50 top head-to-head college football trends for your ’23 calendar
A piece of information I utilize each week to prepare my college football wagering list is the head-to-head series trends between opponents. In my opinion, certain opponents consistently bring out the best or worst in teams. There are also certain rivalries in which home-field advantage means a ton or nothing. That’s just the nature of the series. I found 50 of the more intriguing head-to-head series trends that will be impacting the 2023 CFB season. Feel free to pin these to your calendar and jump on them when they arise because, trust me, many, or perhaps even most of them will continue.
Saturday, September 2, 2023
Ohio State at INDIANA
Trend: Over the total has converted in the last six matchups
Ohio State has put up some lofty scoring totals over the last six years versus Indiana, averaging 50.2 points per game while topping the 40-point mark each time out. While the Buckeyes have some personnel losses to deal with on offense to start ’23, they should still hang a good number on the Hoosiers’ inexperienced defense here.
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Iowa at IOWA STATE
Trend: Under the total is 14-4 in this rivalry since 2004
The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry typically brings out the fight in both teams, and the offenses seem to have to scratch and claw for points. That said, the 2011 and 2017 games were 44-41 finals. Could 2023 continue that unusual pattern?
North Texas at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Trend: Favorites have won the last seven games both SU and ATS
The North Texas-FIU game on September 9th might not be the first one that grabs your attention in Week 2, but it has produced a noteworthy trend in which favorites have dominated. In fact, despite five of these last seven games showing lines of 10 points or fewer, all but one of them was decided by 15 points or more.
Saturday, September 16, 2023
South Carolina at GEORGIA
Trend: Road teams are 5-2 SU and 7-0 ATS since 2016
Count me among the group of prognosticators believing that South Carolina is headed in the right direction under Shane Beamer. This game at Georgia will go a long way in determining if there is any merit to that argument. Road teams have thrived in the series. Can the Gamecocks keep the trend going in Athens?
Friday, September 22, 2023
Wisconsin at PURDUE
Trend: Wisconsin has gone 9-0 SU and ATS in its last nine trips to Purdue
An intriguing Friday night contest finds a new look Wisconsin facing its first Big Ten test of the season at Purdue. Old Wisconsin always seemed to take care of business in West Lafayette. Can the Badgers continue to do so under head coach Luke Fickell?
Saturday, September 23, 2023
SMU at TCU
Trend: Road teams have won the last eight games ATS
TCU reached the national championship game last year but has to replace a ton of production in 2023. After having already faced Colorado and Houston, this game versus SMU might prove to be the toughest test to date, as road teams have won the last eight games against the spread in the head-to-head series. SMU is among the favorites in the AAC and won outright in its most recent two trips to Fort Worth.
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Georgia at AUBURN
Trend: Georgia is on a 9-1 ATS run versus Auburn, including 6-0 SU and ATS in the last six games
In the leadup to this game, it will probably be stated that this will be a big test for the two-time defending national champs. It is one of Georgia’s two cross-divisional SEC games. However, the Bulldogs have had their way with the Tigers of late, with five of the last six games being decided by 17 points or more. Don’t be afraid to lay what figures to be a smaller number than usual by Georgia standards.
Alabama at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Trend: Under the total is 20-5 in this series since 1998, including 11-1 in Starkville
Simply put, the Alabama defense usually dominates Mississippi State’s offense. In fact, in the last five head-to-head meetings, the Bulldogs have scored just 22 points, not per game. That’s total. Furthermore, in the last 10 games at Starkville, MSU has scored just 8.0 points per game. The Tide defense has been suffocating, and with that unit expected to be the stronger one in 2023, why should this trend change?
Pittsburgh at VIRGINIA TECH
Trend: Pittsburgh is on a 13-2 ATS run versus Virginia Tech
The annual game versus Virginia Tech has been one of the most rewarding for Pittsburgh since joining the ACC back in 2013. The Panthers are 8-2 ATS in this series as conference mates and were 5-0 ATS beforehand. The last three games have been resounding wins for Pitt by a combined score of 120-50.
LSU at OLE MISS
Trend: Home teams are on a 9-1 ATS run in this series
LSU is looking for a second straight SEC West Division crown, and to get it, they’ll probably have to survive this tough contest in Oxford. The Tigers are just 2-3 outright in their last five visits to the Grove, and overall, this has been a series dominated by hosts.
South Carolina at TENNESSEE
Trend: Underdogs are 6-5 SU and 9-1-1 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head games
I wrote a bit earlier about South Carolina trending upward under Beamer. This will be another big test for the Gamecocks to prove that is true. Tennessee has lost a lot of production but is still commanding respect. With underdogs historically competing well in this series and even pulling several outright upsets, could this be a game the Vols get tripped up?
Saturday, October 7, 2023
Maryland at OHIO STATE
Trend: Over the total has converted in the last eight matchups
The first trend I discussed in this article found Ohio State lighting up the Indiana defense with regularity. The numbers have been even more dramatic against Maryland, with the Buckeyes putting up a whopping 57.4 points per game in head-to-head play since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014. The result has been all Over in the games between the teams.
Arkansas at OLE MISS
Trend: Arkansas is on a 9-1 ATS run versus Ole Miss
The recent head-to-head series between Arkansas and Ole Miss has been captivating, with seven of the last 12 games being decided by five points or fewer. Most of the time, the Rebels have been favored, as they are expected to be this season. Most of the time, it’s the Razorbacks getting the job done against the number.
Washington State at UCLA
Trend: Underdogs are on runs of 6-0 ATS, 10-2 ATS, and 12-3 ATS in this rivalry
Washington State and UCLA haven’t squared off since 2019, but the matchups used to occur more frequently, and when they did, it was dog domination. In the most recent matchup, UCLA pulled a 67-63 upset as an 18.5-point dog in Pullman.
Texas State at LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
Trend: Louisiana-Lafayette has gone 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS versus TSU since 2013
Louisiana-Lafayette has offered up a pretty rude welcome to Texas State since the latter joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won all 10 of the head-to-head matchups outright while failing to cover just once. The average margin of victory has been 23.7 points per game.
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Kansas at OKLAHOMA STATE
Trend: Favorites are on 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS run in this series
For those of you thinking that this trend would for sure favor Oklahoma State every year because of Kansas’ brutal recent history, consider that the Jayhawks turned the tables on the Cowboys last season, winning 37-16 as 3-point chalk. There hasn’t been a game decided by closer than 18 points in this head-to-head series since 2014.
Wyoming at AIR FORCE
Trend: Wyoming is 11-2 ATS in their last 13 versus Air Force
An experienced Wyoming team has its sights set on getting to a Mountain West championship contest this season, and if they are to do so, this game against Air Force will be a crucial one. Recent history shows that this has been a favorable series for the Cowboys, and a second straight upset for head coach Craig Bohl’s team could do wonders.
UCLA at OREGON STATE
Trend: UCLA is on a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS run at Oregon State
Oregon State is considered an outside contender in the Pac-12 this season, and like UCLA, will need to take care of the games outside of USC/Oregon/Utah/etc. to reach its goals. The Beavers have struggled recently when hosting the Bruins, however, having lost six straight ATS, including a 41-0 decision in the most recent matchup in 2015.
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Utah at USC
Trend: Over the total is 8-1 in the last nine of this series
This game figures to be one of the premier matchups in the Pac-12 all season long, and fans can only hope for a game as thrilling as the regular season duel these teams put on a year ago when Utah edged USC 43-42. That game, and the latter one in the Pac-12 title contest, continued a recent trend of high-scoring clashes between these rivals.
Duke at FLORIDA STATE
Trend: Florida State is on an 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS run versus Duke
If Florida State fulfills its promise as a favorite to reach the ACC title game in December, surely there will be experts looking at this game against Duke as a potential landmine type of contest, as the upstart Blue Devils surprised a lot of teams last season. However, FSU wasn’t one of them. In fact, the Seminoles have dominated head-to-head play, winning 20 straight matchups, and only once was the score decided by fewer than 19 points.
Arizona State at WASHINGTON
Trend: Arizona State is on an incredible 13-2 SU and 14-1 ATS run against Washington
I thought last year would be the year that Washington finally overcame Arizona State’s dominance, but no sir. An expectedly overmatched Sun Devils team pulled a massive upset of the Huskies, winning 45-38 as 13.5-point home dogs. Washington figures to be an even bigger favorite at home this time around. Can Washington get this monkey off their back?
Central Michigan at BALL STATE
Trend: Road teams are 13-3 SU and 14-2 ATS in this rivalry
Central Michigan plays to a number of huge head-to-head series trends each year, some of which you have yet to see. In this one, we find road teams dominating their MAC series with Ball State, not only against the spread but outright as well. There have been six upsets by road underdogs among these 16 contests.
Utah State at SAN JOSE STATE
Trend: Utah State has won 10 straight versus San Jose State while going 9-1 ATS
Utah State has been marginally better as a program overall than San Jose State dating back to 2009, the year this trend started, but that doesn’t come close to explaining the dominance in head-to-head play. The Aggies' offense has fattened its’ numbers against the Spartans, scoring 43.2 points per game in these last 10 matchups.
Ole Miss at AUBURN
Trend: Auburn is on an 11-3 SU and 10-2-2 ATS run against Ole Miss
I explained earlier that, for whatever reason, some teams just fare better against certain opponents, regardless of the perceived level of the programs. Auburn and Ole Miss have been comparable-level teams in recent years, yet the Tigers dominate the Rebels in head-to-head play. That said, Ole Miss was a pretty heavy favorite (-15) last year, and Auburn got the scratch cover 34-48. Could that decision propel head coach Lane Kiffin’s team to just its third ATS win in the series since 2009 this fall?
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Arkansas State at LOUISIANA-MONROE
Trend: Arkansas State is on a 13-game SU and ATS winning streak in this series
Even though the teams meet on the football field every season, it has been 14 years since Louisiana-Monroe beat Arkansas State. Making matters much worse, the Warhawks haven’t even covered a point spread in that time span! How improbable has this run been by Arkansas State? Well, 10 of the 13 games showed lines of 10 points or less, so theoretically, Louisiana-Monroe should have been far more competitive.
Florida State at WAKE FOREST
Trend: The last eight games in this series went Under the total
When you think of recent seasons of Florida State and Wake Forest, the term defensive battle wouldn’t have typically come to mind when analyzing the head-to-head games between the teams. In fact, the last three matchups have all shown totals in the 60s and have averaged 66.3. Even still, all three final scores came up at least 14 points short. No matter how enticing an Over looks when this matchup comes around, make these teams prove they can play that type of game.
Tennessee at KENTUCKY
Trend: Tennessee is on an 8-1 ATS run at Kentucky
A year ago, Tennessee throttled Kentucky in their head-to-head game, winning 44-6 in Knoxville. Many experts will look at this year’s game as a chance for payback for the Wildcats and, as such, a dangerous contest for head coach Josh Heupel’s Vols. That said, Tennessee has played well in Lexington, winning eight of the last nine against the number.
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Northern Illinois at CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Trend: Central Michigan is on an 8-1 ATS run in this series, winning six times outright as an underdog
I mentioned before that several Central Michigan head-to-head trends would be worthy of your attention this season. Here is a good one for Tuesday night MAC-tion bettors, as it finds the Chippewas a difficult foe for NIU. The Huskies are most often favored in the rivalry, but it is CMU that most often comes out on top, including six of the last nine times as the underdog.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Hawaii at NEVADA
Trend: The last 10 games of the Hawaii-Nevada series have gone Under the total
Hawaii and Nevada are two programs that very few college football bettors equate with Unders on totals. However, when the teams have gotten together over the last decade, every one of their head-to-head matchups has gone Under. This is despite half of those games having totals in the 60s. It should be noted that the losing teams in these games have averaged just 16.4 points per game.
Texas-San Antonio at NORTH TEXAS
Trend: Home teams are on a 9-1 ATS surge in this rivalry
This is quite an interesting trend between in-state rivals, and if it continues in 2023, the result could have a big impact on the American Athletic Conference race, as UTSA is expected to be one of the frontrunners. A North Texas win would likely be an upset at this point in the season.
SMU at RICE
Trend: Rice is on a 10-1 ATS run versus SMU, including covering the last seven games
I have shared Rice as one of my favorite win total Over bets for the season, and if the Owls are to be as improved as I have envisioned, proving it in a game versus in-state rival SMU is a must. While these teams haven’t met since 2012, when their regular annual series last left off, at the time, Rice owned SMU.
South Florida at MEMPHIS
Trend: Road teams are 8-0-1 ATS in the last nine non-neutral USF-Memphis matchups
South Florida is a team that I have felt has a chance to take a step forward this season, as the program has struggled mightily in recent years. For the Bulls to get better, they will need to compete in games on the road against upper-level AAC teams like Memphis. Recent series history suggests USF will do so in this contest.
Kentucky at MISSISSIPPI ST
Trend: Home teams are on a 9-0 ATS streak in this series
This cross-divisional SEC rivalry game has been played every year since 1990. It has been a series dominated by home teams. In fact, the last road team to win outright in the series was MSU back in 2014. It’s been 15 years since Kentucky won in Starkville. I don’t see a whole lot of reasons things would change this fall.
Boise State at FRESNO STATE
Trend: Underdogs are on a 9-1 ATS run in Boise St-Fresno St rivalry
One of the fastest emerging rivalries in the Mountain West Conference, Boise State and Fresno State have squared off multiple times in three of the last six seasons, meaning they met both in the regular season and in the league title game. This includes last year. Underdogs typically do very well in this series, pulling outright upsets five times in the 10 games of this trend.
Oklahoma at OKLAHOMA ST
Trend: Oklahoma has gone 13-4-1 ATS versus Oklahoma State since 2005
The Bedlam Battle for bragging rights in the state of Oklahoma between the Sooners and Cowboys has been pretty one-sided of late, with the last OSU outright win coming in 2014. OU has scored 28 points or more in every game since 2011, averaging 41.9 points per game.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Central Michigan at WESTERN MICHIGAN
Trend: Road teams are on a 10-0-1 ATS streak in this rivalry
Yet another definitive Central Michigan head-to-head trend comes into focus, and again it favors the Chippewas in the matchup. If these patterns continue in ’23, perhaps CMU could be one of the surprise teams of the MAC. Something to note, besides the 10-0-1 ATS record, visitors are 9-2 outright in these games.
Friday, November 10, 2023
North Texas at SMU
Trend: Favorites have won the last nine SU and ATS in this series
SMU has appeared a few times on this head-to-head trend as well, and it seems the trends always come in games against in-state rivals. For the recent history against North Texas, favorites have dominated. I would assume at this point that the Mustangs will be favored in this mid-November Friday night contest, but you can’t be too sure till game week arrives.
Saturday, November 11, 2023
Tulsa at TULANE
Trend: Favorites are on a 17-1 SU and ATS run in this rivalry
Regarding success rates and R.O.I., this favorite trend in the Tulsa-Tulane series is the season's No. 1 head-to-head trend. Favorites have absolutely dominated the head-to-head action, with the only underdog victory of the set coming in Tulane’s 2014 home upset win. Keep in mind none of the last 10 games had lines higher than 10.5 points, and assuming things go as expected in 2023, Tulane should be a double-digit home favorite in this year’s matchup.
Michigan State at OHIO STATE
Trend: Ohio State has won its last six ATS versus Michigan State
Anyone hoping that Ohio State gets tripped up in the weeks prior to the big Michigan rivalry tilt should probably reconsider, as teams like Rutgers, Minnesota, and perhaps most surprisingly, Michigan State haven’t exactly challenged the Buckeyes. In fact, in the last six games, all decided by 20 points or more, OSU has outscored the Spartans by 27.8 points per game.
Baylor at KANSAS ST
Trend: Road teams are on a 7-0 ATS streak in this Big 12 rivalry
This game could prove to be a big one in terms of fringe contenders for the 2023 Big 12 title game. If so, recent history suggests it will be advantage Baylor, as road teams hold a 4-3 outright advantage in this time span, with two of the losses coming by three points or fewer. The last five games in Manhattan have also gone Under the total.
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Texas at IOWA STATE
Trend: The last eight games of this rivalry went Under the total
Sandwiched in between games at TCU and versus Texas Tech, this contest at Iowa State immediately stands out as a potential landmine game in Texas’ quest to play in the Big 12 title contest. The Longhorns will need to score better than they have in recent head-to-head action, as they have only averaged 17.5 points per game on ISU in the eight games of this trend, including just 11.3 points per game in Ames.
East Carolina at NAVY
Trend: Navy is on a seven-game SU and ATS winning streak versus. East Carolina
Considering that East Carolina has been at least as good, if not better, than Navy in the years that this trend encompasses (since 2012), you’d have to think that it stems from the Navy system presenting a bad matchup for the Pirates. Even last year, when ECU hosted the Midshipmen as 16.5-point favorites, the latter came out on top, 23-20.
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Ole Miss at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Trend: Under the total is 9-1 in the last 10 games of the Egg Bowl series
I believe there is something to the concept that the fiercest rivalries bring out the most pride in teams’ defensive efforts. Neither defensive unit wants to be embarrassed by the rival’s offense. Such is the case in the Baltimore-Pittsburgh NFL series, and it is the case in the Egg Bowl college football rivalry between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Despite lofty totals averaging 62.2, nine of the last 10 meetings have gone Under.
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Alabama at AUBURN
Trend: Home teams are on a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS run in the Iron Bowl rivalry
There are very few rivalries in college football that compare to the Iron Bowl series between Alabama and Auburn. These teams and fan bases hate each other, and every season’s annual game is a monumental affair. Well, lately, playing at home in the contest has been quite advantageous, with hosts on a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS run. Does Auburn have what it takes to give Alabama a scare this season? Or even pull an upset? Recent history suggests it will.
Georgia at GEORGIA TECH
Trend: Georgia has won 12 straight ATS at Georgia Tech
Anyone hoping Georgia will trip up in its final game before a probable SEC title game appearance should think again, as the Bulldogs own rival Georgia Tech and still take the game seriously, despite the obvious talent difference lately.
Louisiana-Monroe at LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
Trend: Underdogs are 18-5 ATS in this rivalry since 2000
This is a bit of an underrated rivalry in college football. When road teams and underdogs dominate series trends, the rivalry is probably pretty fierce. Prior to last year’s ULM 21-17 home upset, road teams were on an 18-1 ATS run. Obviously, that trend is still powerful.
Wisconsin at MINNESOTA
Trend: Underdogs are 12-4 ATS in the Paul Bunyan Axe rivalry series since 2007
The Wisconsin-Minnesota border battle has been a fierce rivalry over the years and has picked up intensity of late, as both teams seem to be regularly in the running for the Big Ten West Division title. In all likelihood, that will be the case once again in 2023. Expect the underdog to put up an intense fight.
Ohio State at MICHIGAN
Trend: The last nine games of this rivalry have gone Over the total
The enormity of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry has grown in recent years as the teams have added regular national title implications to the already high stakes. The games of recent years have drawn even more fans in as well as they have been offensively explosive contests, with the last four producing 80.3 points per game. Nine straight Overs can definitely enhance a rivalry’s appeal.
California at UCLA
Trend: Under the total is 9-0-1 in the last 10 games of this series
A lot of bettors make the mistake of believing that blowout games lead to Overs since one team will score a bunch of points. The real truth is that blowouts most often cause games to slow down, particularly in rivalries, where leading teams just want to get the game over with their players intact. In the current 9-0-1 Under trend of the California-UCLA series, seven of the games have been decided by double-digits, and again, despite lofty average totals posted, these games fail to reach their offensive potential.
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Navy at ARMY
Trend: Under the total is 16-1 in the last 17 games of this rivalry but lost last year
This is the only trend I’ve posted in this article in which the most recent game was a loser on the trend. Last year’s Army-Navy contest featured a total of 32.5, easily the lowest in the modern-day era of the rivalry. Army won the game 20-17, putting to rest a 16-game streak of Unders. Does that mean we will start seeing a plethora of scoring in the series? I doubt it.