Sharpe Pointers for College Football Betting Week 4 (Plus Free Picks)
by Jason Sharpe - 9/21/2012
Successful college football betting can be a very tough task for those who don’t work full time at it. I spend my entire week researching teams and game matchups while 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 bookies and taking advantage of weak college football odds.
--The linesmakers know that the football betting public loves to bet “overs” much more than they like to bet on “unders,” and especially so when that game is a nationally televised contest. Because of this reason the sports books will usually bump the game totals up an extra point or two (known in the sportsbook industry as “shading”) to penalize all of the expected over action that they know they will have coming in from the betting public. When looking to bet a college football total on a nationally televised game, it’s always best to first look at playing the under.
--Speaking of totals being incorrectly priced, you don’t need to look any further than this past Wednesday night’s Mid-American Conference (or MAC) ESPN TV game between Kent State and Buffalo. Because it was a mid-week national TV game the books knew that they would get lots of over money bet on it. Knowing that this was likely to happen, the books made the total on the game a few points higher than it should have been priced at. The final score ended up just 23-7, making the combined total of 30 an easy winner for all the under bettors.
--Though it’s a hard thing to do, it’s always smart to look at teams who have done poorly versus the point spread early on as “teams to bet on” in Week 4 of the CFB season. By doing this you will usually be getting a few extra points of value supporting these teams that no one else wants to bet on right now. Look at a team like Wisconsin here this week as a great example of this. The Badgers have started the season 0-3 against the spread, and you can grab them at a nice ‘discounted price’ this week against a bad UTEP team.
--One of the best things about CFB is second-half wagering. You actually get a chance to watch the two teams play a whole half of football against each other, and after that you can then use that information to make a second-half wager on the game. One thing I like to look for in a second-half over play is to find a game that went under the total in the first half but where both teams were still moving the football fairly well (combined 300 yards of offense or more). You also want this game not to be a blowout either but instead be a close game on the scoreboard. So to recap: find a close game where both teams did well offensively in the first half (preferably moving the ball through the air) but the score went under in the first 30 minutes of play. Look to play over for the second half of this contest.
--The third year at a school is usually the best year for a good CFB head coach, a year where you will usually see some major improvements from a CFB program going in the right direction. By this time the coach has a lot of his own players playing, guys who were brought in by his staff and were taught to play the coaches’ system for a few years now. Louisville, Cincinnati, USC, Florida State and Tennessee are just a few schools who look to be solid teams this year as their head coaches are now in their third season at their school.
--All my football plays are now up for this coming week as I hope to have another fantastic Saturday just like I did two Saturdays ago where I went a perfect 7-0 for the day. Here are a few CFB plays that I liked this week that I think are still solid plays but weren’t quite good enough to make it on my weekly betting card:
#332 Wisconsin -17.5 over UTEP (Noon EST): Lots of unhappy folks in Badger-land right now as Wisconsin hasn’t looked all that great to start their season. In defense of the Badgers, they have had the misfortune of playing a game against a top FCS school to start the year (Northern Iowa), then they went into a very hostile environment and fell just short against what looks to be a solid and improved Oregon State squad. And then last week they beat one of the most improved programs in the country in Utah State in a hard-fought battle. They finally get themselves a “creampuff” here this week, and don’t forget what the Badgers did last year when facing light-weight teams; the Badgers beat them by a combined 191-34 score in their first four games of the year. Head coach Bret Bielema needs a blowout win badly to calm everyone’s nerves down, and he should be able to get that here in this one. Wisconsin wins this by 28.
#374 Oklahoma -14.5 over Kansas State (7:50 p.m. EST); The feeling among many in the CFB world is that there may be more than two undefeated teams at the end of this CFB season, and if that is the case it’s a good idea to try and look as impressive as you can in bigger games to sway the voters your way. With that being the case, Oklahoma needs a big showing here, especially after a first-week dud against UTEP where the Sooners won in an uninspired 24-7 effort. That shouldn’t be the case here in this one as they play against what I feel is an overrated Kansas State team. The Sooners showed just how much ground still separates these two programs last year by beating the Wildcats by 41 points and doing so on the road. Oklahoma has had two weeks to prepare for this one and should have little trouble winning this one by 20+ points.
#395 ‘over’ 62 Troy/North Texas (7 p.m. EST): Big total here posted in this one but big totals don’t seem to scare these two teams when they go head-to-head. The last three years these two teams have played has seen final scores combined of 71, 76 and 76 points. I am expecting much of the same thing again here this year in this one. Look for something in the mid 30s scored for each team. Let’s go with Troy winning a close one, 35-34.
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