Best & Worst College Football Home Teams ATS in Power 5
Dan Kilbridge | 7 mins
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College football will finally look and sound like college football again when the 2021 season kicks off in late August.
The band will be back in the stands, the fans will be back at the tailgates, and players will enjoy a home field advantage that was lacking on most campuses due to limited attendance throughout 2020. For college football betting, that means taking all those factors into consideration once again for the Saturday wagers.
It’s generally believed home field in college football will add anywhere from 3-6 points to the spread depending on the circumstance and environment. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers are well aware of these environments and they’re all baked in when spread betting. You can’t just bet Florida ATS at home every week because The Swamp is such an intimidating environment. Those factors are well understood and accounted for in the college football odds.
Rather than win-loss record, a team’s home record against the spread is a much better indication of value in terms of home field advantages. Perhaps certain fanbases long thought to impact games have lost their collective fastball, or lesser-known stadiums are sneaky-tough for visiting teams.
These five-year trends against the spread at home will provide a better understanding of value as opposed to handicapping home field advantage based on overall record, reputation and crowd size.
The Best Power 5 College Football Home Teams
Here's a look at the five best college football teams ATS in each of the Power 5 conferences over the past five seasons.
|Texas Tech||Big 12||62.1%|
|Penn State||Big Ten||54.8%|
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The Worst Power 5 College Football Home Teams
Here's a look at the five worst college football teams ATS in each of the Power 5 conferences over the past five seasons.
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Best & Worst Cover Teams By Conference
Best: Missouri, 21-13 (61.8%)
Faurot Field might not strike fear in the hearts of SEC opponents like Death Valley or Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the Tigers have been a great home bet in recent years. They’re above 60% as both a favorite and underdog, going 6-3 ATS as a home dog throughout that stretch and winning three of those games outright.
Worst: Tennessee, 12-22 (35.3%)
It’s been hard times at Neyland Stadium in recent years. The Vols haven’t given fans a reason to get loud very often and you can’t blame students and alumni who’d rather keep partying at the tailgate come kickoff. It’s one of the best environments in college sports when the Vols are riding high, but overall they’ve been far better on the road, having covered at a 50% clip in away games.
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Best: Penn State, 17-14 (54.8%)
Happy Valley is a massive shrine to the game, located in the middle of nowhere to provide an atmosphere that borders on cultish at times. It’s also provided the best value at betting sites in a conference featuring several iconic venues. Penn State has had three 11-win seasons over the past five years. More importantly, they’ve taken care of PA sports betting fans and covered at home in the process.
Worst: Nebraska, 9-20-2 (31%)
Nothing sets the table for lost bets like a former national powerhouse spinning its wheels in mediocrity year after year. Scott Frost hasn’t been able to right the ship and one wouldn’t describe Memorial Stadium and its surroundings as an intimidating environment even in the good years. It’s the type of place where opposing fans are welcomed and thanked for making the trip. Perhaps offered a donut and a lite beer as a welcome-to-Lincoln gesture. Maybe that’s part of the reason Nebraska has been one of the worst home cover teams in the nation in recent years.
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Best: Texas Tech, 18-11 (62.1%)
The Red Raiders are .500 straight up at Jones AT&T Stadium over the past five years, but they’ve been taking care of business as a home dog in Lubbock. That “Air Raid” offense is definitely useful for a few backdoor covers in garbage time, and the environment is downright electric for big games. There haven’t been a lot of those lately. But you’ll make alumni much happier by consistently covering at home, win or lose.
Worst: TCU, 9-22 (29%)
TCU has been frisky in recent years, but they’ve been terrible against the spread at home. Amon G. Carter Stadium’s capacity is relatively small for the conference at around 50,000. TCU has, however, improved at home with a 6-6 record against the spread since 2019 – the same year the school decided to allow beer sales at the stadium. Coincidence? We think not.
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Best: Washington State, 17-11-1 (60.7%)
The Cougars were consistently solid during Mike Leach’s tenure and Martin Stadium is proof that sometimes less is more. Washington State has by far the smallest capacity in the Pac-12 at just over 30,000 fans, but the Cougar faithful bring it strong and the program has often been overlooked as a contender.
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Worst: UCLA, 11-17-1 (39.3%)
Many of the best college football environments are found in remote locations, where the team is the only show in town all year. That’s obviously not the case in Los Angeles. The Rose Bowl is a beautiful venue, but it’s only half-full most of the time as the Bruins simply aren’t going to draw 80,000 fans in Pasadena these days. That’s part of the reason they’ve been such a bad home wager on betting apps lately. A special mention for Arizona. The Wildcats are a horrendous 50-79-2 ATS (home and on the road) since 2010, with the second lowest cover rate of all Div. 1 teams during that time at 38.8%. Something to keep in mind as Arizona sports betting prepares to launch this fall.
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Best: Virginia, 18-13-1 (58.1%)
The ACC is a highly-competitive conference when Clemson isn’t involved. That’s especially true in the Coastal Division and the Cavaliers have taken advantage in recent years, making the ACC title game in 2019. They’ve been favored more often than not at Scott Stadium and definitely fly under the radar as a strong home cover team. Too bad betting in Virginia does not allow you to wager on the Cavaliers.
Worst: Florida State, 13-17 (43.3%)
The Seminoles have the same problems as Nebraska and Tennessee – you’ve got these gorgeous, eight-figure football facilities, a history of championships and an extremely passionate fanbase with high expectations. That can be tough to deal with when the program takes a downward turn, and bettors can be slow to catch up. The Seminoles have been mediocre for four consecutive seasons and Doak S. Campbell Stadium is still getting a little too much respect at the betting window.
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