to see the top 16 teams go 4-12 ATS again this week? Maybe not. Some of the names have changed! And, oddsmakers will make some smart adjustments based on who was overrated last weekend. I do believe that you should hold back on your tendency to bet on whoever ESPN is telling you is great. That right there would have saved you some money last week. Think of how much you would have made fading all of those high profile but overpriced favorites.

I'll have my best plays for Saturday ready for you bright and early in the morning for credit card purchase here at this website. You can also lock in for the full season at very low rates.  If you have any questions, call my office at 1-888-536-8880. I won't be able to talk to you directly because I'll be out at various Vegas sportsbooks hunting down the best lines for my personal action. My paying clients always get the exact same plays I'm betting the biggest myself.  

If you're like most Vegas bettors, you didn't enjoy last Saturday very much because your big favorites lost. This time around...make sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!


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