Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Monday, October 9, 2017 at 2:51 PM
Oklahoma's stunning loss to Iowa State as 31-point favorites this past Saturday shows that anything can happen in college football. Oklahoma was supposedly a lock for the Final Four after beating Ohio State in Columbus. Iowa State was using its third string quarterback because the starter didn't even make the trip. This was supposed to be nasty.
It was...but in the exact opposite way than everyone expected. Oklahoma didn't just lose at home to a big, shorthanded underdog. They were outgained 7.6 to 7.4 on a per-play basis. And, they looked utterly lost in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line. Did they do any preparation at all? The sluggishness that showed up in part of a disappointing win over Baylor was in full display at the worst possible time.
Even in projected mismatches...
Sometimes the favorite doesn't show up focused or prepared
Sometimes the underdog shows up with a chip on its shoulder
Sometimes favorites have very shaky defenses
Sometimes a new QB you haven't heard of is pretty good!
It's worth nothing that this wasn't the only surprise Saturday. Michigan was also upset on its home field as a double-digit favorite. Losing at -11 isn't as bad as -31...but it's still evidence of what can happen when favorites are arrogant and dogs are fired up.
*Alabama turned mortal for a week in a lethargic 27-19 win at Texas A&M
*Clemson had trouble shaking feisty Wake Forest
*Alleged new powerhouse TCU was life and death with West Virginia
I'm not saying it was nothing but dogs this past Saturday. There were blowouts too. But, a lot of those blowouts set up future "shockers" because college athletes just can't maintain complete focus from week to week. Oklahoma falls as a big favorite...maybe it's Georgia next time. Or Wisconsin, Penn State dodged a recent bullet at Iowa. Oklahoma State didn't dodge TCU when they were supposed to be the next big thing. Washington or Washington State could run into trouble if they start thinking about each other in the Pac 12 North too early.
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is THE KING OF UPSETS because I understand all the factors that lead to on-field surprises. It's not enough to follow stats...because stats don't tell you about emotions. It's not enough to anticipate emotions, because underdogs must have a good enough offense to outscore the favorite over 60 minutes...or they'll just break your heart. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the wagering public loves betting favorites...which is why some lines get WAY out of touch (like Alabama laying four TD's in College Station, or Oklahoma being priced like it's playing Rice.
I'm not going to tip my hand about future upset calls in the coming weeks. But, I will give you these strategies to follow.
*Look for flat spots from undefeated teams, particularly those who have just covered at least three in a row. If the media has been gushing about them with big feature stories or "Heisman hype" about their stars, even better. Upsets rarely come against fired up favorites. That's pretty obvious. Figure out who's going to be overconfident, and...ideally...disinterested.
*Look for "lookahead" spots from anyone in the top 15...where they have a game NEXT week that really gets their juices flowing. Oklahoma may have been looking ahead to archrival Texas, deciding Iowa State could be a cakewalk. You can see what happens when a hot, "undefeated" team is ALSO caught in a look-ahead spot. They cool off real quick!
*Look for opposing underdogs who can score points. Frankly, this angle kept Iowa State out of my ROOT TRUST because the team struggled so badly to move the ball against Texas in the prior. I didn't have any faith in the Cyclones quarterback. Look at what happened once they switched to a new quarterback! You want explosive, versatile offenses that can outscore the opponent. We now know that Iowa State may have a chance to spring other shockers in league play against the likes of Oklahoma State, TCU, or West Virginia (though, they won't catch THOSE teams napping).
When some of those stars align, you have a "value" bet on an underdog. When they ALL align, or most align in emphatic fashion, you have a PINNACLE caliber bet for serious money.
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