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Most College Football Betting Favorites don’t Win Leagues

More often than not, college football betting favorites – as selected by college football conference official preseason polls – fail to live up to expectations and win their leagues. As a matter of fact, the record of conference favorites over the last 1-0 years is 19-31. Let’s have a closer look for the benefit of meticulous fans who bet on college football at a sportsbook.


Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Clemson have proven the media right. Virginia was the favorite as well as the eventual champion in 2007 and 2010; Florida did likewise in 2012 and 2014, and Clemson lived up to the hype in 2015. On the other hand, Miami finished 4th in Coastal in 2006; Clemson finished T-3rd in Atlantic in 2008; Virginia finished 2nd in Coastal in 2009; Florida finished T-2nd in Atlantic in 2011, and Clemson finished 2nd in Atlantic in 2013. The polls have gotten it right in the past two seasons.

Big 12

Here only Oklahoma in 2006 and Texas in 2009 went on to become winners. Missouri did not measure up two years in a row in 2007 and 2008; Nebraska fell through in 2010; and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State came up short in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. Which is to say that the Big 12 poll is not one that college football betting fans should set much stock by. Oklahoma has four straight-up conference titles in this 10 year period as a non-favorite, but only one as a favorite, in spite of being picked almost every other year.

Big Ten

The 2006, 2009, and 2014 polls did a good job of picking a favorite; Ohio State went on to win the league in all three occasions. Other than that, though, Michigan has failed two times in 2007 and 2012, and Ohio State has been the wrong picked four times in 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015. Even if Michigan were to be selected as this year’s favorite, Ohio State University would still be the most frequent conference favorite over the past 10 years.

Pac 12

USC pulled a favorite pick-actual champion threepeat in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but the spell was broken in 2009 when the actual champ was Oregon – which then went on to justified its selection as favorite in 2010 and 2011 (and one more time in 2014). This year’s pick is Stanford, for the first time in the 56 year history of the Pac 12 preseason poll. This has been historically the most difficult conference to predict, so the poll should be given an extra margin of error.


LSU, Florida, and Alabama have been the only ones who were not jinxed by the favorite pick curse; the first two in 2007 and 2008, and the third in 2014. That means there was a period of five years in which the favorite did not fulfill its, let’s say ‘destiny.’ Once again, particular poll on which college football betting fans should not put too much faith. Especially considering that last year’s pick, Auburn, actually finished 7th West.