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Three Tools For Handicapping College Football

Three Tools For Handicapping College Football

There are 66 days until college football kickoff. I’m choosing to be positive and rolling with the notion we will have games this fall. Will we have a full season? Will the start be delayed? No one knows at this point but I am hopeful we will see games played. That gives us plenty of time to prepare by looking at conferences, players added, coaches lost and player performance last season.

If you’ve never handicapped your own college football betting picks, there’s no better time to start. Anatomically, your brain isn’t a muscle but it should be treated as such. The more you exercise it through mental stimulation, the greater your brain function and in the long run, you help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

In other words, handicapping sports is like putting together a puzzle, and the more you practice, the more efficiently your brain will work. Plus, it could also lead to a deeper appreciation of the game we love.

If you follow me on Twitter, you can guess where my interest lies, and that’s betting underdogs and OVERs. If you’ve never handicapped your own plays, these are some of the tools I use that may be useful to you to decide which plays to make.

Team Rankings

Check out Team Rankings here

This is my most used website for free information. Team Rankings offers both team and player stats for college football, the NFL and other sports and lays out the data in a way that makes it easy to navigate. I personally don’t utilize the player stats but perhaps that is useful for something like fantasy football.

With nearly 150 data points available for team stats, some of the options I often utilize are points per game, third-down conversions, pass rush (sacks per game) and quarterback protection (sacks allowed per game). Depending on what type of bet you are looking at, there’s a data point that could help you decide. If you like taking OVER/UNDER bets for the first half only, you could look at the Offense by Quarter tab and see how teams rank offensively in each quarter or half. The same applies for defense by using Defense by Quarter.

Oklahoma went 5-9 ATS in 2019. One of the Sooners’ faults that cost them some big plays was their lack of discipline. They were among the worst teams for penalties accrued during a game and were bottom six in penalty yards. That’s just one bit of information you can find at Team Rankings in addition to team trends, with wins/losses, ATS history and OVER/UNDER records over the last 17 years.

With two months left before the start of the football season, navigating this site now to use later would be advised. There’s so much information you can use and it’s better to become familiar with it now. 

Winsipedia

Check out Winsipedia here

To anyone who says that matchup history doesn’t matter, I disagree. Matchup history has been useful to determine whether I want to fire on a team to cover the spread, or even win as an underdog, and at times has been the reason I decided to hold on to my money and look for a better option instead.

Winsipedia allows you to compare two teams and look at their full matchup history. In one instance, it was the cherry on the top I needed to take Oregon State to not just cover the 11-point spread against Cal but also take the Beavers at +330 on the moneyline. Of course, I had plenty of data points that signaled to take Oregon State but knowing that the Beavers had upset Cal in 2016 as 14-point underdogs, I felt comfortable firing away and it paid off.

On the flip side, who are the people who keeping taking Michigan to cover and/or win as underdogs vs Ohio State?

Last season, the Wolverines were 9-point underdogs and got demolished 56-27. Is that a surprise? No. In 2018, Michigan was a 4-point favorite and got demolished 62-39. 

I’m just going to leave this here for you.
 

Using Winsipedia, you would see that Michigan has not defeated Ohio State since 2011. The Wolverines have lost eight straight games, and have only won twice in 19 seasons. You could argue that older matchups are irrelevant due to turnover, but if coaching remains the same, in this case Jim Harbaugh, then I would be more inclined to either fade that team or just avoid the bet altogether. Depending how you look at it, this one data point could have either saved you some money or made you some money.

Is history the be-all and end-all? Of course not, but it is another tool in your tool bag.

Twitter

For the NFL, it is easy to search and find injury updates. There are many websites that give this information out. In college, not so much. It’s a bit tougher to find injury information especially if it’s not a big conference, like the MAC, for example. Enter Twitter. If injuries, weather or even suspensions play a potential role in my handicapping, then I turn to team beat writers for updates. These are the people who provide news updates about one team or conference in particular. You could say that they have the “inside scoop.”

If poor weather is expected, looking at AccuWeather is just one avenue. However, an hourly forecast doesn’t give you the full view. I want to see how bad the weather is, and whether it is affecting the field, is it windy or is it just rain? I turn to Twitter and/or Instagram to see people who have posted selfies of themselves at the games. Is the sky visible, are they in ponchos, or are they talking about the weather? Perhaps this is overkill of information, but why not utilize any bit of data that could be helpful?

These are just some tidbits that I use to look at college football. You may already be utilizing these tools, but if you aren’t, it could be time to start now so you can be prepped and ready to go come September.