College Football Underdog Value Picks

UnderdogThe first 4 weeks of the college football season have been a crazy whirlwind of unpredictability. Conference play is getting going and I see two ACC matchups that I will definitely be jumping on this week. Here we go!

Syracuse +22 (-110) @ Clemson – 9/29/18

The Clemson Tigers are the #3 team in the nation and are deservedly listed as 22-point favorites at home against Syracuse. Both sides are a sterling 4-0, each with a big win under their belts.

Clemson survived in College Station, beating the Aggies by two points while Syracuse won a big matchup against Florida State.

Interestingly enough, 22 points is the line from the last year’s meeting in which the Orange shocked Clemson in the Carrier Dome and handed them their first loss of the 2017 season.

While I am not confident that Syracuse can win back-to-back meetings with Clemson, I believe that 22 points will be too much for Dabo and the gang to cover.

Year Score Spread
2017 SYR 27 CLEM 24  CLEM -22
2016 CLEM 54 SYR 0 CLEM -27.5
2015 CLEM 37 SYR 27 CLEM -29
2014 CLEM 16 SYR 6 CLEM -15.5

Clemson has failed to cover the spread in the 3 of their past 4 meetings with Syracuse. Let’s take it one step deeper. Here is a look at Clemson’s previous six ACC home games in which they were favored by at least 21 points.

Year Score Spread
2017 CLEM 28 WAKE 14  CLEM -21
2017 CLEM 34 BC 7 CLEM -32.5
2016 PITT 43 CLEM 42 CLEM -21
2016 CLEM 54 SYR 0 CLEM -27.5
2015 CLEM 33 WAKE 13 CLEM -29
2014 CLEM 24 BC 14 CLEM -23.5

The results are clear. Clemson struggles to cover large spreads at home in ACC play. Not only are the Tigers bad at covering, but Syracuse has shown an ability to beat spreads as road underdogs. Since 2014, the Orange are 10-7 (58.8 win %) ATS as road dogs in ACC play.

Sure, Clemson will probably win this football game, but 22 points is asking a lot of the Tigers.


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North Carolina +18.5 (-110) @ Miami FL – 9/27/18

Staying in the ACC, we have a similar game on Thursday night as the Tar Heels travel south to meet the Hurricanes.

After dropping their opener to LSU, Miami has marched back with 3 straight wins. North Carolina dropped their first 2 games before getting off the schneid against Pitt last week.

Miami is listed as 18.5-point favorites. Once again, I have a hard time believing they are likely to cover. I have a couple of reasons why. For starters, look at these schools’ previous 8 meetings in which Miami was favored.

Year Score Spread
2017 MIA 24 NCAR 19  MIA -20.5
2016 NCAR 20 MIA 13 MIA -6
2014 MIA 47 NCAR 20 MIA -16.5
2013 MIA 27 NCAR 23 MIA -8.5
2010 MIA 33 NCAR 10 MIA -6.5
2009 NCAR 33 MIA 24 MIA -3
2008 NCAR 28 MIA 24 MIA -7
2007 NCAR 33 MIA 27 MIA -6.5

The Canes have only managed to cover twice in the past 8 meetings, even dropping 4 of the games SU. It is not just the Tar Heels that Miami cannot cover against. Look at the Cane’s previous 9 games in ACC play as double-digit home favorites.

Year Score Spread
2017 MIA 44 VIR 28  MIA -19
2017 MIA 27 SYR 19 MIA -15.5
2016 MIA 40 DUKE 21 MIA -16
2014 PITT 35 MIA 23 MIA -10
2014 MIA 47 NCAR 20 MIA -16.5
2013 MIA 45 VIR 26 MIA -20.5
2013 MIA 24 WAKE 21 MIA -23.5
2011 BC 24 MIA 17 MIA -13.5

Pretty ugly, right? The Canes do not cover well and 18.5 points is an awful lot to win by.

North Carolina also performs very well as ACC road dogs. Since 2014, the Tar Heels are 8-5-1 (61.5 win %) ATS in such games.

I like two underdogs, Syracuse and North Carolina, this weekend. I believe each has a terrific chance to beat the spread.

The Author

Kreighton Rahn

Kreighton Rahn

Kreighton Rahn is a contributing writer for DBpicks.com. Rahn, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in writing at the University of Michigan, is a former sports betting content writer for the now defunct OGSports. Kreighton has a love of both sports and mathematics, and he is a dedicated sports fan as well as an avid sports bettor. His favorite sports to follow and bet are MLB, NFL, NBA, and men's college football and basketball.

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