The college football regular season is almost over, which means it’s the perfect time to review the past year from a betting perspective. Here are the seven Power Five teams that underachieved the most and cost bettors a lot of money in 2018…
There wasn’t a more disappointing team in college football than Louisville this season. Their win total was set at 7 by the South Point Sportsbook in Las Vegas and they ended up only winning two games. Now-fired head coach Bobby Petrino said at ACC Media Days that he expected the offense to be better in 2018, despite losing quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but that could be the worst prediction of the year.
Their only wins on the season were non-covers against Indiana State and Western Kentucky in Week 2 and 3, respectively. The only game they covered the point spread in occurred in a four-point loss to Florida State.
They were double-digit underdogs against Clemson, Alabama, Boston College, Syracuse, North Carolina State and Kentucky, failing to cover in every single one of those matchups. This team absolutely quit on their coach, who was then fired with two games remaining, and left their backers with a hole in their wallet.
USC going over 8.5 wins in 2018 seemed like a stretch, but that was what their win total was set at even though they lost Sam Darnold to the NFL and turned to true freshman JT Daniels at QB. With Stanford, Texas, Washington State and Arizona on their September schedule, early-season struggles for Clay Helton’s team was expected.
The Trojans managed to survive that stretch with a 3-2 record and entered a pivotal game against Utah at 4-2. Unfortunately for USC, Daniels suffered an injury in that game which forced him to sit out the next week against Arizona State.
USC stumbled to the finish line by losing five of their final six games and failing to become bowl eligible. Falling 3.5 victories short of a win total and going 4-8 against the spread at a program like USC usually means the coach would be looking for a new job, but Helton will return in 2019.
Hopefully he doesn’t get a midseason pink slip like Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian did during their time in Southern California.
After only picking up six regular season wins in 2017, Florida State entered 2018 with both a win total of eight games and renewed optimism surrounding the program. First-year head coach Willie Taggart was taking over a program that had a lot of talent and was expected to get back to its winning ways.
But a historically terrible season followed.
A season-opening loss to Virginia Tech is one thing, but needing a fourth-quarter rally to beat FCS opponent Samford the following week is absolutely inexcusable. The Seminoles were then outclassed by Syracuse in Week 3, making it clear that Florida State wouldn’t reach eight wins and their 36-year bowl streak was in serious jeopardy.
FSU ended the season with five wins and a 4-8 record against the number. They lost by 49 points to Clemson at home and were blown out by Florida in the season finale with their bowl hopes on the line.
Wisconsin entered the season No. 4 in the AP Poll and even received one first-place vote, which is why it’s no surprise that the Badgers received a win total of 10 and were 4/9 favorites to win the Big Ten West.
But with a tough schedule that featured games at Michigan and Penn State, Wisconsin’s offense consistently failed to show up throughout the season. Losing due to injuries, like the one suffered by QB Alex Hornibrook, is understandable, but failing to beat BYU in a game you were a 23.5-point favorite in is not.
Ultimately, the Badgers only won seven games and went 3-9 against the spread in a season that will be remembered as one of the most disappointing in school history.
Miami was No. 8 in the preseason poll and had a win total of 9.5, but that bet felt like it would be decided in Week 1 when they opened against LSU on a Sunday night. The Hurricanes lost that game and immediately fell out of the national conversation.
The ‘Canes ended up winning seven games, but were 3-7 against the spread before they won and covered in their final two games against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Overall, it was a very disappointing season for Mark Richt’s team, who at one point lost four games outright as the favorite.
If Miami couldn’t take advantage of the ACC in a year in which the rest of the conference struggled, it’ll be hard to trust them in 2019.
Michigan State was expected to be part of a crowded Big Ten East race going into the season, as the Spartans had a win total of nine and returned almost every starter from their 2017 squad.
But they limped their way to seven wins and were 4-8 against the spread this season. While the schedule was supposed to favor the Spartans, they had to host both Michigan and Ohio State – games in which they failed to cover the spread against their biggest rivals.
Oklahoma State has been a consistent performer in the Big 12 for years under head coach Mike Gundy, but they were forced to regroup this season after QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington left for the NFL.
With their win total set at eight games, the Cowboys only racked up six victories, but it was the teams that they lost to that made the season a disappointment.
There were five games that Oklahoma State lost straight-up when they were favorites by six points or more. Those games were against Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor and TCU.
However, the Cowboys recorded some quality wins by knocking off Boise State, Texas and West Virginia. They even took Oklahoma down to the final minute and were a late two-point conversion away from pulling off a shocker in Norman. While it was expected to be a transition year in Stillwater, there has to be disappointment for how they played down to their competition.