Bet Against Ranked College Football Teams
A common theme in college football betting circles is that the AP Top 25 and the Coaches' Poll are worthless when it comes to handicapping. The polls should be taken with a grain of salt, sure, but there's also a lot that can be gleaned from the rankings.
There are spots when it's smart to bet against ranked teams, but it depends on the situation. It's not a strategy that you should follow blindly. After all, by the end of the season, the rankings are pretty accurate in separating the contenders from the pretenders.
The sharpest angle is to bet ranked home underdogs against ranked road favorites. For instance, if No. 5 USC is favored on the road against No. 20 Oregon, the Ducks are the best bet in this spot. The Trojans might win the game, but chances are Oregon will cover the spread.
The toughest call is when a ranked road favorite rolls into an unranked conference foe's home field. The tendency is to bet against the road chalk, even if they're ranked, but make sure to do your normal handicapping. At the end of the day, it still comes down to matchups, statistics, and power ratings in relation to the spread regardless of which team is ranked and which school isn't.
Where the polls can throw off bettors is early in the season and with elite teams. Voters don't punish the big public programs as much as they should, and that can leave those teams vulnerable against the spread when they run into a solid opponent. The betting public and the media and the coaches expect the likes of Florida, Texas, and USC to headline the rankings, and they'll often give them an unjustified mulligan when they slip past a team they should have handled easily.
In that sense, the rankings can lead bettors down the wrong path. Don't get caught in the trap.
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