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Handicapping College Football
With 32 College Bowl Games spread through January 8th, many handicappers are putting in extra hours. While some suggest treating these games just like any other, there are two good reasons to spend some extra time studying these match-ups. First, games that are televised over the holidays have more "public" money bet on them, giving the studious player the opportunity to gain an extra edge. Second, there are a number of factors that cause many of these games to play out differently from the regular season, giving yet more value to professionals.
"Technical handicapping" is a method of looking for statistical trends without giving too much weight to the teams themselves. This method has previously proved very successful for Bowl Games. In the past four years, underdogs getting more than 7 points have gone 25-10-1, or 71.4% against the spread. However, be careful not to blindly bet a technical trend that has done well in the past. More people are discovering these angles and betting into them, so if everyone has the same idea, the line eventually becomes more efficient (e.g. a +12 dog in years past may now only be +8), pushing the trend towards 50% going forward.
In all games, a good starting point for general handicapping is to look at how the match-up looks statistically. All the vital data is at your fingertips by visiting http://collegefootball.pinnaclesports.com/. In addition to team and match-up statistics, Pinnacle Sportsbook offers sports bettors further useful information, such as ATS and totals results for a variety of situations, as well as a link to Pinnacle Sportsbetting's live lines.
Once you have a feel for the basic match-up, there are two additional factors to consider for Bowl Games. Firstly, contemplate the motivational edge. A solid team playing against a weak opponent may be disappointed by the match-up. This could result in flat play, which is one explanation for the underdog Bowl trend mentioned above.
When an average or slightly above average team goes to a Bowl game, it's playing in its "Super Bowl" and every player is motivated to play the game of their life. This inspiration may not be felt by their superior opponents, so look for many underdogs to have an emotional edge in the Bowls. Of course in the BCS Bowls, strong teams usually stay motivated regardless of their opponent.
Another major factor to consider for College Bowl Games is a team's coach. When teams have four weeks to prepare, and holidays are between a team's last regular season game and the Bowl, coaching plays a bigger role than normal. A well-coached team is likely to over perform, but even more so in a Bowl game when there's more time to prepare. Conversely, an undisciplined team has more time to lose focus.
Here's a simple two-part test to identify a good coach: (1). Does he manage the clock properly?; and (2). Is he aggressive with fourth down play calling? This test may sound simple, but it's effective at quickly sorting out the coaches. Is his team down by 10 in the fourth quarter? Good coaches start using timeouts early, even with five minutes left. What's the call if it's fourth down and two from the 50? If he punts, the call is suspect unless he has a two-score lead late in the game. If you're already leaning on a play, a good coach is often enough to warrant "pulling the trigger".