Playing Conditions

College Football Betting: Playing Conditions

By Loot, College Football Handicapper,

When handicapping a game, there are a bunch of factors big and small that could very well affect the outcome of the game and your wager. In college football, this is especially critical. By the time a player gets to the NFL, he will have usually seen it all already. In college, there are young men experiencing certain things for the very first time.

A vast majority of college players are experiencing travel for the first time. They’re not only being forced to come out of their element, but they’re being thrown into the lion’s den. It can difficult for a young man to balance those rigors with keeping his head sharp for the game. This is where having an experienced squad can go a long way. After a few years, you start to get a hang of it.

But when you see a freshman QB from California getting his first start in game that looks like it’s taking place in the Yukon, there might be some growing pains there. And that is why it is important to pay close attention to the weather situation in the cities of teams you are betting on or against.

You can easily access the weather lowdown in any city on the Internet. Weathermen are wrong a lot of the time. But rarely will a snowstorm ensue if they’re predicting sunny and 75. The information is useful. Generally, you might reconsider your “over” inkling if sloshy weather is being predicted. Or you might hesitate to bet on the high-flying offensive team if they’re likely to encounter bad weather.

The opposite doesn’t necessarily apply, however. These weather considerations serve as possible hazards when thinking of betting on a team. It doesn’t mean to automatically take the opponent. Just because a team is at home and experienced to the weather doesn’t mean they will cover. Usually, the spread already reflects that. You can be sure any weather observation you might make has already been noticed by the books. It doesn’t mean take the second option, but just reconsider your first opinion if some of these issues arise in your handicapping of the game.

Surface is another key factor. Well-rounded teams can flourish on any playing surface. Others, however, have big swings in form depending on this factor. Teams even consider this is their recruiting. A team that plays its games on artificial turf might be a little thrown off on natural grass and the reverse also applies. Playing in an open-air stadium as opposed to a dome can offer a different look that might stymie a young kid a little bit. In road games, you want the playing conditions to match their home environment as much as possible.


College football is unique. Often times, the home crowds are far more passionate than in a typical NFL game. And even the pros can be rattled, so imagine what facing a rabid road throng can do to a group of youngsters. A lot of players rise above it, but there is no question that a road team can be rattled in games where the home fans are frothing. The timing can get thrown off. Assignments can be botched. False start calls can kill drives. The list goes on.

Study how the key players perform in road games that are problematic. See how running backs perform on different surfaces and in troublesome weather conditions. How does the QB do in different weather in a stressful road game? Does a secondary that shuts teams down at home fall apart in challenging road scenarios? Take these things under consideration.