Best & Worst College Football Road Teams ATS in Power 5
Dan Kilbridge | 7 mins
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College football stadiums were a little friendlier for visiting teams in 2020. With most programs limiting fan attendance or banning it altogether, road games didn’t look and feel like the intense situations we’re used to seeing for opponents.
That all goes out the window again as we get ready for college football betting in 2021. The fans will be back in full force and teams will need to keep their composure in daunting environments to pay off on betting sites and sports betting apps.
Teams that can consistently cover on the road will always make bettors happy – considering home-field advantage is usually worth around 3-6 points, visiting teams that can neutralize the crowd have a big advantage at the sportsbooks.
Certain programs have established themselves as legit road contenders over the years, while others have struggled to meet expectations in unfamiliar territory.
Rather than looking at outright record or overall performance against the spread, limiting the scope to record ATS in away games over the past five years gives us a clearer picture to make better college football picks against the spread entering the 2021 season.
The Best Power 5 College Football Road Teams
Here's a look at the five best college football road teams ATS in each of the Power 5 conferences over the past five seasons.
|Iowa State||Big 12||61.5%|
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The Worst Power 5 College Football Road Teams
Here's a look at the five worst college football road teams ATS in each of the Power 5 conferences over the past five seasons.
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Best & Worst Road Cover Teams By Conference
Best: LSU, 15-7-1 (68.2%)
The Tigers have the luxury of playing in one of the most daunting stadiums in the nation. Even more impressive is the job they’ve done exceeding expectations on the road in recent years. That’s especially true in the SEC, with LSU regularly playing at Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, etc. Coach Ed Orgeron has recruited a ton of talent, but he also deserves credit for the way his players keep their composure on the road.
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Worst: Missouri, 7-17 (29.2%)
Missouri has been a great bet at home in recent years, covering at a 61.8% clip at Faurot Field. It has been a completely different story on the road, with the Tigers checking in as the second-worst away cover team in a Power 5 league in the nation. Keep that in mind when checking out the college football betting lines for the 2021 season, as the trends say we should always bet Missouri at home and fade the Tigers on the road.
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Best: Northwestern, 16-6-1 (72.7%)
The Wildcats don’t have the luxury of playing at a packed house with 80,000 screaming Wildcat fans in Evanston. Opposing fanbases often flood the gates and 11 a.m. kickoffs don’t help. Maybe that lack of home-field advantage helps explain why Northwestern has been so good on the road under Pat Fitzgerald, covering at a 72.7% clip and going 14-9 straight up over the past five years.
Worst: Maryland, 8-17 (32%)
It’s safe to say bettors should simply stay away from the Terps. They’re only .500 against the spread at home over the past half-decade and far worse on the road, checking in at 8-17 ATS. Keep that in mind for a tough two-game stretch this season, as the Terps travel to Ohio State Oct. 9 and head to Minnesota Oct. 23 with a bye week in between.
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Best: Iowa State, 16-10 (61.5%)
It doesn’t seem like any environment will faze the Cyclones. Iowa State has been a great cover team at home or on the road in recent years, checking in as the best road bet in the Big 12. They’ve been nearly as effective at home, covering at a 60.6% clip at Jack Trice Stadium. We’ll see if sportsbooks continue to underestimate the Cyclones in 2021 coming off a 9-3 showing in 2020.
Worst: Kansas, 11-14-2 (44%)
The Big 12 has the lowest disparity of any conference in terms of home and away games ATS. Kansas hasn’t been terrible on the road, covering at a 44% clip, but it still puts them in the bottom of the barrel in conference. It is sort of wild they covered 11 games in that span considering they went 2-25 straight up on the road. Keep all of this in mind when you’re tempted to take Kansas getting a massive number of points as a road dog – it’s better to back off no matter what.
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Best: Utah, 17-7 (70.8%)
The Utes are starting to get their due at the sportsbooks after making a serious push for the 2019 College Football Playoff. But they’re still covering consistently away from home, with a seriously impressive 70.8% cover rate outside of Salt Lake City. Only three teams in the entire country have been a better bet on the road in recent years.
Worst: Arizona, 6-17 (26.1%)
The Wildcats have been stuck in a funk for many years and could be considered the worst bet in all of sports over the past decade. You need a few playmakers to hang tough in a hostile environment and Arizona hasn’t had any, with poor recruiting and development keeping this program in the Pac-12 cellar until further notice. With Arizona sports betting set to launch shortly, Wildcats fans have been warned.
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Best: Pittsburgh, 16-9-1 (64%)
Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi is tough as nails and demands the same of his players. His halftime speeches at Michigan State were legendary and nearby objects like overhead projectors didn’t always survive. He is a motivator first and foremost, and there’s no doubt that fire spreads through the locker room in hostile environments and makes the Panthers a great bet away from home.
Worst: Florida State, 7-14-3 (33.3%)
The Seminoles have been the worst home cover team in the ACC at 43.3%, but they’re even worse on the road. Florida State beat up on the rest of the conference for years. That means you’ll get everyone’s best shot and opposing fans will be calling for blood the entire game. When things take a turn toward mediocrity, it makes it that much harder to get back on top and survive a long afternoon on the road.
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