Philadelphia, PA – The public loves betting on favorites. Backing the betting choice is sometimes a profitable investment but other times it is not the smart way to go. This past weekend it fell into the latter category.
Favorites went 18-23 but what really stood out were the clubs giving four touchdowns or more. There were eight of them and all eight failed to cover!
Some squads, such as Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma, struggled in the first half while Oregon took it easy in the second half after leading 50-10 through the first 30 minutes.
Both USC and LSU were favored by over 40 points so covering the number was not going to be an easy task. The Trojans went into the locker room at halftime leading 35-0 but only scored one offensive touchdown the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the Tigers opened a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter and even outgained North Texas by 289 yards but still couldn't put the Mean Green away winning by just 27.
The biggest surprise came in Houston where the Cougars, favored by almost five touchdowns, actually lost to Texas State - a team playing its first ever game as a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
Texas was the other squad that couldn't give its against-the-spread backers a victory. The Longhorns allowed 345 yards as Wyoming easily stayed within the number.
So is betting a four-touchdown or higher favorite a bad wager or was this past weekend's results just an outlier? To find some sort of an answer I went back to last year's results and checked to see how well these types of favorites fared.
The results were much better than last Saturday but they still did not overwhelmingly favor the favorite. The 28-point or higher betting choice was 29-27-2 for a 52 percent winning percentage. However, they hit at a 57 percent clip when teams took on non-conference opponents. That last statistic shows just how difficult it is to cover large spreads against league foes.
I also wanted to see how heavy favorites did opening the season, especially after the 0-8 mark from this past Saturday. The huge betting favorites covered at a much higher percentage (67 percent) in 2011 with six ATS wins in nine games. Furthermore, there were three teams favored by at least 28 points in Week 2 and 67 percent of them covered the spread.
No one knows what Week 2 of this season will bring but keep an eye on the four- touchdown or higher favorites to see if they continue to fail. Four teams, Oregon, Texas, Arkansas and Alabama, are favored by at least 28 points, while Clemson and USC are both teetering on that number.
AFTER ONE WEEK
I am 7-6 overall after Week 1. The breakdown is as follows: 3-1 in five-star plays, 0-2 in three-star selections, 2-3 in two-star picks, and 2-0 in one- star plays.
As a reminder, the five-star plays are when my personal plays coincide with my power rating plays (games with at least a five-point differential between my line and the actual line). The three-star choices are my personal picks, the two-star plays are the games the power rating system picks, and the one-star plays are my personal secondary selections.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Alabama, 105; 2) USC, 104; 3) Georgia, 100.5; 4-T) LSU and Oregon, 100; 6) Florida State, 99; 7) Oklahoma, 98.5; 8-T) South Carolina and Nebraska, 95; 10) Ohio State, 94.5; 11-T) Arkansas and West Virginia, 94
(The Top 12 is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all 124 FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)