Our college football betting handicappers are always keeping a watchful eye on what we can expect on the field, and this year, we are looking at the Top 10 teams in the land that might ultimately be ATS duds in 2013.
1: Louisville Cardinals – The Cardinals are going to be the favorites this year in the American Athletic Conference, and they are surely going to be a National Championship contender this year. The problem that they are going to have from a betting standpoint though, is that they are always going to be one of the heaviest favorites in the game, especially against the Conference USA castoffs that have joined this conference. QB Teddy Bridgewater is great, but in the end, he doesn’t play for a team that is going to routinely put 40, 45, or more points on the board. We just don’t think much of Louisville from a betting standpoint this year.
2: Texas San Antonio Roadrunners – We’re not buying what the Roadrunners are selling this year. They ultimately went 8-4 SU and 7-3 ATS last season, but they are in Conference USA now, where there are a heck of a lot better teams than there were in the WAC. UTSA is going to end up being an up and coming program, but in the end, it was overrated last season thanks to a frighteningly horrid schedule. We really think that that’s going to catch up to the Roadrunners this year, especially early on in the season, and the end result is going to be a losing season from an ATS standpoint.
3: Kansas State Wildcats – The Wildcats went 10-3 ATS last season thanks to the play of Heisman Trophy finalist QB Collin Klein. However, with Klein gone, QB Daniel Sams is going to have to take over, and that is really going to ruin the offense in all likelihood. In the end, this defense is also only bringing back three starters, and that isn’t going to get the job done for a team that is playing against a tremendously offensive-minded conference. Unless Head Coach Bill Snyder is going to figure out how to pull something out of his backside, we think that KSU is going to be one of the worst ATS teams in the land in 2013.
4: Florida Gators – Dare we challenge the mighty Gators this year? They went 7-6 ATS last season, including getting romped by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. UF failed to cover its last four games before its showdown with Florida State, including nearly getting embarrassed by Louisiana Lafayette and Missouri at home. This offense just isn’t all that great with QB Jeff Driskel calling the shots, and the defense only has three returning starters. The ‘O’ is going to basically employ a power running game with a stable of young backs, and even if it is successful, it’s going to be tough to cover a lot of numbers as favorites. Perhaps as big dogs, the Gators will be ATS wonders, but as favorites, forget about it.
5: Texas A&M Aggies – We know that the Aggies are going to have one of the best teams in America this year, but doesn’t it seem as though QB Johnny Manziel is just flat out overrated? The offense is only bringing back six starters, as is the defense. The difference this year is that everyone knows what Manziel is bringing to the table at this point. Johnny Football and the gang are probably going to end up losing to Alabama as a measure of payback for last year’s loss. Regardless, we know that the Aggies are going to be laying biggest numbers than just about any other team in the SEC, and that’s bad news when you’re talking about a team that isn’t used to being in the winner’s circle with regularity.
6: Oregon Ducks – Here’s the big question: Are the Ducks are going to be anywhere near as good without Head Coach Chip Kelly calling the shots? We don’t think that the oddsmakers are going to ultimately be that forgiving, knowing that it’s the guys on the field that should make the real difference. QB Marcus Mariota is going to be great, and there are going to be a lot of games in which the U of O puts a ton of points on the board. But for those games when the Ducks don’t score 40, are they going to be able to win? And what if Kelly’s absence will ultimately cost the team over a touchdown per game? We’re very aware that the Quack Attack could take a step backwards from a betting standpoint this year.
7: Houston Cougars – It’s just not going to work in the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars are used to being able to fly up and down the field against some terrible defenses in Conference USA, and though some of those lousy defenses are coming over to the newly formed AAC this year as well, we just don’t think that it is going to be enough to make Houston a winning ATS team. In the first year of the post-Kevin Sumlin era, the Cougs only went 5-7 SU and ATS, and they struggled mightily when push really came to shove. Now, they’re taking a step up in class, and they’re going to have to play a lot more defense than they did in Conference USA, and we don’t think they’re going to be able to do just that.
8: Pittsburgh Panthers – We have the same concept here with the Panthers. They’re leaving the Big East for the ACC, and they are joining a bunch of teams that play a lot better offense than what existed in the Big East for all those years. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a brutal schedule this year, but it does have a bad history playing against very good teams. That opener against Florida State on Labor Day night could be the beginning of the end for the Panthers in spite of the fact that they are going to be going against what could be another very overrated FSU outfit.
9: Ohio State Buckeyes – That Ohio school is going to be under some scrutiny this year after being the only team in the nation to go undefeated last year. The Buckeyes are more in the thick of the fight this season, knowing that they are no longer on bowl ban. Though the offense returns nine, including QB Braxton Miller, the real test is going to be on the other side of the ball, where only four starters are back from last season. Head Coach Urban Meyer will probably reload in a hurry, but the thought is going to be that Miller is going to be able to cover these 20+ point spreads week in and week out against some of the middling teams in the Big Ten. We don’t think that it is going to ultimately happen this year for Miller and gang.
10: Michigan State Spartans – We’re going to stay in the Big Ten to wrap this list up with Michigan State, a team which we just don’t know how it is going to fare this season. The thought has to be there that last season’s 7-6 season was a bit of an aberration, especially for a team that had some really high hopes at the outset of the campaign. QB Andrew Maxwell proved to be a dud, and he isn’t going to be helped by any stretch of the imagination by losing RB Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. The defense does return seven, but the big man on campus in East Lansing last season, DE William Gholston is now in the NFL. The Spartans only went 5-8 ATS last year, and we think that they are going to have another awful season in 2013.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.