Market Overpricing Ranked Favorites



You could really see the effect that a respected national ranking has on the Nevada pointspreads this past favorites who were in the Associated Press Top 15 had troubles reaching their inflated expectations.

In some cases, it was by just a point or two, which is typically the minimum influence a ranking will have on the line. Here's a quick review:

  • Two Top 15 teams were underdogs
  • Two Top 15 teams played non-board games
  • The other 11 teams went 3-8 ATS

#1 Alabama had to rally to beat Arkansas straight up 24-20 as a 7-point favorite. The Tide was never in position to cover this spread against the fired up Razorbacks.

#2 Ohio State had to break 70 points to get the money, but they did cover as a 44-point favorite over a very bad Eastern Michigan team in a 73-20 slaughter.

#3 Boise State only beat Oregon State 37-24 as an 18-point favorite. Boise was actually a Wise Guy play in many circles, but an early punt return TD for Oregon State doomed the cover. (My "Smart Money GAME OF THE MONTH" wasn't doomed though, as we cashed with UCONN over Buffalo!)

#4 TCU missed their spread by a half a point Friday Night in a 41-24 victory at SMU. Some players got a push. It was a lucky push because the two teams were dead evenly statistically.

#5 Oregon also got close to the line, defeating Arizona State 42-31 as mostly a 12-point or 11.5 point favorite. You can see how important a point or two in the line can be! If the public didn't love backing favorites, particularly ranked favorites, both TCU and Oregon might have cashed some tickets. Instead, sportsbooks with positions on the underdog cashed tickets.

#7 Texas looked awful in an embarrassing 34-12 loss to UCLA. The Horns were clearly over-ranked, and overpriced...missing the spread by more than five touchdowns. Line value didn't matter here! Note that #6 Nebraska was one of the ranked teams playing non-board games, along with #11 Wisconsin. Those teams split against the "outlaw" lines vs. South Dakota State and Austin Peay.

#8 Oklahoma failed to cover another spread where they relaxed in the second half with a double digit lead. The Sooners only beat Cincinnati 31-29 as a two-touchdown favorite. This is now 1-6 ATS through the first eight ranked teams.

#9 Florida got favorites on the board with a rout of outmanned Kentucky.

#13 Utah made it three covers for ranked favorites with an annihilation of San Jose State (note that #10 Arkansas and #12 South Carolina were underdogs...lines don't get stacked against underdogs!).

#14 Arizona barely won outright as a 6-point favorite at home against California. After trailing most of the night, the Wildcats pulled out a 10-9 victory.

#15 LSU beat West Virginia 20-14 as 8-point favorites, needing a punt return TD to get the victory.

It all adds up to 3-8 ATS for ranked favorites...which would have been 5-6 ATS if not for the slim misses for TCU and Oregon. It's hard enough being a ranked favorite because you know everyone's gunning against you. BETTING on ranked favorites is REALLY a challenge because the line is stacked against you as well. You're asking a team to play over their heads against an opponent that's likely to play over their heads.

Keep that in mind as you handicap the rest of the college season. The thrills of "BCS Chaos" may just be starting. Alabama has a brutal schedule (with Florida up this Saturday). Ohio State will have some challenges in the Big Ten. Oregon will be facing Stanford this week. Oklahoma will be laying points to a fired up Texas squad.


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