The largest college football rivalry in the country takes place each season between the University of Connecticut and the University of Mississippi. Each year, tens of thousands of dollars are bet on the game. We take a look at how the betting line performed ahead of this year’s matchup between the two prestigious Southeastern Conference teams.
How Did The Bookmakers React To The Rivalry?
The opening odds for the game between UConn and Mississippi State were released around noon on Sunday, October 14th. The betting public took an immediate liking to the game, placing bets on the favorite in the early going with the over/under lines at around 4.5 points. As the game went into the second half, bettors started pushing the under on the total yards line. Finally, when the game was locked in a 37-37 tie at the end of regulation, the under took over. That left college football fans across the country with a nasty hangover as they tried to make sense of what had happened on their TVs.
The Underdog Story
The line for the game started at -4.5 and moved steadily upward, with the vast majority of the bets for the game being placed on the underdogs. That’s an unusual occurrence for a rivalry game, as the spread between the two teams is usually around 3.5 points, making the under the favorite in 79% of those games. Last year’s game was the only other time the spread was at or over 4 points, as Mississippi State opened as 3.5 point home underdog against Oklahoma.
The Trend Of The Spread
This year was no different, as the spread between the two teams started at 3.5 points and ticked upward throughout the week. What made this year’s game different is that the underdogs opened as early as -4.5 or -5 points in some places and in smaller books were even more steep. The under was favored in every single one of the games observed. It’s the type of trend that would normally cause bookmakers to raise the line, but in the case of this particular game, they were setting the line even higher. The most extreme game was between South Florida and Temple, where the underdogs opened as -13 points favorites but were ultimately underdogs by 1 point.
The Underdog Effect
One of the most interesting stats to examine is the amount of money that was bet on the underdogs. Last year’s game between these two teams saw 47.6% of the bets on the underdogs, the highest percentage in the entire country. The trend was similar this year, as 48.3% of the bets were on the underdogs. That’s compared to 44.5% for the favorites and 6.8% on points, making this year’s game, in total, one of the most heavily bet games across the country. Even more interesting is that the underdogs won just as many of those bets as the favorites. Finally, we can see that the underdogs were more successful at home, where they won 19 of the 27 games this year, compared to 16 of the 28 last year. That’s quite a reversal considering that UConn and Mississippi State have met in football before, with Ole Miss winning 16-14 in Oxford in 2014.
The Success Of The Underdogs
Here’s a stat for you: since 2001, there have been 123 different teams that played in a bowl game for their respective schools. Those teams have won 91 games and lost 42 games, leaving them with a winning percentage of 0.754. What’s more is that 95 of those 123 teams were underdog in their bowl games. The combined record of those teams is 711-382, for a winning percentage of 0.618. Let that sink in for a moment.
Odds To Win The National Championship
Since the inception of the College Football Playoff, the odds for each team to win the national championship have shortened. It used to be that you’d have to search far and wide to find a betting line that matched the public’s favoritism towards a single team. However, with just a few hours before the start of the season, you can find all sorts of national championship odds. The table below shows the odds for each team to win the national championship as of Saturday, October 13th:
|Ohio State (+110)||5.0|
|Michigan State (+50)||6.0|
|Penn State (+30)||8.0|
|Notre Dame (+5)||12.0|
There are so many different angles to study when it comes to the annual University of Connecticut vs. Mississippi State football rivalry. One of the most interesting aspects is how the betting public views the games. Knowing where to look can help you find the trends and stats that matter most to you as a fan. Stay tuned to OddsShark as we’ll continue to post news and information about the game throughout the year. You can follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news about odds, predictions and more.