College Football Betting: What to Make of the AP Preseason Poll?

College Football Betting: What to Make of the AP Preseason Poll?
© USA Today

Here’s a rule for college football betting: Don’t ever think Alabama is a fade.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban has been great following what he would consider a disappointing season. In this case, a disappointing season means two losses. 

He is 39-2 straight-up and 23-17 against the spread (ATS), for 68% winning bets, following the three two-loss seasons his teams have had. 

In those 41 games, Saban’s teams have been priced as an underdog just once. Alabama was a five-point underdog to Florida and crushed the Gators 32-13 in the SEC Championship Game in 2009. It followed that up with a 37-21 win against Texas in the BCS Championship, priced as four-point favorites. 

It seems to be a safe bet, then, to make on the preseason No. 1 Crimson Tide to advance to the College Football Playoff.

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Ohio State is Built to Win it All

The Ohio State Buckeyes rank second in the preseason poll and return several NFL-ready players, including quarterback C.J. Stroud and six others on offense and eight on defense.

Stroud was a Heisman Trophy finalist, along with sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson, and many elite wide receivers that were already the best offense in the nation last season.

It also seems a good bet to take these guys for a playoff spot.

Can Georgia Repeat as National Champions?

Despite only three returning starters, Georgia's defense will again be among the best in the nation this season. 

Last year’s defensive unit produced results that put them as one of the best in college football history.

While the Bulldogs might be hard-pressed to knock off Alabama for the SEC championship, they are also a good bet to make a playoff run.

 

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Thirteen New Teams Were in the Final AP Poll last season

Oklahoma began last season ranked second and they finished 10th with an 11-2 record. 

Michigan wasn’t ranked in last year’s preseason poll and the Wolverines had a spectacular season, going 12-2 and finishing third in the final AP poll. 

Baylor wasn’t ranked in the preseason, but finished fifth in the final poll with a 12-2 overall record. 

Oklahoma State finished seventh after starting not ranked. Michigan State, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Brigham Young, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Utah State and San Diego State all began the season unranked, but found their way into the final poll. 

So, it’s good to look for undervalued teams outside the Top 25 for a futures bet or two. Here are some possibilities.

There are four teams from the Big Ten in the preseason poll and Penn State is not one of them. Also, just outside the poll are Iowa State, Purdue and Nebraska.

In the SEC, Tennessee starts unranked, but I bet they will be in this season’s final edition. Staying in the conference, LSU, Mississippi State and Florida have a realistic shot of being in the season’s final AP poll.

My Best Bet from this Pool of Ignored and Undervalued Contenders

Here are my pizza money-sized bets that I am taking to the window at the BetMGM Sportsbook

  • Penn State at +1600 to win the Big Ten.
  • Tennessee at +4000 to win the SEC.
  • Nebraska at +1800 to win the Big Ten.
  • LSU at +5000 to win the SEC.
  • Texas at +275 to win the Big 12.
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