Momentum + Home Field Advantage

College Football Handicapping Advice: Dealing With Momentum and Home Field Advantage

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

In college football betting, momentum is of chief importance. It’s important to make the distinction between the NFL and college football in this regard. Think back to when you were young. If things are going well, you have a good feeling. Success begets more success. When you were in the dumps, sometimes you stayed there for too long. Inertia took over.

College football players may be ambitious, but they don’t have the professional obligation and wherewithal to soldier through the same turmoil that professionals endure. NFL players are playing for their livelihoods. They have families and a lot riding on how well they perform–individually and as a team.

In college football, guys are undoubtedly playing their tails off–make no mistake. You get an honest effort from most guys on the field. Not anyone can play Division I football so hats off to all the kids who make our Saturdays so enjoyable. But let’s face it, a lot of these kids are not as singularly-focused on football as guys in the NFL. Realistic collegiate players know the NFL is a pipe dream just from a percentage point-of-view. They have other options in life.


In the NFL, a team can go sour and actually come out of it to cover some spreads and even win some games. In college, however, a team that seems to be getting worse is always a bad sign. Even if the point-spread makes up for that, it’s hard to get behind a team that is circling the drain. Chances are just steeper against that team reversing form on a dime. It is just harder to reverse the negative inertia. And it works the other way too. Momentum in a positive direction can pump enough wind into the sails of a team to carry them all the way to bowl season.

Another key point is the way some bettors mishandle the home-field component. You might hear people discussing which team to bet on, saying they like a team on the basis of them being at home. Players might feel that they are getting some kind of built-in advantage by betting on the home team. We grow up knowing being at home is an advantage. So when placing wagers, it’s hard to not recall all the things we have been conditioned to think about football. College home crowds are frenetic. College kids are young. So the advantages of playing at home can’t really be overstated.

That might all be true. But we’re not just picking winners, unless you’re betting exclusively on money lines. When a point-spread is involved, the home-field advantage is already accounted for. There is no observation that we might have about a team being at home that the bookmaker doesn’t know. They know a team is at home and exactly how important it is as a factor in the final result of a game.

So when you handicap a game, go in with the understanding that the home-field advantage has already been meted out by the bookie. If you say you like a team because they are at home, you are effectively saying that you feel the bookmaker undervalued the home-field advantage. Because the point-spread already made an allowance for the advantage you are basing your opinion on. Second-guessing the point-spread along these lines could be a faulty strategy. You’re never going to beat the bookie based on vague notions about what you think playing at home represents. You’ll just end up giving a team double-credit for being at home.

Let’s discuss one way to get a possible edge against the book. There aren’t many opportunities to get an edge on the house, but in college there is one move in particular that seems to give players an edge. Halftime betting provides the player a unique opportunity to go into a wager with more information than the book. Here’s an example. You’re at home watching the Eastern Michigan-Kent State game. Eastern Michigan was outplayed the entire first half. But they got a couple fluky red-zone turnovers, a weird special plays team or two, and they lead at the half, even though Kent State dominated most of the half.

You know it’s only a matter of time before Kent State turns their dominance of their opponent into actual points and you snatch them up at their second-half line of +2. See, you’ve been watching the game. What bookmaker has 60-something people working for him watching every game from every conference? Sometimes in more obscure conferences where no one is actually watching the game, you can see some soft halftime lines made by bookies going only off the first-half score, when that score is not really a true reflection of the game.

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Know Your Key Numbers – This is a fancy term for common margin of victory. It’s very important that you know these before placing your bets!

2017/2018 College Football Predictions – Odds for each team to win the college football playoff along with predictions of teams that have a legit shot of winning it all, including a longshot pick.

2017 Heisman Trophy Odds – Picks to Win – College football pundits are expecting either Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield to win the Heisman this year. Loot takes a look at these and other names that offer tremendous wagering value.


College Football Conferences – List of all NCAA football conferences including the teams that make up each conference.

Heisman Trophy Winners – A complete list of Heisman Trophy winners (college football’s best player award) in chronological order, dating back to 1935.

Famous College Football Coaches – Behind every great team is an even better coach. Check out Loot’s picks for the greatest of all-time.

Other Cool Sites

Bettorsworld College Football Picks – These guys have been online since the late 90’s and for good reason… They pick winners against the spread! Highly recommended!