College Football Handicapping Tips

College Football Handicapping Tips: Things to Watch out for

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,


Fatigue is an element we need to account for when breaking down college football games. College players battle with this from a mental and physical standpoint. Think about high school players. They travel short distances and it’s not terribly taxing, especially compared to the gigantic leap they take when moving into the world of big-time college athletics. Surely, everyone has wondered how these guys do it. Taking a full slate of classes with all the practices and games, many of which require travel, seems like a tall order. And sometimes, it’s too much for a young kid.

After several games have been played, look for the presence of mental and physical fatigue. It can happen all at once. It can be present with just a few players or it can even become a team-wide dynamic. Try to time it right. Look for things like a series of tough and taxing games. Or a team that is on the road for a few weeks in a row, especially if those games require a lot of travel.

Young dynamos from the high school ranks will be facing these trials for the first time. You will start to see corners getting a late jump. Good running backs will begin to get heavy-legged. A quarterback’s arm might deaden a bit. Defensive ends stop exploding on the snap. When we look at the results, we tend to focus exclusively on the score and perhaps some vital stats. We need to look outside the box scores.

This is why it is important to watch the games. The score doesn’t reveal how taxing a game was. Some games require a team or certain key players to leave a lot on the field. It won’t turn up in the box score. Sure, you can see if a running back carried the ball 37 times. That could suggest fatigue. But a lot of this dynamic can’t be seen merely with a statistical appraisal. Watching the game will let you see the hits, the effort, and overall toll that a team or player might have taken in a game.

It’s just that we bet on a lot of teams without really having seen them play recently. We see a score and accept it at face-value. Then we wonder why they don’t perform up to expectations. A possible reason is that a game we didn’t see sapped that team of its vitality and we came in on a bad spot.

The Power Of Independent Thought

We need to stand on our own as bettors to some degree. If you look at all the legends in any area of life, one common thread is that they cut against the grain. They are not interested in being part of a consensus. They are not sheep in the herd. They forge their own path. You can say this applies to college football bettors, as well. After years and years, many bettors come and go. The guys who manage to thrive over the course of years are guys who blaze their own trail.

In other words, successful bettors are not guys who typically side with the general betting public. In a bet with only two possible outcomes, it is entirely possible that they will side with the consensus from time-to-time, but they definitely do not find comfort in siding with the public. First of all, the consensus bettors are usually the ones getting the shaft in the value department. Bookies see a bunch of bets pouring in on one side and move the line, making it a less attractive bet.

But beyond that, the general public is not the winning side. The bookie wins. So while it might be comforting to see that a lot of people came up with the same conclusion that we did, it generally does not result in a better winning percentage. If the betting public loses more often than the bookie, then siding with the bookie is the better move.

There are areas in life where it is good to see that most people share our beliefs. College football betting is not one of them. Not that you want to bet against the public at every opportunity. A lot of games will be evenly spread anyway. But if you see 78% of people are taking one side, it should not give you extra confidence to take the same side or give you pause to take the opposite side. Stand on your own two feet and reap the benefits.