Betting College Football Rivalry Games

These games on the regular season schedules are so big, they have their own names.

They go by Red River Rivalry, The Iron Bowl, The Game, The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. They are America's best college football rivalries and handicapping them requires a whole different level of wisdom and savvy.

You can win if you have the right idea of how to handicap rivalries.

By definition, rivalry games are different than their garden-variety counterparts, whether we’re talking about an in- or out-of-conference matchup. There are rules of thumb to help bettors navigate the tricky waters that are rivalry games.

Home underdogs typically present great value if the situation arises. Ohio State may have pulled ahead of Michigan in recent years, but the Wolverines are still apt to provide a good wager if they’re dogged – especially at the Big House. This is known as The Game.

For many teams, rivalries are a bigger deal than getting to a bowl game, and it matters even more if they’re having a bad year. With no hope of making the postseason, a rivalry game – most notably on home turf – is by far the biggest game of the season. Sometimes that extra motivation is all a school needs to cover the spread or pull off the upset outright.

On the other side of the coin, huge home favorites are usually a solid bet in rivalry situations. When the chalk is giving two touchdowns or more, public bettors tend to side with the underdog, because they’re buying into the hype that the pup will keep it close because of the rivalry. That happens sometimes, but more often that not, the home school is a heavy fave for a reason.

Perhaps the biggest rivalry is the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma. Played on a neutral site at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the game should be handicapped accordingly. If the line is close, it’s almost always a good idea to take the points between the Longhorns and the Sooners.