College Football Handicapping

College Football Handicapping

Early Season College Football Handicapping Strategy

The start of a new college football season can be one of the most profitable times of the year for college football handicapping. Of course, it can also become a disaster based on how much effort the college football handicapper puts into the sport during the off-season.
The general sports betting public tends to put way too much emphasis on what a team did during their previous season!
While there’s the upcoming group doing the college football handicapping put a little bit of effort into reading up on personnel changes. Often times they don’t do enough work to give themselves any sort of serious advantage over the odds-maker.

College Football Handicapping – Returning Players

When you know a team is returning eight starters on offense, this doesn’t mean anything unless you happen to know the quality of the three players who were lost and how much better their replacements might be.

Amateur sports bettors doing their college football handicapping tend to solely focus on the quantity of players, vs. the quality of players who were lost or are entering a program. 

It is not always the case, but the general consensus tends to be that a team returning most of its starters will be improved. Quite often, a very bad team returning its starters will once again be a very bad team, just a very bad team that is a year older and wiser… and just as unproductive on the gridiron.

College Football Handicapping – Power Teams

The power teams can usually afford to lose starting players. As a general rule of thumb, teams like Florida State, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State can afford to lose starting players a little more than an average school. The strong powerhouse teams tend to attract the best of the best when it comes to recruits. These teams even use their star players to help recruit future talent.

One college football handicapping exception to this rule can be at the quarterback position.  As many of the top-rated prospects keep an eye out for schools that generally emphasize the passing game and would rather play at a school that allows them an opportunity to show their talents.

Since the most important position in college football is the quarterback, it is usually worth the time to spend reading up about the new college football quarterbacks and how they performed in the spring game?

2014 College Football Handicapping Addition – Looking at the 2014 season, Ohio State lost two starting quarterbacks, and the third string backup stepped in just before the conference championship against Wisconsin, the line dropped from -3.5 to +4, only to have Ohio State route the Badgers 59-0. So the key lesson for college football handicapping is to look at the strength of the program, and consider the quality of the talent they are likely to attract.

When you know that a team has a decent quarterback to take over after a big shot quarterback leaves can be a slight advantage, and many NCAA college football handicappers will automatically downgrade the team because they lost their quarterback.

On the other side of the coin, knowing that a pretty good team is going to have some problems with the quarterback is just as valuable, as the team may end up being a bit overpriced to begin the season until the rest of the college football handicapping pubic finally realize how bad the team’s replacement quarterback actually is.

Teams are often impacted when a large group of players graduate from a particular unit, such as the offensive line, linebackers, or secondary. A team returning with seven starters on defense might be in worse shape than a team returning five starters if all three of those players were defensive backs or linebackers.

College Football Handicapping – Defense

Another important thing to note in your college football handicapping is the impact of the players lost on defense. One example that jumps to mind was the 2011 LSU Tigers. LSU had one of the best defenses of all time in 2011, the team went undefeated all the way to to the National Championship only to lose to Alabama.

In 2011 LSU allowed an average of 10.5 points in the regular season games and went undefeated. That year they lost 7 starters on defense to the NFL. The following year in 2012 LSUs average points allowed jumped to 15.6 and they lost 2 games in the regular season.

Overall the most important thing to note is the impact of the key players lost to the draft, and the new replacements coming in. Watching some early season film will also help you refine your College Football Handicapping skills as the season gets going.

Rob Holiday




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