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Betting Ranked vs Unranked Teams

Aug 31, 2022 EST

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Many of college football’s best teams start their seasons with a layup or two. Scheduling weaker non-conference opponents, many ranked teams will enter Week 1 as heavy favorites to start 1-0.

But are these ranked vs unranked matchups as lopsided as we think? Ahead of Week 1, we break down college football ranked vs unranked betting trends and highlight a few ranked vs unranked games to note in Week 1 this year.

Ranked Vs Unranked Betting Trends

Unranked Vs Ranked NCAAF Betting Trends (2017-2021)
Timeline Straight Up Record SU Profits ATS Record ATS Profit
All Games 817-272 (75.0%) +$4282.08 570-495-24 (53.5%) +$2327.33
Week 1 Games 77-8 (90.6%) +$933.29 42-41-2 (50.6%) -$279.06

As the ranked vs unranked betting trends show, hammering the ranked favorites SU can be a profitable way to make some cash, especially in Week 1. While there’s the occasional upset, if you’d bet $100 on every ranked team against an unranked opponent on the moneyline for the last five years, you’d be up over $4,000.

The trends aren’t quite as strong against the spread, but expect the Week 1 ranked favorites to keep raking in the money this season.

Week 1 Scares 2021

Ranked teams were still profitable straight up in Week 1 last year, but they didn’t fare so well against the spread, a trend we should keep in mind for our ranked vs unranked betting in 2022.

Several of the best ranked schools in the country were pushed to the brink by Week 1 unranked opponents last year, with ranked teams going 10-10-1 ATS in 2021. No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 11 Oregon all won their Week 1 games by a single possession.

Even No. 4 Ohio State had its hands full against unranked Minnesota to start the season. The Gophers had a 14-10 lead at halftime and managed to keep things within two possessions against the Buckeyes until the end.

2022 Week 1 Ranked Vs Unranked Betting Options

There are plenty of ranked vs unranked games to pick from in Week 1 this college football season, but here are two we have our eyes on:

No. 17 Pittsburgh (-7.5) vs West Virginia

Even with question marks at the skill positions, Pitt has a decided advantage in the trenches. The Panthers have a great defensive front while West Virginia had one of the worst offensive lines in college football last year. That edge alone should be enough to help No. 17 Pitt cover this one.

No. 8 Michigan (-31) vs Colorado State

It’s easy to see a team not covering this massive line in Week 1, with not much reason to blow a team out this early in the season. However, Michigan has something to play for. As a team, the Wolverines will be looking to prove 2021 wasn’t a blip and they’re a threat to win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff once again. And at quarterback, Cade McNamara is still fighting for the starting job with J.J. McCarthy (who will get the start in Week 2).

With a clear talent advantage and plenty to play for, expect Michigan to win this one in a bloodbath.

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