Benefits of NCAA Week 2 Wagering
by Matt Severance - 09/05/2008
Some bettors would argue that you get the best value before the season starts in college football. After all, oddsmakers really are basing their information on what happened the season before and projections for the current season.
I say that's wrong.
The best value for a bettor is Week 2, because usually oddsmakers, much like the media, will overreact to something that happened in an opener.
Example No. 1: South Carolina. The Gamecocks shredded a bad North Carolina State team in Week 1, 34-0. Suddenly Steve Spurrier's club was ranked and talk of sleeper status in the SEC was abundant. However, if you watched that game against the Wolfpack, the Gamecocks' offense could not move the ball for three quarters, and the score was not indicative of the result. So the fact that South Carolina was a 10-point road favorite at Vanderbilt on Thursday night was a bit ridiculous. Especially considering the Commodores had won their opener easily against a decent Miami of Ohio team and had handled USC the season before as a huge road underdog. Now, I'm not saying I expected a Vandy victory on Thursday, but I jumped on that 10-point cushion and was rewarded with a straight-up victory by the Commodores. If you watched or read anything about that game on Friday, now South Carolina will be "lucky" to win 8-9 games and people are wondering how much longer Spurrier will stay in Columbia.
Example No. 2: Texas A&M. The Aggies were breaking in a new coach in Mike Sherman, but they were considered a borderline top-25 club before the season with several veterans back from 2007's bowl team, one that beat Texas in the regular season. An 18-14 home loss to Arkansas State later, and the Aggies now are only 2.5-point road favorites at New Mexico this week. Jump on that! Don't forget that top Texas A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane was no factor in that opener due to injury and should play a bigger role this week. And this is the same New Mexico team that was routed by TCU in the opener. I can assure you that Texas A&M, had it just beaten Arkansas State, would have been at least a touchdown favorite this week. Now all the Aggies have to do is win by a field goal and you cash in.
Example No. 3: The Big East. The league went 0-4 against Division I-A competition last week (forget that Football Bowl Subdivision stuff), with ranked teams Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh both suffering big upsets. The Panthers were a BCS bowl sleeper with Heisman candidate LeSean McCoy, but they managed only 129 yards on the ground and turned the ball over four times in a home loss to MAC team Bowling Green. McCoy had just 71 yards on 23 carries. Now Pitt is just a 13.5-point home favorite this week against another MAC club, Buffalo. Sure the Bulls beat UTEP 42-17 last week, but this line likely would have approached three touchdowns had Pitt not laid such an egg last week. I'd also argue that the Syracuse line against Akron (the Orange are only 4.5-point home favorites) is lower than it should be because the Orange, while not being very good, are suffering from an overall negative view of the Big East. Akron is one of the worst teams in college football, and this line should at least be a touchdown.
These are just a few examples of ways that you can profit from an overreaction to a Week 1 result and why I think Week 2 betting in college football is the most opportune time of the season.