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College Football Early Season Betting Strategies – by Edward (Handicapper.net)
Revised July 21st, 2010

Uncertainty = Bad lines


No major betting sport has as much year to year player and coaching staff turnover than college football.  There are always several new head coaches, even more new coordinators, and most importantly hundreds and hundreds of new players. The average Division 1 school will return only slightly more than half of their 22 starters from the previous year. No one, not even players and coaches themselves, know exactly how their teams will perform in live game situations. No position can escape the player turnover. There will be just as many new quarterbacks seeing time this year as new centers, running backs, and safeties. JC transfers and freshman will be asked to fill major roles in their first year. Unknown backups that made huge strides in the off-season will be poised for stardom, while many others will disappoint. Meanwhile, new coaches will be implementing new schemes & strategies. New coordinators in particular can have a major effect on early season totals depending on their philosophies. It is this time of the season, namely the first three weeks, that the oddsmakers will have the most difficult time putting out accurate numbers. While it may be difficult to figure out which game spreads are off, just being aware that these will be the weakest lines of the season can give you an advantage.

Halftime Wagering


Halftime Wagering is one of my favorite and most effective early season betting strategies. First, it is important to know how half-time lines are determined. They come from a combination of the original full game line and the first half score. Only in major television games does it matter what is actually happening in the game when it comes to the opening second half line. No sportsbook, or odds service for that matter, can keep an eye on what is going in every college game on a given Saturday. This allows handicappers an opportunity to have a significant advantage over the sportsbook in certain situations. Since many early season games are going to have a bad opening line to begin with, and the halftime line itself is partly determined from the opening line, it is a given that the second half lines will often be soft. It is a good idea to identify key unknowns before the game, such as the ability of a new quarterback or which team will control the line of scrimmage.  Often times these question marks can be answered in the first half and enable you to make a much more informed decision on a second half wager than you were able to before the game. Often times you will need luck, such as a close halftime score despite one team clearly outplaying the other. It may take some time to get used to, but second half wagering can be very rewarding, particularly early on in the season.

More tips: Be sure to use a sportsbook that offers second half lines on all NCAA games and always use more than one book to shop for the best line. Because you are betting on a half and not a full game, ½ points and key numbers are even more significant than usual. Always get your plays in as early as possible because the lines move fast and early money is usually on the right side. The Greek, 5Dimes, and Bookmaker are ideal for college sports halftime betting.

Money Line Underdogs


Every year with no exception there are going to be surprise teams and disappointing teams in college football. There are going to be upsets! If you like an underdog of 10 points or less, consider playing a portion of your wager on the money line.  Split your wager in half for smaller spreads (5 or less) while putting 10-20% of your wager on the money line for the bigger spreads.  Money line wagers have inherent value because teams are always trying to actually win the game, not cover a spread. This strategy is something to consider in all college underdog wagers, but even more so early on in the season.

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