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High Rankings - Low Pointspreads


Remember when highly ranked college football teams, a la the Nebraska Cornhusker and Miami Hurricane teams of the nineties, would crush lower ranked teams by huge margins?

Well this college football season hasn’t really seen much of that type of domination.

It’s interesting to note that heading into this week’s action many of the BCS’ Top 25 are seeing themselves as small favorites or even as underdogs:

- No. 2 in the BCS rankings, Boston College, is an underdog by a field goal (see below).

- No. 16 South Carolina is in the same situation as BC.

- West Virginia is a favorite by less than a TD.

- The BCS top-ranked team, Ohio State is a favorite by only 4½ in their matchup (see further below)

Although the uncertainty has the created turmoil for the betting public, the books and purists alike, it is making for quite an intriguing college football.

Let’s look at the action this week.

Boston College at Virginia Tech

The Boston College Eagles pretty much find themselves in the same circumstance this week as South Florida last week. The Eagles, who are undefeated at 7-0 (4-2 ATS), see themselves in the BCS’ second spot and heading into a Thursday night game like South Florida before them.

Will BC end up getting upset in Blacksburg, VA tonight like South Florida did at Rutgers?

The Virginia Tech Hokies are also ranked high in the BCS standings (No. 8) and would obviously like to rise in the standings. They haven’t been a profitable play most of the year, with a 2-4 record ATS, but in this high profile tilt they are listed as 3-point favorite.

The early bettors at SPORTSBETTING.COM are tipping the scales slightly to the dog in this one, as Boston College is seeing 55% of the action.

If the actual game is as close as the line and betting action it will be a good one.

Ohio State at Penn State

Betting against the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes might be a smart thing to do the next few weeks because (a) they face Big Ten competition the rest of the way and their conference rivals will be gunning for them and (b) The No. 1 teams have had a hard time staying on top this year.

Betting against Ohio State last week in their matchup against Michigan State was a profitable venture as the Buckeyes squeaked out a 24-17 win against the Spartans but failed to cover the big spread.

This week, the top team in the polls faces another matchup against a conference rival, this time heading to Happy Valley to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions with OSU listed as 4-point favorites.

Ohio State managed to win their matchup against Penn State last year but that was within the friendly confines of the Horseshoe and with players like Heisman winning QB Troy Smith and speedy WR Ted Ginn Jr. who have since moved on.

Despite that though the majority of the public still has a keen eye on the #1 ranked team in college football and they don’t foresee an upset as 85% of the action at SPORTSBETTING.COM is going in the direction of the visiting team.

USC at Oregon

The late Keith Moon once referred to Led Zeppelin, ironically, as a band that was “going down like a lead [balloon].”

Some several decades later, the same comparison can be made to the USC Trojans. Ranked No. 1 by the AP a little over the month ago, head coach Pete Carroll and his team have been imitating a balloon made of lead and currently sit tied for the No. 9 spot in the AP and No. 12 in the BCS.

A loss to 39-point underdog Stanford has thrown a wrench into their visions of a BCS title but with the way the season has been you never know. The Trojans were on a three game ATS skid, but got back to their winning ways when they covered the 16½-point spread in a 38-0 win over Notre Dame.

This week USC faces conference rival Oregon and the road team Trojans are listed at +3, which has the majority of action flowing in on the road dog at a clip of 65%.

Will USC continue to drop like a lead zeppelin or will they gain momentum from the ND win and rise like a phoenix from the ashes?

Georgia at Florida

You can use the Keith Moon analogy for the Florida Gators too and it is more fitting considering that they are defending BCS champions. Losses against Auburn and LSU will hang like albatrosses on the Gators’ necks but Florida is on a two game ATS winning streak so all is not lost.

The Georgia Bulldogs are No. 18 in the BCS and with the volatility of the higher ranked teams; they are probably still eyeing a BCS bowl game and maybe an invite to the title game. The last matchup between the two, almost a year to the day, saw the Bulldogs lose SU 21-14 but cover as a 13½-point favorite.

One year later the Gators are favored by 8½ with, 70% of the action going Florida’s way.

Dog Bites

Let’s look at a few underdogs that are getting tickets written up on them.

The Mississippi Rebels were embarrassed in a 44-8 loss last week by the 5½-point favorite Arkansas. After such a humiliating loss, it’s safe to assume that head coach Ed Orgeron put his team through the paces this week. This week they will be looking to bounce back against Auburn as a 17½-point underdog, and bettors feel they have a good chance at covering the number as the Rebels are getting 60% of the action.

The Stanford Cardinal pulled off an upset that measured on the Richter scale a few weeks back when they covered as a 39-point underdog against USC. Ever since that fateful USC upset, Stanford has pulled off three ATS wins in a row and maybe they are worth a wager this week against Oregon State.

The Cardinal are listed as 13½-point ‘dogs and since Oregon St. isn’t as highly regarded as the Trojans maybe Stanford can run their ATS streak to four. A majority of bettors think so as 55% of the public are placing their bets on the Cardinal.

Let’s see if you recognize this plotline. A college football team, in this case, California, is ranked No. 2 in the polls but lost and took a tumble. You can insert a number of teams in that scenario, Cal included, and the Golden Bears have lost two in a row both SU and ATS, currently sitting No. 21 in the BCS standings.

They face a steep, steep climb if they want to reach their previous position in the standings and they can get back on track with a win this week against Arizona State, who unlike Cal has risen and is the BCS’ No. 4 team.

SPORTSBETTING.COM has the Golden Bears listed at a slight 3-point underdog and bettors like the chances of an upset as 75% of the action is going Cal’s direction.


Good luck this weekend.

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