Betting on and winning at college football can be a very tough task for those who don’t work full time at it. I spend the entire week researching teams and game matchups, trying to uncover any edge. I will be here each week to share some of my “tricks of the trade” and also offer other insight when it comes to beating the CFB bookies.
--As we head into October you have to change your approach with handicapping college football and looking for undervalued and overvalued teams. At the beginning part of the season you do as much home work as you can to try and form some different opinions of the teams early on and get ahead of the betting public. I try to “out-smart” the betting markets by learning more about each team BEFORE the season starts. But by this time of the year the markets have finally caught up to this new information, as we have now seen most teams having played four games each this season. Your new approach nowadays should be to look at the games that each team has played and see if you can find things that don’t quite meet the eye when looking at the final scores of the game.
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--Situational handicapping is also huge this time of the year. Look for bad teams coming off big upset wins to most likely “lay an egg” their next week, especially if that next game is away from home. A great example of that this week is Central Michigan University. CMU comes into this game off a huge upset win of over Iowa last week and did so as two-touchdown underdogs. Now they go on the road here a week later in a difficult spot and versus a tough MAC divisional foe. It’s not going to be easy for CMU to come back here and play with the same type of intensity as double-digit underdogs for the second week in a row.
--What do Western Kentucky, Ball State, Fresno State, Northwestern, Purdue, Texas Tech and San Jose State all have in common this year (with at least three games played)? They are the only teams in CFB that have won all of their games against the spread so far in 2012. In fact, Western Kentucky has 13 straight ATS wins dating back to last season. This goes to show you that it’s the smaller type schools that are usually the one’s who are undervalued at the beginning of a season. Who on this list can keep their streak going and will continue to be undervalued? My bet would be to stick with Western Kentucky here as it seems no one is paying much attention to this point spread-covering machine.
--What about the other end of things? Teams that have zero wins against the spread so far in 2012 (at least three games played also): Wisconsin Southern Mississippi, Houston, Arkansas and Miami Ohio. None of these five teams has covered the spread this season in a game. Who would I say will continue to be the team that is overvalued the longest of that group? My bet right now would be on Southern Mississippi as they look to be a mess this year with a new coaching staff that is trying to get things figured out for the Golden Eagles.
I have had an outstanding start to the CFB season, going 15-9 overall with my college football picks to start the 2012 year. I have four more college football plays on tap this week to go along with three NFL selections for a big seven-play football card overall. You can get all seven plays for just $99 this week. Here are three free college football picks for the week that were close to official release plays for me this week but didn’t quite make my cut.
Take #119 Louisiana Tech -3 over Virginia (3:30 p.m. EST): LA Tech is definitely for real. The 2011 WAC Champions have a senior quarterback that gets the job done, and they have scored 50 points or more in all three of their games so far this season. The Bulldogs have answered the call in all three of their games (two of which were on the road) and looked very impressive last week over what is a decent Big Ten team. Don’t be surprised to La. Tech make a run at an undefeated regular season this year. Look for La. Tech to have no trouble here in this one with a 34-17 win.
Take #135 Colorado State +14.5 over Air Force (2:00 p.m. EST): Not sure Air Force should be favored by more than two touchdowns over any team in CFB this year. Don’t be fooled by their close loss to Michigan earlier in the year; the Falcons were no match for the Wolverines in that game and didn’t come close to stopping them on defense. Losing last week to UNLV is as an ugly loss for Air Force and shows exactly where this team is right now. I really like what Colorado State with a new head coach has quietly done so far this season. They have played decent against some of the top surprise teams in CFB this year, with loses to a quality Utah State team and a much-improved San Jose State squad. My only fear here in this one is preparing for the Air Force offense, which can be tough. However, this CSU team is a well-coached group and will be ready. Look for CSU to keep things close here and lose a close one, 27-23, covering the spread easily.
Take #130 Purdue -16.5 over Marshall (3:15 p.m. EST): Purdue may be one of the most surprising teams in CFB right now and a squad no one is paying attention to, either. This is not your typical Purdue team of years past as this is easily fourth-year head coach Danny Hope’s best team thus far. Don’t forget, this is a team that went to and won a bowl game just last season also. Their close loss to Notre Dame back in Week 2 is looking more impressive each week now. They are also an undefeated 3-0 so far this year against the number. Marshall comes into this one off a close road win last week at Rice but is allowing an average of almost 43 points per game on defense so far this year. They are no match for this up-and-coming Boilermakers team here. Purdue wins this one easy, 35-13.
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