Many methods for condensing the number of available bets exist — some start by cutting out any game in which they have no knowledge or interest. Others start by cutting out all favored teams on the road — road favorites are notoriously bad wagers in college sports.
Because sportsbooks offer different odds, and because these point spreads and other odds references move around plenty during the week before the game, it is important to work an understanding of how any why these numbers move into any NCAA football strategy.
Why do these numbers move? A large number of different factors are involved; everything from player injuries, action from people in the betting market, and even changes to front-office staff or player rumors can affect the line.
The way a line move is just one more data point for bettors to work off of, and it also acts as an influence on how and when bettors act on a hunch. For example, bettors interested in an underdog may be wise to wait a few days to get the best price point. Since bookmakers want a balance of wagers on either side of a contest, bets on underdogs may come with better terms as the week progresses.
There is nothing wrong with placing a wager on a college football game without any prior knowledge — casual bets are fun, and not everyone has time to develop a betting strategy and research an entire league. Placing advantageous bets on college football teams requires work.
Thankfully, the games occur about a week apart, granting bettors additional time to collect and analyze data. In fact, looking for specific weaknesses and strengths among teams headed into a game is a decent way to micro-handicap. Consider the implications of a pass-happy Air Raid offense on the road against a team that struggles to score. Without looking any deeper, it seems like a wager on the first team is a sure thing.
But if that anemic home team offense is offset by a shut-down secondary, the outcome of the game looks totally different. You must be logged in to post a comment. If you find it, coaches can, too. But sandwiched in between was a relatively meaningless blip-on-the-radar against BYU in which Notre Dame was an easy point favorite. You can see where this is going. After kickoff, the Irish marched down the field and set up Kyle Brindza for the most predictable field goal ever missed.
The rest of the game was an exercise in sleepwalking with Notre Dame shutting down its engines after a tenuous first quarter lead. More egregiously, the Irish made Riley Nelson look like a serviceable quarterback. College football is highly situational. Better coaches with veteran squads are more equipped to handle the ebb and flow of a season, but no team is immune. College kids deal with let-downs and look-aheads the same way you handle your last workday before a long vacation. So, you get the idea.
Take a look at schedules and situations before blindly putting your faith behind a team that will steal your money. Throughout history, De Facto National Championship games have been far more exciting to watch and, in most cases, just as meaningful as the real thing. Think of them as make-believe Super Bowls for teams whose seasons are essentially over.
BYU entered that contest with a record of , which included two close losses earlier in the year to Utah and Boise State. Notre Dame, ever the target, was undefeated and, at the time, a darkhorse title contender. You can do the math. Or how a demoralized Arkansas team covered a Smith era.
Sometimes, a team just finds enough motivation to keep things interesting, and sometimes you can even see it coming. The moral of the story, again, is to pay attention to schedules and situations on both sides of a matchup. Quite the contrary, actually. If you see one of these coming, run for the hills and pick another game.
Every fall, Lisa and I get into a tense Twitter dispute over a random game with a double-digit point spread. As best I can tell, her logic involves picking underdogs simply because they are underdogs. Teams are only double-digit underdogs because they are notably worse than their opponents, or dealing with injuries, or playing Alabama, or being coached by Charlie Weis. The truth is that most point spreads are at least in the ballpark.
The odds of you finding a glitch in the college football Matrix are slim to none. Kentucky is going to get throttled. Do bet on a team like Arizona when it hosts UCLA in early November, because the Cats will have a dynamic offense that can go point-for-point with the Bruins and potentially win. Give yourself the best odds at success by siding with teams that have a legitimate shot.
Sorry Clemson fans. My prediction: Clemson knocks off Georgia to open its season and goes on a winning streak before laying an egg on the road against Maryland, one week after a huge game against Florida State.
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