Advanced College Football Betting Techniques
Last month, we wrote two pieces, here and here, on how to become a successful college football bettor. Today, let’s add to it with a few advanced techniques that will help assist you in producing a profitable season.
Pace – Bettors often associate pace with basketball totals but it can be utilized in football as well. Plays per game is a flawed way to judge a team’s pace. Take last year’s Utah State squad for example. The Aggies averaged 72.9 plays per game which is right at the national average. But our numbers show them to be well above average from a pace standpoint based on snap frequency. The reason is they were so efficient offensively (47.5 ppg, 6.84 ypp) and played in a number of blowouts where the fourth quarter was at times bogged down. Another way to grade a team’s pace is to put more weight on the first half as you generally have two team playing “all out” rather than a full game that can enter let’s-just-get-out-of-here mode. There are a number of up- and slow-tempo teams that a lot of bettors aren’t aware of because they look at the raw number of plays per game and final scores.
True Score – College football is well noted from producing a lot of skewed final scores. Non-offensive touchdowns, blowouts, and garbage points are just a few of many factors that can impact an outcome. We place a “true score” on every game by using a very common and basic formula of dividing 14.5 into each team’s total yardage. For example, if a team posts 500 yards of offense, that is worth roughly 35 points. A good example of this is last year’s Georgia Tech-USF game. The Bulls won 49-38 but the “true score” showed the Yellow Jackets to be 41-29 victors. With so many teams and games, it’s hard for bettors not to miss out outcomes that were not indicative of the majority of the play on the field. But with a little work, you can spot those USF-type outcomes. Ironically, after that win over Georgia Tech, USF won its next two games but never sniffed a point spead cover!
Yard Per Play Differential – This is fairly well accounted for in most point spreads but it remains another way to effectively gauge a team’s true quality defensively and offensively — especially when taking into account strength of schedule. Heading into last year’s Western Michigan-Toledo, the Broncos boasted a better (albeit not very impressive considering the competition) ypp differential in league play and were thus favored by -4.5 when the two teams met. However, WMU’s 4-0 MAC record was comprised of three close wins and a blowout over bottom feeder Central Michigan. Toledo meanwhile was 1-2 with a close loss to Eastern Michigan and a sound defeat vs. Buffalo who went on to win 10 games. The Rockets ended up hammering the Broncos, 51-24. And when looking at the season-long stats, Toledo outgained its MAC opponents by a healthy 0.5 ypp whereas WMU was actually outgained by -0.2 ypp. The Broncos, who had ripped off six straight wins, finished the season 1-4 SU/ATS including an embarrassing 49-18 loss to BYU in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Yet at the time of the Toledo game, which keep in mind took place in late October, Western Michigan was in the eyes of oddsmakers the better of the two teams.
Monitoring the Market – Every week there are seemingly easy winners that we miss. A lot of times this comes as a result of missing out on a good number. Anyone can sit in front of their odds screen and watch lines move. Understanding when and why they move is the key. If we see a game getting blasted over the total early in the week and that game goes on to win easily, we make sure to put a note on when this occurred as well as both teams that were involved — seasoned bettors will generally know which team had the biggest hand in the game going over the total. By doing that we know that the following week, there’s a strong likelihood that betting pattern will occur again. If our numbers agree, we know to bet the game as soon as possible or if we disagree, we’re more apt to wait until after the over money comes in. Accurately predicting the movements and patterns of the betting market can be just as important as predicting the outcome of games.
Bet First Halves – As mentioned earlier, the second halves of college football games can produce a lot of wild results. Your handicap can be perfect for 45 minutes only to see it derail in the fourth quarter. To help offset some of those random outcomes, it’s important to participate in first half wagering. If you are a winning college football bettor on full games, you’ll be so with first halves as well. In fact, your winning percentage may even be higher due to it being a more “true” atmosphere. It’s typically harder to get down as much volume on the first half vs. a full game but there is rarely a reason not to have some money invested on the first half of a game you also have a traditional wager on. Exceptions being that of distinct trends or missing out on a key number.
Over the last four seasons, Advantage Group has been one of the most successful college football services around. With a low volume, high winning percentage approach, AG has produced an unmatched (and documented!) 102-54 65% +72.5 unit record including 22-15 60% +13.0 units in 2018. Be sure to check out all of their subscription options for the upcoming 2019 campaign.