First Half Betting

College Football Wagering: First Half Betting

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

Ever watch a college football game and wish your bet could have ended at halftime? Your team, which was scorching in the first half, begins to deflate in the second half. Weird and unforeseen things start happening in the second half of the game. Maybe a big favorite you bet opens the game sizzling, but apathy sets in in light of having a huge lead. If these things happen a lot, first half betting might be worth a look.

In first half betting, the result is the halftime score. What happens in the second half is of no consequence. The one hurdle we need to overcome with first half betting is our conditioning as fans. Before any of us bet on NCAA football, we were first fans. And as fans, we looked at games as full contests–as one entity. So betting on halves might seem foreign to some, but there will be good spots. As bettors of college football, we should like whatever makes us money. So if we can turn a buck on first half betting, we need to gear ourselves to accept it or at least take a hard look at it.

In first half betting, we first limit ourselves to the unforeseen. The shorter period of time which we are betting = the less weird stuff that can happen. In addition, there are teams you may suspect will start the game slowly. Perhaps they are typical slow-starters or there is something within the match-up that makes you think the early-going will be rough on them. When betting on the first half, you are also limiting the importance of coaching. A lot of capable coaches can make adjustments or light a fire under their team at halftime. First half betting removes some of that from the equation.


When taking big favorites, something that is abundantly-plentiful at the college level, you see a lot of favorites open the game in high-flying fashion. They build up a huge lead, then the players and coach take their foot off the gas in the second half. Good players might be pulled to save them for bigger more competitive games.

When you look at a match-up, you might be able to identify certain aspects of a team’s style that will greatly trouble their opponent. It’s likely that those things will more greatly trouble the opponent early. Then, as the game wears on, the opposing players and coaches make little changes or just generally grow more accustomed to what their opponent is doing. For all the above examples, first half betting is a way to maximize the quality of your observations.

Anything out of the ordinary is more likely to be of major consequence in the first half. It can be a home-field advantage. It could be a unique way that a team plays. It could be any type of out-of-the-ordinary considerations, like a rabid home crowd or bizarre weather conditions. In the first half, there is no time for adjustment, making some of these things of heightened importance in a game’s first 30 minutes.

Just remember that a lot of these things will be noticed by the bookie. So when a bunch of stars line up for you to make a first-half bet, make sure the bookie hasn’t moved the line against you to safeguard against you capitalizing off all these easy observations. Let’s say you like a big favorite. They’re at home in front of a raucous crowd. They always start fast and often pull starters when the game is out of hand. Their second halves are not generally as strong as their first halves of play. If that team is favored by, say, 34 points, don’t expect that line to be merely cut in half for the first half. It will be shaded against you because the bookie certainly noticed those things, as well.

Look for more subtle things. Maybe a big favorite is one of those teams who needs time to get cooking, making a first-half wager on their opponent a more desirable move. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Don’t look for teams that are downright awful in the first half before hitting the afterburners in the second half. Look for more subtle variances, like a team that is just a tick slow in the first half or a team the tends to start a bit faster, before the urgency fades in the second half almost imperceptibly. Noticing subtle differences in play from half-to-half can give you an edge in first half betting.