How to Handicap College Football Games

Each Saturday there are over 40 college football games available to wager on. The odds are posted with options for the side, total, and money line selections, so there are over 120 wagers offered by sportsbooks. Many people get overwhelmed and just pick games that are most talked about by the television networks. Some other popular methods include betting on the local team or picking the winner in the primetime game on television. However, these methods do not typically lead to long term betting success, and they limit potential opportunities. I am going to discuss some of the ways that I like to dissect the weekend card before making my picks.

Finding an Upset

First, my favorite method is to look at the top 25 rankings and make a list of every possible team that could get upset. The AP and Coaches Top 25 rankings are far from the best 25 teams in the country. These polls are a joke, which is why ranked teams are routinely upset. Reporters know little to nothing about football, and some coaches have their graduate assistants fill out the rankings. Other coaches have hidden agendas when filling out their rankings, or they don’t care and spend less than 5 minutes on the poll. Another reason why this method is profitable is because many of these teams are average or over inflated. They might have gone through an easy stretch of games, played a cluster of weak opponents, etc. Now these ranked teams have become the hunted, facing teams hungry to upset the more publicized team. Last weekend, there were several ranked teams that lost outright. Fresno State, Connecticut, Auburn, Wisconsin, and Oregon all lost outright. In addition, Alabama and Kansas failed to cover against unranked opponents, but they were able to narrowly avoid the upset.

Home Underdogs

Another way to approach a card is to make a list of every home underdog and decide which teams are most capable of winning outright. Home teams in college football have a tremendous advantage, especially if they don’t even have to win the game outright to cash your card. There are a number of things that a team must have in order for a team to win on the road and cover the spread as a favorite. Strong quarterback play, a disciplined team, good coaching, and a solid defense are the things that a road favorite must have if they have a chance to cover. Most teams in college football don’t have all of those pieces. Boston College, Kansas, Maryland, and Auburn all failed to cover on the road as favorites. They all lack several of the key pieces to cover on the road as a favorite. Two out of the four teams even lost outright. Meanwhile, Texas, Penn State, and Oklahoma were all able to cover as road favorites because they are much stronger overall teams.

These examples are just two of the ways to approach a Saturday college football card, but these two methods will lead to profitable opportunities each week and all season long. The bottom line is don’t become overwhelmed with the number of games being offered. Use these two simple ways to break down the card and find excellent opportunities.

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