Sometimes a bad scheduling spot can be enough of an equalizer to not only help a team cover the spread but sometimes even pull the outright upset. The talent gaps in college football can be quite wide, but a lack of focus and preparation can narrow the chasm.
We saw examples of some bad situational spots come through last week. Many were stunned to see Fresno State nearly lose to UNLV, but the Bulldogs were in an awful spot off the UCLA win. Fresno State was more than a 30-point favorite and won by only eight.
Western Michigan was a small home favorite against a San Jose State team that had gone to Hawaii for a conference game the previous week. The Spartans managed just 119 total yards in a 23-3 loss in Kalamazoo.
BYU, a team that had beaten three straight Pac-12 opponents to open the season, edged USF by eight points as a 23.5-point favorite. The Cougars were off those three huge Power 5 games and had Utah State on deck in a rivalry game.
We saw Florida as another example with a slow start against Tennessee, though the Gators eventually covered the full game with a stop on the final play.
Situational spots aren’t designed to be sole justifications for making a bet. They are designed to be part of the handicapping process to determine whether it can be the tipping point for making a pick.