There’s a lot to take into consideration when handicapping NCAA football bowl games. The more info we have at our disposal, the better chance we have of profiting against the bowl betting odds.

For example, have you looked at the individual conference performance? What about how teams with poor ATS records perform?

How Large NCAA Football Favorites Perform Against the Spread in Bowls

Those are just a couple of situations I have published (more below). All of which I use to make my bowl predictions. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to look at large favorites.

Below is a complete breakdown of all the different possible betting lines. I’ve included the number of times it’s happened, as well as the straight up and ATS results.

ATS Performance of Big Favorites in College Football Bowl Games

Line# GamesSUATS
-10.51410-4 (71.4%)3-11 (21.4%)
-11127-5 (58.3%)5-7 (41.7%)
-11.544-0 (100.0%)3-1 (75.0%)
-1264-2 (66.7%)3-3 (50.0%)
-12.532-1 (66.7%)1-2 (33.3%)
-1387-1 (87.5%)3-5 (37.5%)
-13.554-1 (80.0%)3-2 (60.0%)
-141917-2 (89.5%)11-7-1 (61.1%)
-14.544-0 (100.0%)2-2 (50.0%)
-1564-2 66.7%)2-4 (33.3%)
-15.533-0 (100.0%)2-1 (66.7%)
-1641-3 (25.0%)1-3 (25.0%)
-16.543-1 (75.0%)1-3 (25.0%)
-1753-2-0 (60.0%)2-3 (40.0%)
-17.511-0 (100.0%)1-0 (100.0%)
-18.511-0 (100.0%)0-1 (0.0%)
OVERALL9975-24 (75.8%)43-55-1 (43.9%)

Understanding the Results & How to Use Them To Your Advantage

It turns out that large favorites win the game outright at a 75.8% (75-24) clip. You are probably thinking that is a decent rate. It is, but it’s way down from the regular season. Teams that are listed at -10.5 to -18.5 win right at a 84% rate. That’s a big difference.

Not a huge surprise given the decline in the number of times they win the game, they aren’t a strong team to back at the books. Teams favored more than 10-points in the postseason are just 43-55-1 (43.9%) at covering the number.

That mean you would cash 56.7% of your bets if you wagered against teams in this spot over time. Those are the types of systems I like to look for.

There are two numbers worth noting. That’s 10.5 and 14. They are the most popular two spreads in this range. A team laying -10.5 is a mere 3-11 (21.4%) ATS, while the teams listed at -14 are 11-7-1 (61.1%).

If you were to simply avoid playing teams at -14, the overall win rate would climb to 60% (32-48).

These results are a great reminder of just how different bowl season is to handicapping NCAAF in the regular season. It’s not that surprising if you ask me.

You should expect to see more competitive games this time of year. Each side gets weeks to prepare for the other side. A lot of who wins is based on who is the more motivated team.

More times than not, the team listed as a big favorite isn’t going to give it their all in practices leading up to the game. On the flip side, that team everyone is saying has no chance to win, likely has the attitude of proving every one wrong. That little chip on their shoulder has made them a strong play at the window.

2016 Qualifiers & Results

  • Miami Beach:  Tulsa (-13.5) vs Central Michigan (Won 55-10)
  • Famous Idaho Potato:  Colorado State (-15) vs Idaho (Lost 50-61)
  • St. Petersburg:  Mississippi State (-14) vs Miami, OH (Won 17-16)
  • Heart of Dallas:  Army (-11) vs North Texas (Won 17-16)
  • Military:  Temple (-10.5) vs Wake Forest (Lost 26-34)
  • Arizona:  Air Force (-15.5) vs South Alabama (Won 45-21)