Posted 09/03/2012 at 04:12 PM
Expect a lot of the top college football teams in the polls to be overvalued this season as bookmakers shade the games high. Last season saw unprecedented ATS success for the top teams in the polls but last week USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Georgia all failed against massive spreads. Alabama was the lone top 5 team to cover last week, but they did so against another top 10 team as the top 10 actually went just 2-8 ATS last week counting the spreads in games against FCS teams. Those teams are highly ranked and highly favored for good reasons and there will be great spots to back those teams but blindly playing the top teams won’t likely turn in the great profit that it did last season as adjustments will be made.
Every year there are a handful of FBS teams that fall to the lower division FCS teams. The gap seems to be closing every year as there are a lot of quality FCS teams that could play very competitively against many of the FBS schools. While there are still massive blowouts in some of those games (see: Oklahoma State), there were four FCS teams that beat FBS teams outright last week and several that came very close. Pittsburgh losing to Youngstown State, and losing convincingly, was certainly the most noteworthy of those games. When analyzing these early results it is critical to grasp the quality of the FCS foe to determine how meaningful the numbers might be. All FCS foes are not created equal as there is as great of a disparity between those squads as there is at the FBS level. Former FCS team Texas State delivered the biggest upset of the week relative to the spread however, downing Houston 30-13 as nearly five touchdown underdogs.
The NFL will open the year with replacement officials and some have theorized that the move could lead to higher scoring. The preseason was higher scoring than usual this season but too much can be read into those numbers as teams are looking to get longer and more involved looks at the back-up QBs brought into camp. Teams are also less likely to show off all defensive packages and reads in the preseason in an era where everything is captured on film and heavily scrutinized. In 2001 the NFL used replacement officials for one week and there was an edge for the home teams but that was a very small sample of games.
The defending Super Bowl champion has not won a playoff game the following season since 2005 and the Giants will open the season Wednesday night with a key division game with Dallas. New York has a quality team but like last season they draw one of the toughest schedules in the league. The NFC has now won four of the last five Super Bowls to seemingly take over as the premier conference after a strong run for the AFC earlier in the decade. The NFC team is favored in all four inter-conference games this week and there are also an unusually high number of road favorites with five currently in week 1. There are also five favorites of more than a touchdown in the opening NFL slate. Since 1998 opening week favorites of more than a touchdown are just 18-28-1 and every year some of the consensus preseason projections of who will be the top teams can prove to be quite wrong.
The ‘over’ went 11-4-1 in week 1 last season, bucking conventional recent results that suggest that the opening week is lower scoring. Only one game is listed with a total below 40 however (after six games below 40 in week 1 last year), so the oddsmakers are certainly on to this plan. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…