If you go back to last week’s Top 25 Poll, you will see that 18 ranked teams were in action in Week 5 of the college football season.
There were two head-to-head matchups between ranked teams - No.25 Baylor vs. No.9 West Virginia and No.14 Ohio State vs. No.20 Michigan State - so that left 14 teams facing an unranked opponent.
Starting with last Thursday night’s game between No.8 Stanford vs. Washington, the ranked team only managed to cover the spread in three of the 14 games. The Cardinal lost outright as 6.5-point favorites, which was the only straight-up upset of the week.
No.18 Oregon State was the only ranked underdog on this list, but it covered as a 2.5-point road dog in a 38-35 victory over Arizona. No.17 Clemson covered as a 9-point favorite on the road in a 45-31 win over Boston College, and No.12 Texas beat Oklahoma State 41-36 as a 2-point road favorite.
Other than a push on South Carolina’s 21-point victory on the road over Kentucky, the other 10 teams failed to cover the spread as either a favorite at home or on the road. This means that a $100 wager on the unranked team in all 14 Top-25 games in Week 5 would have provided a very healthy $670 return on investment.
It is hard to say whether or not this trend will continue in the coming weeks. However, to put things into better perspective, you have to take a look at some of the top teams in the nation’s current record against the spread through the first five weeks of the 2012 season.
No.1 Alabama is 2-3 ATS overall and 1-3 ATS at home. The second-ranked Oregon Ducks are 1-4 ATS overall and 1-3 ATS at home. Florida State has worked its way up to No.3 but it is just 1-3 ATS.
LSU keeps losing ground in the polls by winning games, but that is understood considering that No.4 Tigers struggled to cover as 43-point home favorites in a tighter-than-expected 38-22 win over FCS Towson last Saturday. They are now 2-3 ATS overall.
Rounding out the AP’s current Top Five is the Georgia Bulldogs, who are 2-3 ATS overall and 1-3 ATS at home.
Check out the odds for all of Week 6’s Top 25 matchups.