College Football Betting: Week 3 Delivered Some Head Scratching Results
College football produces a lot of what are commonly referred to as “WTF” outcomes. Each week, the betting markets move confidently in a direction only to see a result so far removed from what was projected that is makes even those most seasoned bettor’s head hurt. In analyzing Week 3, we seemed to have witnessed an abnormally high amount of “WTF” results that deserve revisiting. And while it’s somewhat therapeutic to laugh at what was seemingly random and ridiculous, there’s always the potential that it can offer a clue that lead to future profits.
Kansas’ 48-24 win at Boston College
Having a bet on the under, the only positive from this outcome was that I didn’t have the sweat the second half. Kansas was a week removed from posting seven points and 280 totals yards in a home loss to Coastal Carolina and followed it up with 48 points…7.9 yards per play…on the road…as a +21 underdog. After the game I went back and looked at KU’s results from last season and was reminded that they managed to beat TCU, lost at Kansas State by four, “hung” at Oklahoma (55-40 loss), and lost to Texas 24-17. Still, that doesn’t scream 24-point road win at Boston College. But a little more investigation and perhaps it wasn’t so crazy. BC’s 35-28 win over Virginia Tech doesn’t look nearly as impressive considering the Hokies limped past Old Dominion and FCS Furman. In the end, Kansas deserves a small bump in its power rating while Boston College looked like an attractive bet at Rutgers, though I’ll need some courage now that the market driven the line up to -7.
West Virginia’s 44-27 win vs. NC State
The Mountaineers’ win as +7 underdgos wasn’t as newsworthy as their 44-point offensive output. Through two weeks, WVU’s offense looked hopeless with 294 yards vs. FCS James Madison and 171 yards vs. Missouri. And despite what the stats said, NC State is hardly a defensive juggernaut. The Wolf Pack held East Carolina to six points and 269 yards. Last week, that same ECU offense was held to 10 points and 222 yards against a Navy defense that last season allowed 33.5 ppg. And it’s worth noting that the Mountaineers produced 445 yards of offense which is equivalent to around 30 points, not 44. With Neal Brown in charge, you knew there would eventually be steps made in the right direction on offense but I tend to lean with this performance being more of an outlier rather than the rule moving forward. Ironically, the Mountaineers travel to Lawrence this week to face the Jayhawks. I can almost assure you I’ll have some sort of wager on the under.
Maryland’s 20-17 loss at Temple
Welcome back to earth, Terrapins. Amazing what happens when you face a team that actually takes some pride in stopping the opposition. It also didn’t hurt that the Owls came in off of a bye week and had plenty of time to dissect Mike Locksley’s scheme. And it’s perhaps concerning that Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson really regressed for a third straight game. Three games against the likes of Howard, Syracuse, and Temple and Jackson is completing only 51% of his passes. That doesn’t bode for when the Terps play Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State three of their final four games.
Minnesota’s 35-32 win vs. Georgia Southern
Every team produces the occasional “smoke and mirrors” score; a game that features a lot of points but not a lot of offense. Minnesota has three of them already. The Golden Gophers scored 28, 38 and 35 and have yet to crack the 400-yard barrier. The Golden Gophers allowed 21, 35, and 32 and have yet to allow more than 367 yards. Minnesota’s three games have produced 189 points; 53 more than what the total yardage equates to. A quick scan through their box scores shows three non-traditional touchdowns and 17 points in overtime. One would think this will offer some under value at some point, no?
Michigan State’s 10-7 loss vs. Arizona State
Years from now, bettors will look back at Michigan State’s 582-yard, 51-point performance vs. Western Michigan and immediately question the meaning of life. I had a bet on Sparty -12.5. The market closed -16. And to make matters worse, they outgained Arizona State 402-216. They should have won that game 28-7. But with Mark Dantonio involved, it’s never that simple. Does this postgame article sound like a 13th-year head coach who had a six-year run of 65-17 overall and 39-8 in Big Ten play?
Texas Tech’s 28-14 loss at Arizona
Go back two weeks and we saw the Red Raiders post an unimpressive 424 yards at 5.4 ypp vs. UTEP. Against Arizona, who allowed 442 yards and nearly 6 ypp vs. Northern Arizona, the Red Raiders managed only 415 yards, 5.2 ypp, and 14 points. Tricky to peg TTU as an under team given the pace in which they play (19.6 seconds per snap) but those two showings strongly indicate the gap between the offense and defense (the D has been solid) is hardly Kingsbury-esque.