The college football season is just a month away! College football has been a strength for me (70% CFB last year and 66% two years ago), and it is one of my two favorite sports (college hoops the other). There’s nothing like the weeks leading up to college football. Handicappers put in a ton of time preparing for the season.
Today, I want to look at five teams I believe could be underrated against the spread this season because of their poor results against the spread from a year ago.
NC State (4-9 ATS last year) NC State was overhyped coming into last season. Everyone thought NC State had their window of opportunity to win the ACC. The team did have a lot of injuries. Devin Leary was knocked out and they had backup QB’s for much of the season. The defense also suffered a bunch of key losses. NC State had a disappointing season compared to expectations and finished 4-9 ATS.
Brennan Armstrong transferred in from Virginia, and he is expected to be the new starting quarterback. The Wolfpack did lose a lot of key guys on defense, but star linebacker Payton Wilson is back to lead the stop unit.There is no hype this year, but the Wolfpack have winnable road games and a quality team.
Ole MIss (4-8-1 ATS last year) Quinshon Judkins might be the best running back in the country. Lane Kiffin is a brilliant offensive mastermind. Jaxson Dart is back and Spencer Sanders (previously the starting QB at Oklahoma State) transferred in to Ole Miss as well. Zakhari Franklin, who was a star WR at UTSA is now in the fold at Ole Miss too. There is an abundance of wealth on the offensive side for the Rebels.
They are coming off a 4-8-1 ATS season. Ole Miss had a bad showing in their bowl game and people will remember that. I think the Rebels are at least somewhat underrated coming into this season.
Northern Illinois (4-8 ATS last year) Let’s go a bit under the radar in the MAC for our next team. Northern Illinois was just 4-8 ATS last year, but they played much of the season without star quarterback Rocky Lombardi. Lombardi has put up video game type numbers in this offense when healthy the last couple seasons. Northern Illinois has arguably the best offensive line in the MAC too. The Huskies will test themselves in the non-conference with games at Nebraska and Boston College. I think they’ll be a good team ATS especially in MAC play.
Iowa State (4-7-1 ATS last year) Matt Campbell is still a good coach, and Iowa State isn’t likely to be -7 in turnover margin again this season. They went just 4-8 straight up and 4-7-1 ATS last year. The Cyclones have an above average defense and a veteran signal caller in Hunter Dekkers. They play a really tough schedule, so they might not win a ton of games, but I think they’ll be some good spots to back them as underdogs this season.
Oklahoma (5-8 ATS last year) Oklahoma has too much talent to not bounce back some in the year ahead. Dillon Gabriel is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He was hurt late last year. Many bettors will remember Oklahoma being blasted by Texas a year ago. I also trust Brent Venables and Ted Roof to help this defense improve in the second year of this system. The Sooners have a lot of upside potential this year.