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Betting College Football Rivalry Games

The pageantry and excitement around college football makes a Grammy Awards red carpet look like a junior high fashion show. College football fans love a good rivalry and games get elevated to a whole new level when two teams with a long history face off. We’re talking LSU vs Alabama-type history. The type of rivalry brings out the mutual hatred of the teams and their fans every single year.

Even if one side of a big rivalry is having a down year, you can expect the team’s best effort come rivalry week. Here, we’ll look at the role of home-field advantage and what happens when a team has nothing left to lose – also the name of a 1999 Foo Fighters album where they tried to be a trio.

Does Home-Field Hold an Advantage?

To quote little Orphan Annie, you bet your bottom dollar it does! Home-field advantage can sometimes be overrated in college football as superior teams can usually avoid the pitfalls of playing on the road.

However, when it comes to rivalry week, where the location is extremely relevant, home-field does play a part. Just ask any bettor who took Boise State on the road against their rivals, the University of Idaho. They lost a huge chunk of change on the moneyline because they assumed the Broncos would win. They didn’t check the injury report, the consensus or the odds. Always check the injury report, the consensus and the odds.

If the home team in a rivalry game is having a down year while the other team is playing well, bettors can sometimes find the home team going off as the betting underdog on the point spread.

Even the slightest miscues from the road favorite will get the crowd going nuts, and even the most talented of teams can get rattled in a dangerous spot like this.

On the flip side, big home favorites can also provide value in rivalry games. Bettors who hear about the rivalry all week long could get hyped up into taking the points, but if one team is having a stronger season and has its fan base behind it, the rout could be on.

Should you bet on the Team with Nothing to Lose?

Most rivalry games have equal stakes, as both teams want desperately to defeat their hated rivals. Sometimes, one team needs the game much more than other. In those cases, you can find great value on betting on the hungry underdog.

magine a one-loss Ohio State team is one win away from advancing to the Big Ten Championship. A win will guarantee a return to the College Football Playoff. The only thing standing in the Buckeyes’ way is a trip to the Big House in Michigan.

The Buckeyes may have the better team, but they’ll also have the pressure of over 100,000 screaming Wolverines in the house – not actual wolverines, that would be dangerous – all rooting for The Ohio State to fail. Even at home, the team with more to lose isn’t safe. The motivation that comes with playing spoiler against a hated rival is one of the strongest motivators in all of college football.

You should also take note of injuries and weather conditions. If Michigan’s quarterback is out for the big rivalry game, you have to ask yourself whether their 2nd stringer is up to the task. The weather can go either way in this case since Ann Arbor and Columbus are both known for moderate falls and desperate winters.

Look at our College Football Odds page before the game. This way, you can determine which side of the rivalry looks more promising to bet on.