Preparing for the Season

College Football Betting Strategy: Preparing for the Season

By Loot, College Football Handicapper,

Preparing for the college football season is a daunting task. Players come and go all the time. Coaches who used to be locked in for years are now disposable commodities. And unlike the NFL, where there are a manageable 32 teams to follow, there are over 120 teams in Division I college football. Not to mention that to be a successful bettor in college football, you need to constantly adjust, staying a step ahead of the bookie and the general betting public. So preparing for the season takes a lot of time and work.

Not that you need to memorize 120-something rosters. You don’t determine if someone is good at college football wagering by asking them who the left guard is for Akron. But you know what conferences and teams you tend to bet more than others. So study up a little bit on those teams. And during the season, you’ll pick up more stuff. But don’t just show up at the book on the first college football Saturday and think you’re going to be able to wing it.

It’s a good idea to delve into the data before the season begins in order to make assessments. You’re trying to figure out which teams are poised for an upsurge and which squads might be more depleted than originally thought. Everyone notices when big-time quarterbacks or offensive skill players leave school, but get into it with more detail. There are other player losses that can resonate in a big way.

It is not abnormal for a coaching change to pump a lot of life into a team. Sure, a lot of typically bad teams remain bad regardless of who they bring into the fold. But sometimes, you can sense when a bright coach’s magic is about to take affect. Maybe a coach has been there a few years and had a chance to bring in several classes of recruits that fit his style of play and it’s due to take hold. Or maybe a coach who a big part of a team’s success moved on to another gig. Try to be early detecting these changes in form.


The landscape of college football is constantly changing. There are always teams that are typically good and bad, but that’s not how we judge teams as handicappers. We are not looking for general categories to neatly place teams. We know that within the vague terms “good” and “bad” are many variations. Knowing what those are is the difference between covering and not covering.

Now don’t forget to assess your own handicapping. It’s like a head coach evaluating his team in an effort to get better. He sees what the team did well and the areas in which they suffered. He saw the situations in which they thrived and where they didn’t fare so well. You do the same thing. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a college football bettor.

You need detailed records to make quality assessments. there are some general things that you will know about yourself that you need to correct. Perhaps you are willy-nilly with your winnings and look at it like the “house’ money.” Or maybe you get put on tilt when you lose an excruciating game or two. There might be some money management issues you need to amend.

But if you keep really good records, you will be able to make a more pointed analysis of your handicapping. Account for more than the basic details , like the amount you wagered, the teams, and what the spread was. Make notations that allow you to see why you won or lost the bet. Maybe you lost because a kicker missed an extra point. Maybe some circus play at the end cost you a win. Or maybe you over/underrated a particular aspect of the game.

Also make sure to list the opening and closing line and where you fell into that range. You want to know if you are getting good or bad value on your wagers. If the number you get averages out to being worse than the closing line, you are not getting the best value and you need to change that. But make sure to not rush to judgment. You need to build of a sample pool of hundreds of entries before being able to make concrete judgments. A smaller sample pool can perhaps suggest the beginning of a good or bad pattern, but make sure to not make adjustments based on insufficient data.