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This offseason there was a media debate going as to which conference is tops in college football – the ACC or the SEC? 

The only real answer I care about is which one is best in betting terms so I asked our data team to dig into the betting records for non-conference play. Turns out it’s the ACC in recent seasons and it’s not really all that close. 

The ACC covered the spread at a 54.4 percent rate over the past five years vs non-league foes and a 53.3 percent rate over the last 10 years. The next best conference over the past five years was the MAC (Mid-American) at 52.6 percent and the Big 12 was actually better over the past 10 years at 55.3 percent. 

I feel the more recent numbers are the more relevant ones because you still have some of the same core teams together from the past five years. A lot can change — and has changed — in college football when we go back as far as 10 years but I put the numbers in there for your reference anyway. 

The most surprising numbers for me were with the SEC, which is the worst bet over the last five years with a 46 percent cover rate in non-con play. It’s surprising because the SEC is the second-best straight up with a winning rate of 84.1 percent. Only the Pac-12 is better at 85.1 percent. 

This is clear evidence that SEC lines tend to be inflated when it comes to non-conference games and it’s something you may want to keep in mind heading into the season. I also think we’ll see less value overall in the ACC this non-conference season coming off a national championship year. 

Below is a more complete list of numbers by conference:

College Football Non-Conference Records
Conference L5 years SU L5 years ATS L10 years SU L10 years ATS
ACC 185-71 135-112-8 343-145 229-201-10
SEC 212-40 115-135 393-86 218-220-2
Big 12 108-32 71-69 277-75 176-142-2
Big Ten 182-58 118-118-4 345-111 204-215-4
Pac-12 137-24 87-81-3 235-89 158-148-3
MAC 107-145 133-118-1 195-316 246-230-2
Sun Belt 101-129 117-109-4 147-270 199-223-5
Mountain West 107-125 102-111-6 208-201 178-197-9
AAC 117-95 104-104-4 254-155 186-186-6
Independent 108-110 102-114-2 195-200 177-202-7
Conference USA 96-163 121-132-5 191-307 217-243-7

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark