Last Updated: 2017-08-30
In our lead-up to the 2017 college football season, we’re going to look at some things that should give you some edges early on in the year. As you’ve read, we’ve taken a look at the new head coaches in both the Power Five conferences and the Group of Five conferences, to find those spots where teams have made significant changes that will either positively or negatively impact the present and future of the program.
One of the most important things in any sports betting market is to find buy points. It’s just like looking at a stock. You want to find those times to buy low and sell high. College football is no different. People have short-term memories when it comes to college football. In this look across the 130 teams, we’re going to try and find some examples of some teams to buy. That team that “nobody wants to bet on” might be exactly the team that you want to bet on.
First, to illustrate what we’re looking for, let’s look at a few examples from 2015 to 2016:
UCF – The UCF Golden Knights went 0-12 in 2015. It was a mess. Not only was UCF a disaster straight up, but the team from Orlando also went just 2-10 against the number. Well, sharp players isolated UCF as a team to back right away under first-year head coach Scott Frost. The Knight rewarded bettors with a 6-7 straight up record, a bowl game appearance, and an 8-5 mark ATS.
Oregon State – Nobody wanted to touch the Beavers with a 10-foot pole after Gary Andersen’s arrival in Corvallis led to a 2-10 season and a 3-9 record ATS. Well, the “other, other” OSU went 4-8 straight up in 2016, but went 8-4 against the spread. If you can isolate the right teams from season to season, you can find those five-game improvements from time to time. You want to buy low and sell high. The Beavers were extremely low after 2015, a year in which they were outscored by 18 points per game. They were over a touchdown better on offense and nearly a touchdown better on defense with that 8-4 ATS mark.
Georgia Tech – Paul Johnson’s success in Atlanta has been something to behold. That success was interrupted in 2015 when the Yellow Jackets went just 3-9 straight up and against the spread. A return to normalcy came in 2016 with a 9-4 straight up mark and a 7-6 record against the number.
You can find teams like this speckled throughout the country each and every year. If you can isolate some of the contenders before the season, you can look to dive a little bit deeper into those teams and see if a bounce back is coming. A big contributing factor in the college football market is perception. Bettors remember what they most recently saw. That will be the theme here for these teams, starting with a look at the teams to buy stock in.
Marshall – The Thundering Herd did anything but thunder last season. Doc Holliday’s team went from 10 wins in 2013 to 13 wins in 2014 to 10 wins in 2015 to three wins in 2016. By the time the ink dried on the season recap, Marshall had posted a 4-8 ATS season. On name recognition alone, we may not see a ton of value on Marshall because bettors will be expecting a bounce back season, but this is a case of a team with a track record that surprisingly fell well short of expectations.
East Carolina – Trying to isolate second-year head coaches can be a really profitable angle with this idea. Scottie Montgomery starts his second year in Greenville on the heels of a 3-9 season with a 3-8-1 record against the spread. The AAC clearly separated itself as the sixth power conference last year and nobody is going to be thinking about the Pirates. ECU lost the program’s second-best receiver in Zay Jones, which is a big loss, but has a lot of grad transfers from that area with guys that couldn’t play at ACC schools, but were recruited by those institutions. The Pirates were 1-8-1 against the number after their first two games, so perception will be very low entering the year.
Cincinnati – Here, we look at a new head coach in Luke Fickell looking to make a name for himself in a state dominated by THE Ohio State University. Fickell walks into a decent situation in Cincinnati. Returning offensive talent in his place and his area of expertise is defense, which is great because Cincinnati needs a lot of work in that area. The Bearcats were 4-8 straight up and 3-9 against the number last season. Expectations are often low with a rookie head coach and definitely will be low in the AAC East.
Notre Dame – Bloggers across the college football landscape have had their fun making 4-8 jokes about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The 4-8 season came on the heels of a 10-3 year and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. This isn’t some ruined program in South Bend. There’s still a ton of talent at Brian Kelly’s disposal. Notre Dame was just 1-4 as home chalk and 0-3 ATS in true road games. They’re a public team more often than not, but they’ll likely be a sharp side as well at the outset.
Kansas – The major university in Kansas is mostly known as a basketball school, but David Beaty is trying his best to get the football program a little bit of attention. That could happen this season. The Jayhawks quietly went from 0-12 straight up to 2-10 straight up. Most importantly, the Jayhawks went from 3-9 ATS to 6-5-1 ATS, which is a clear sign of improvement. People still don’t think of Kansas as a football school, and never will, but they’ve been bad for so long that value is inherently built into their numbers. Don’t be surprised if we get an 8-4 or 9-3 type season from this team.
TCU – It almost seems like TCU needs a season every now and then to reshuffle the deck. The Horned Frogs went 4-8 in 2013, which was the second season that they were a member of the Big 12. After a couple of splendid double-digit-winning seasons, the Horned Frogs regressed to 6-7 last year and a very ugly 3-10 record against the spread. Gary Patterson hasn’t lost his ability to coach and the school in Fort Worth hasn’t lost its ability to bring in top talent from across the Lone Star State. Expect some ATS gains from the guys in purple and black this season.
Oregon – This will be the most interesting team to follow on this list. The Oregon Ducks were clearly on a downward trajectory under Mark Helfrich. Now they have a popular up-and-comer in Willie Taggart on the sidelines. Oregon’s offense pretty potent last season, but the defense was like excrement through a goose, as the Ducks were just 4-8 straight up and 2-9-1 against the spread. Well, there’s still a ton of talent in Eugene and maybe there will be some better defense as well. New DC Jim Leavitt has been around forever and the Ducks could be one of the biggest ATS gainers.
Arizona – A series of unfortunate events put the Wildcats behind the eight-ball last season, as Rich Rodriguez’s team went just 3-9 straight up and 2-10 against the spread. Finding those undervalued commodities in big conferences can be really successful. The Arizona offense looked a lot crisper under Brandon Dawkins. It will be the second year for former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates. Perception will be extremely low in Tucson, which means some big underdog numbers for the ‘Cats, who could be a lot more competitive this season.
Do you have more teams that you’re looking to buy? Reach out to @bangthebook or @SkatingTripods on Twitter and let us know which teams have caught your attention!
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