We now embark upon Week 3 of the College Football season which means that just about 20% of the schedule has been completed. This fact reflects the equivalent of about 30 MLB games so if we want to get out ahead of the betting market, we need to make some conclusions about certain teams.
Top 5 “Over-Valued” Sports Wagers
1. DALLAS COWBOYS
It’s no secret that this team almost always comes with a premium attached and that’s the reason they haven’t produced a profit for bettors over the course of a season in years, even when they finish with a winning record. Now after beating the defending Super Bowl champs rather easily in front of a national audience, that premium just increased.
2. BALTIMORE RAVENS
After cashing big for bettors by dismantling the Bengals on Monday Night Football, many believe they should be sizing up their rings and booking their flights to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. Slow your roll…they were extra motivated (Passing of Modell), they were at home where they always play well, and the opponent was Cincy. Enough said.
3. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
They may have cost bettors a lot of money in week 1 when they not only covered the spread, but also won the game to kill a ton of teasers. But with the performance of RG3, which continues to be shown EVERY single day on sports shows, bettors are eager to jump on the bandwagon so they aren’t left behind. Oddsmakers know bettors love offense, so they’ll shade the line to protect books until the Skins come back down to earth.
4. BYU COUGARS
It doesn’t matter that they beat up on Weber St. last week, or that Utah’s won three of the last four in the Holy War…the Cougars are still listed as a Road Favorite. The reason is simple, they’ve averaged 37.5 pts per game but that was against two opponents that have absolutely no defense. Don’t get me wrong, this team’s extremely loaded on both side of the ball…but Apple’s also a great company, but not one I’d be willing to pay $1,000 per share for.
5. USC TROJANS
Few stats support how over-valued a team is than their results against the point spread. Thus far, the Trojans are 0-2 ATS while playing some really weak opposition. It wasn’t surprising that odds makers would charge a premium to back a team with a couple of Heisman candidates at various positions…but couple that with how well Top 10 AP teams did in 2011, and it was obvious books would make bettors pay dearly to back the top ranked teams in 2012, USC included.
Top 5 “Under-Valued” Sports Wagers
1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Bettors jumped off the “Dream Team” bandwagon about midway through 2011 and were not about to get fooled twice by getting on board to kick off 2012. Now that the final score reflects they barely got past what may be the worst team in the NFL (Browns), bettors will conclude they’re over-rated once again and look for spots to fade them. Not so fast…the Birds dominated the box score in everything except turnovers. After suffering a -23 TO ratio difference from 2010 to 2011, I expect they’ll improve in 2012 overall, so let’s not jump to conclusions so quickly.
2. TENNESSEE TITANS
Wiseguys may have loved them in Week 1, but the betting public was all over the Patriots and laughed all the way to the betting window to cash their tickets when they manhandled the Titans. Here’s a small market team that rarely gets much attention and with an unproven QB and stud running back coming off an awful 2011 season, they won’t attract much this year either. That should result in a nice discount in most spots.
3. ST. LOUIS RAMS
They came into the 2012 season off a disastrous 2011 campaign where they became labeled as one of the NFL’s worst teams. That’s a long cry from the “Greatest Show on Turf” reputation they once had, but let’s not forget that few teams lost as many starts to injury as the Rams did last season. They may not win their division or compete for a playoff spot, but this will be a much improved team from 2011. So even if the standings don’t reflect it, the ATS number should.
4. HOUSTON COUGARS
They went from one of the most over-valued teams in 2011, to now being one of the most under-valued teams for 2012. That will usually be the case unless you’re considered an elite team, when you lose your starting quarterback. And when that starter is Case Keenum, considered one of College Football’s top signal callers, expect to be discounted even more in an attempt to stop bettors from racing to fade you. Look for the Cougars to improve as season wears on, while perception remains the same.
5. AUBURN TIGERS
Just two seasons removed from winning the National Championship, the Tigers are now being considered one of the SEC’s weakest links for 2012. Though bettors took a wait and see approach last season, knowing the shelves were empty after losing so many players to graduation and the NFL draft…that is definitely NOT the case this year. In fact, with the way they looked in weeks 1 and 2, books know bettors will look to fade them in what is undoubtedly College Football’s toughest conference.
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter@vegasrunner, at Pregame.com and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Fridays and Sundays from 11 pm to midnight when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected]