College Football Point Spread Report: Big Ten, Big Dividends

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There are as many ways to break down a college football season from a point spread and totals perspective as there are reasons to loathe Nick Saban.

You can include every game on the college football betting board (including those on the “added board”). You can be an elitist and only factor in teams from Power 5 conferences. You can choose to use the closing lines from one specific sportsbook or opt for consensus numbers. Or you can use whatever method Saban demands of you (which, of course, would be nothing because the smug, disingenuous, tyrannical Alabama coach believes sports betting is the devil).

We here at have decided to go with this approach for our weekly College Football Point Spread Report: Include ATS and Over/Under results from all 130 FBS programs, except when those programs face non-FBS schools. That means Oklahoma’s 76-0 whitewash of Western Carolina two weeks ago (when the Sooners were a 52.5-point favorite on the added board) doesn’t count. Nor do recent inexplicable upset losses by Washington (vs. Montana) and Florida State (vs. Jacksonville State).

Our rationale? Not every sportsbook in every jurisdiction posts lines on all FBS vs. FCS matchups. And one of our missions is to provide readers with information and insight on games/events that are actionable. So we went through and stripped away all games involving the Incarnate Words of the college football world. (Yes, that’s a real school—and yes, they play football.)

Now let’s dive into this week’s College Football Point Spread Report and examine some ATS and Over/Under trends heading into Week 4. We’ll once again start with the goofy-named conference that continues to ring the cash register.

Note: ATS and Over/Under stats are reflective of’s final consensus lines.

Big Ten Brings Home Big Bucks

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Excluding one conference game, the Big Ten last week posted a 6-4 ATS record in its FBS-specific contests. Those are solid but not spectacular results—until you add them to the 14-team conference’s season-long ledger. The Big Ten now boasts a cumulative 22-13-2 ATS record (including conference games), which equates to a 59.5% spread-cover rate.

Just how impressive is that? None of the other 11 FBS conferences (including Independents) are more than three games over .500 from an ATS standpoint.

Also, of the five FBS teams off to a 3-0 ATS start, three reside in the Big Ten: Michigan, Penn State, and Iowa. Throw in Michigan State and Rutgers (both 2-0 ATS), and five of the league’s teams are unbeaten against the number. No other conference has more than three ATS unbeatens.

The Sure Things … At Least For Now

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Joining Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State with 3-0 ATS marks are Fresno State (coming off a shocking upset at UCLA as an 11-point dog) and Arkansas (which throttled Texas two weeks ago and faces a home showdown with Texas A&M on Saturday). Add 15 other squads that are 2-0 ATS, and we’re down to 20 teams still in the hunt for the holy grail: a perfect point-spread record.

Interestingly, exactly half of those 20 teams are from Power 5 conferences: the aforementioned five Big Ten schools and Arkansas, plus Kansas State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Texas Tech. Joining Fresno State in the other half are Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Liberty, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Tulsa, and Utah State.

Other than the Big Ten, only Independents (11-9 ATS, 55%), the Mountain West (15-12-1 ATS, 53.6%), and SEC (17-14-1 ATS, 53.1%) have been profitable. The biggest money-burner conference? That would be the Mid-American, which is 9-16 ATS (36%).

Banking On The Top 25

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This week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll features a group with a combined 66-9 straight-up record, which is sterling but not particularly surprising. After all, that’s why they’re in the Top 25. Here’s what is remarkable, though: Those teams are covering at a 64.5 percent rate (40-21-1 ATS).

What’s more, the 13 ranked squads from the SEC and Big Ten are a sizzling 23-9-1 ATS. That pencils out to 69.7 percent winners (or what professional bettors like to refer to as “vacation home in the Caribbean” money).

Further breaking down this week’s AP poll members: The teams that comprise the top 10, while 28-2 SU, are a mere 13-10-1 ATS. The remaining 15 entrants: How does 27-11 ATS grab you?

Getting Over On The Under

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Speaking of profitable, college football Under bettors have been swimming in a sea of cash in the first month of the season. That’s because nearly 57 percent (83 of 146) of FBS-specific games have stayed low.

However, since the Under was a near-automatic play in Week Zero and Week 1—when 34 of the first 49 fell short of the total—the pendulum has swung back to the middle. In the last two weeks, the Over cashed in 48 games, while the Under hit in 49.

From a trends standpoint, five teams enter this week 3-for-3 to the Over: Arkansas, Army, UMass, Pittsburgh, and Rice. At the opposite end, eight teams are 3-0 to the Under: BYU, Iowa, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech.