Listening to handicap pros, and even the guys on ESPN’s “College GameDay,” you hear the term “revenge game” a lot, as if playing against a team you lost last season, or even earlier in the current season, it’s an automatic motivator.
Revenge will certainly be in the spotlight this week when Alabama takes on Texas A&M. While the revenge angle can be a valuable thing, and coaches are sure to take advantage of it when they get the chance, I can tell you that in my 20+ years of playing college football, I’ve come across very little in terms of reliable angles involving revenge. . That said, the last time I delved into the subject was about three years ago and, as always, things can and do change. Since the conference started in earnest last week, I thought now was a good time to check out the database and study revenge.
I wanted to study only recent losses, as I think the motivation to avenge a loss dissipates over time. Thus, the only games I count as “revenge games” in this report are when a team lost to an opponent in the previous season, or in some cases prior to that season (think conference championship games or championship games). college football playoffs). Anything beyond that means nothing in this study.
With that in mind, I set up my database to look at every FBS revenge game over the last six seasons (since the start of the 2016 season). I thought this would give us a large enough sample size, even for teams that lose only one or two games per season. The sample size of my database ended up being 2,894 games.
As a summary of what I found from looking at these 2,894 games since 2016, teams in revenge mode have only had 1,118-1,776 SU (38.6%) and 1,435-1,401-58 ATS (50.6%). Clearly, there is no obvious strategy to play with that data, as the teams in revenge mode are usually the minor teams, so it makes sense for them to lose more games outright, and the point spread advantage doesn’t cover the game. .
My first thought that came to mind is that the better teams are probably better at revenge points, and vice versa. I’ll take a closer look at all of that later when I reveal eight different revenge betting systems that have worked pretty well in recent years, but for now, let’s look specifically at team-by-team revenge betting records, sorted by ATS records.
Looking at the FBS Revenge Mode team chart from 2016, one thing becomes pretty obvious right off the bat: Some of the best and most consistent shows in recent years have the best revenge records. Until this season, Wisconsin (9-2 SU and 9-2 ATS in revenge mode) was a very consistent program that was disciplined and won games playing their style of football. We’ll see if that changes with interim coach Jim Leonhard. If you’re wondering, Wisconsin’s only revenge game this season is the final against Minnesota at home. That game comes with a lot of motivation for both teams and often has implications for the Big Ten West Division title.
Alabama’s only scheduled revenge game this season comes this week against Texas A&M. The Tide often talk openly about their vengeful mentality before games like this, so I’m assuming we’ll hear more before Saturday. In Alabama’s five revenge games since 2016, Nick Saban’s team is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS and has outscored the opposition 221-100.
(One key point: The data I captured doesn’t include last week’s games, and one of the best rematch teams in the country added another win to its record as Utah defeated Oregon State 42-16.)
Ohio State is among the worst revenge teams in recent years, though it’s a very small sample size as OSU rarely loses. Ryan Day’s team has avenged all three losses in the show, but only covered once (two of their rematch wins were wins by one point). Keep that in mind when Michigan travels to Columbus for the season finale.
Some other notable teams on the lower end of the revenge list include Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Boise State, Ole Miss, Iowa, Florida, and Tennessee. The Volunteers are on the hunt for a spot in the CFP, but have revenge games with remaining Alabama and Georgia.
Of the truly terrible teams that rarely deserve your betting consideration, UMass has shown little ability to avenge losses, going 1-12 SU and 3-10 ATS in our sample. The Minutemen have three revenge spots left this season if you’re looking to fade them: Saturday vs. Liberty, Oct. 29 vs. New Mexico State and Nov. 26 vs. Army. However, the data didn’t capture UMass’s points win against Eastern Michigan last week, leaving the Minutemen 4-10 ATS since 2016.
Find your favorite teams to bet on or against from the list and use these findings to help confirm your thoughts.
revenge betting systems
One of the first things you’ll want to understand is that home teams in rematch spots have covered less than visiting and neutral field teams over the last 6+ seasons. This goes against any kind of logical thinking. Here are the records by location of the revenge-seeking teams since 2016:
At home: 691-837 SU and 733-765-30 ATS (48.9%)
Neutral fields: 34-50 SU and 50-33-1 ATS (60.2%)
In the path: 393-889 SU and 652-603-27 ATS (52.0%)
As you can see, there is over a 3% advantage against the spread for revenge teams playing away compared to home. The advantage of supporting neutral field teams is more than 11% higher. That brings us to our first revenge system.
1. Since the start of the 2016 season, neutral-field underdogs playing revenge mode have gone 38-22 ATS (63.3%).
Often these are teams that play in conference championship games or bowl games. Some major rivalry games are also played on neutral grounds. In all cases, the underdogs are usually solid teams that are motivated as much by the revenge aspect as they are by being the underdogs.
2. Teams playing big underdogs at home in revenge games have been almost automatic covers, as those who catch 30 or more points have gone 1-16 SU but 15-2 ATS (88.2%) in their last 17 games .
Whether motivated by revenge, fear of embarrassment at home, or perhaps even pity from the much better opponent down the road, these revenge-minded house dogs compete better than expected. You have to realize that most of these revenge games are conference games, and there aren’t many instances where I bet more than 30 points with an away team in conference games.
3. Double-digit favorites on the road have been solid producers in the revenge role, going 42-28 ATS (60%) since 2016.
What kind of teams end up being double-digit favorites on the road in revenge games? Considering that most of these games are conference games, usually the best teams in the country. Add the fuel of being motivated by revenge, and you’ll usually see decisive victories.
4. Teams trying to avenge outright losses as double-digit favorites have struggled, going just 71-93 ATS (43.3%) since 2016.
5. In a subset of No. 4, teams trying to avenge outright losses in which they were double-digit favorites — and that loss ruined a then-undefeated season — have gone 7-20 ATS (25.9%).
These are two systems that go against the logic that better teams are better at rematch venues. They were double-digit favorites last time out against the opponent, but still lost outright. In the case of No. 5, it was a crushing loss that ruined a special season. These teams have not responded as expected.
6. Teams seeking revenge and having at least four more wins on the season than their opponent have been very successful, going 70-12 SU and 54-25-3 ATS (68.4%) since 2016.
The important thing to recognize in this system is that we are talking about the here and now. The revenge-seeking team is having a much better season than the opponent who lost the previous season. That’s a perfect time to get revenge.
7. The best defensive teams are more successful at revenge than prolific offensive teams. Since the start of the 2016 season, teams allowing 24 PPG or less have gone 489-436 ATS (52.9%). Those who have scored 35 PPG or more have gone 308-339 ATS (47.6%).
These records don’t seem as definitive as the previous systems mentioned, but the variance in point difference between good defenses and good offenses is still over 5% and this is a much larger sample size. Shutting down opponents is one more essential ingredient to gaining revenge.
8. Teams seeking revenge against opponents who allow 35 PPG or more in the season have been very successful, going 188-140 ATS (57.3%) since 2016.
This one is pretty straightforward. For some reason, Team A lost to Team B last time, most likely unexpectedly. Before the revenge game, Team B is really fighting defensively. This is an ideal time for revenge, and more often than not these teams win and cover.