College Football Betting: Most Profitable College Football Teams

Written by:
C Costigan
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The college football regular season is all but finished with only the Army/Navy game remaining to be contested.  The College Football Playoff matchups are set and LSU’s Joe Burrow is all but certain to win the Heisman Trophy priced as a -3000 favorite at BetOnline.ag.  Until we get into handicapping the long list of bowl games upcoming during the next month we’ll turn our attention to which teams made bettors the most money during the college football season to date.  In our next post, we’ll look at the teams that lost the most money for the betting public.

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CLEMSON (+6.7 UNITS):  This one isn’t really surprising.  With the exception of their narrow escape at North Carolina the defending National Champions have done nothing but win and win big all season long.  At the same time, they’ve consistently been marginalized and minimized by the mainstream sports media and the college football power hierarchy.  The latest example?  Look at the way Saturday’s results are being reported.  Ohio State is being characterized as ‘gritty’ for coming back to beat Wisconsin after they bumbled their way through the first half.  Clemson’s 62-17 bludgeoning of a solid Virginia team has all but been ignored.  Fortunately, the ‘gritty’ Ohio State team will come face to face with Dabo Swinney’s Tigers in the CFP Semifinals.  Good luck with that. Tigers will likely win and cover that game to go to 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (+5.7 UNITS): You don’t need to run the table to make a lot of money for your ‘financial backers’.  Such was the case with Central Michigan who finished 8-5 SU/9-3-1 ATS.  The Chippewas entered the season with some seriously low expectations after a 1-11 record a year ago.  Instead, they were a capable team SU all year and opened the season 6-1-1 against the spread and never looked back.  CMU isn’t one of those schools that puts up a losing season every year.  They’ve been a pretty solid program over the years but hit a brick wall last season.  Credit to first year head coach Jim McElwain for the quick turnaround.  Central Michigan might not be done putting money in bettors’ pockets yet—they look like a nice value play in the New Mexico Bowl where they’re +4.5 point underdogs to San Diego State.

KANSAS STATE (+5.7 UNITS): Kansas State usually puts up a solid team but had a bit of a down year last year finishing 5-7 SU though they did go 7-4 ATS.  This year, they’re back on the winning track with a 8-4 SU/9-3 ATS record.  You’ll notice a pattern here—a traditionally solid team has lower expectations off of a bad season but plays well under a first year head coach.  In K-State’s case, the first year coach was Chris Klieman who turned North Dakota State into a FCS level powerhouse and proved to be a very suitable replacement for venerable Bill Snyder.  Klieman’s FCS pedigree is key heading into the the Wildcats’ Liberty Bowl matchup with Navy—you see a lot of the triple option at the FCS level and with several weeks to prepare K-State will likely be prepared to defend it.  They look like a nice play as a -1 point favorite.

KENTUCKY (+5.7 UNITS): Kentucky is a bit of an anomaly here.  They were 10-3 last year but dropped to 7-5 this year.  They don’t have a hot shot new coach—they’re in their 7th year under Bob Stoops.  What Kentucky didn’t do this year is decline as much as expected after they lost a ton of talent to graduation.  Case in point—running back Benny Snell, the only player in UK history to rush for 1000+ yards in consecutive seasons.  Worth noting—Kentucky did very well taking business as a favorite going 6-1 SU/ATS but weren’t nearly as good as an underdog going 1-4 SU/3-2 ATS.  They’ll play Indiana in the Gator Bowl on January 2, 2020.

OREGON STATE (+5.7 UNITS):  The Oregon State Beavers have been in bad shape during the past few years with records of 2-10, 4-8, 1-11 and 2-10 in the past four seasons.  They didn’t exactly tear it up in the second season under head coach Jonathan Smith but were at least respectable.  The Beavers improved to 5-7 SU but more importantly saw their pointspread record jump to 9-3 ATS after a 3-8 ATS record last year.  Most impressively, the Beavers were a perfect 6-0 ATS away from Corvallis.  This included a very scrappy effort in the annual ‘Civil War’ rivalry game against Oregon.  The Beavers lost 24-10 to the vastly more talented Ducks but easily covered as +21 underdogs.  The Beavers will lose a lot to graduation including starting quarterback Jake Luton so it’ll be ‘wait and see’ on Oregon State next season to determine if this improvement was just a short term phenomenon or a legitimate upgrade to their program.

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