College football is back tonight when #14 Coastal Carolina travels to Boone, North Carolina to take on App State. Things are looking very different for App State after being demolished last week by Louisiana 41-13. It was a gut punch for a team that rolled in a 4-point road favorite and rolled out in serious peril for that East Division crown and a potential Sun Belt Championship game rematch with the Cajuns. Coastal is 2-0 inside the conference, a 4.5-point favorite and is cruising after scoring 50+ in each of their three games.
The aspect of this game I really wanted to investigate is the game’s spot on the calendar. Coastal shows up after being off the field for 13 days while App State has had eight days to prepare. The midweek games get quirky for teams on an effort to get seen and it’s tough on some so the crux of my latest investigation: what can we learn about betting midweek (or non-Saturday games). Is there something in these numbers that can help us win? Let’s grab a biscuit and crunch the digits.
To date, 54 games have been played on days that aren't Saturday. The vast majority have been on Thursdays and Fridays (50 of the 54) and one each have been played on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Beginning with the totals, only one of those other 4 games has gone OVER the game total (Sunday, Notre Dame @ Florida State). Thursday and Friday games have combined to go OVER 28 of the 50 instances (56.0%). Thursday games are 13-9 (59.1%) to the OVER while Friday games are 15-13 (53.6%) to the OVER. In fact, the only Wednesday game this season was all the way back in September 1 when UAB beat Jacksonville state and the game went way, way UNDER.
Spread talk now, fam. It turns out, UNDERDOGS are fairing better average. As of typing, favorites have only covered the spread in 23 of the 54 games (42.5%). Adding to the drama is this nugget: 11 of the 31 underdogs that have covered/pushed have won OUTRIGHT. That means UNDERDOGS are barking and winning outright at 20.4% clip. Those mid-week upsets account for 9.9% of all the college football upsets in 2021 and that’s despite those mid-week games only accounting for 11.3% of all the games played.
The average spread of those 11 upsets is interesting too. It’s 6.2-points per which is in the sweet spot of return-on-risk betting where it’s worth my time and investment because the plus-money makes sense. Only one of the upsets happened in a game where the favorite was giving more than 7 points (22.5, UC Davis over Tulsa).
What I am saying through all of this data is that IF you like an underdog to cover in a non-Saturday game, the value is there to take them to win outright. App State is a 4.5-point dog, but +180 to win outright. If you think they will cover, data says they got a good shot at winning. You can always take the favorite, but don’t say I didn’t show my work.