As a multi-time college football handicapping champion, I am honored to be penning an NCAA column for you. I know you are all enjoying my Clear The Bases baseball column, as much as I enjoy writing it. But if you like my MLB insight, you will love this take.
So grab a helmet, because this is going to be an exciting and profitable season for us all.
Here are a few keys to winning in college football: It’s all about the number. We have all been there. Yes, we have been “hooked” on the last seconds of a game. Listen to Smokey Robinson and his brilliant mother. Shopping around for the best number on a game is vital for a winning campaign. Be patient, this process can sometimes take days. Be selective.
Each week, we have a full slate of NCAAF games on the board. Just because there’s tons of action or games on TV, doesn’t mean you have to play all of them. Less is more. Going 1-0 is better than 5-4. Do your homework. Injuries in football are a major factor. But unlike pro football where if a starting QB or RB, etc. goes down, it changes the dynamics of the entire team, in college football.
Many of these squads are stacked more than pancakes at your favorite breakfast eatery. I am not saying injuries are not significant, they are. I am saying to do your homework as to knowing your backups. The line will shift because a starting player is sidelined, but in some cases, it won’t make as much of a difference as it does in the NFL.
Know your teams, especially the fan favorites. College football lines can move drastically. Many times this is because of teams that are “fan favorites” or even teams that are televised a bit more often than others (hello, Notre Dame). This is supposed to be fun, but isn’t it more fun when you’re making money? So follow these simple guidelines and you should have a fun, winning season.
Here are this week’s Best Bets (Lines are as of print and can change. If a line is around a hot number or moves against us, be smart):
Colorado -10 over Colorado St.: Dual-threat junior QB Steven Montez and several returning offensive starters will shred a CSU defense that was 97th in total “D” last season and allowed Hawaii to put up 617 total yards in last week’s, 43-34 loss. The Rams are 0-8 ATS the last 9 overall. Just to air on the side of caution, buy it down. Preferred play: COLORADO at -7
San Diego St. +15 over Stanford: The Aztecs have won the last three vs. PAC 12 foes, outright, including a 20-17 victory last year vs. Stanford. They get the bettors paid going 23-12 ATS the L35 overall, 6-2 ATS the L8 as a ‘dog, and 5-1 ATS the L6 on the road. Way too many points to give a Rocky Long-coached team. SAN DIEGO ST.
Vanderbilt -3 over Middle Tennessee St.: This contest is a perfect example of the disparity between the strength of certain conferences. Vanderbilt is considered the bottom of the SEC barrel, while MTSU is Conference USA royalty. Over the last few seasons, the Commodores have covered six straight over C-USA foes. They have won and covered the L3 vs. the Blue Raiders, by a combined, 92-43. Vandy seems to enjoy brutalizing non-SEC teams, covering 8 of the L10 opportunities. MTSU has crushed bettors, going 5-9-1 ATS the L15 as a ‘dog, 2-6 ATS the L8 vs. SEC opponents, and 1-5 ATS L6 on the road. VANDY
UNLV +26.5 over USC: Southern Cal had to replace a few major cogs in the offensive wheel, including a QB that went No. 3 in the Draft. Even with Sam Darnold at the helm, the Trojans were pointspread poison, going just 3-10-1 ATS. This is an ideal spot for UNLV as USC has Stanford on deck and will be looking forward. Tony Sanchez has improved the Rebels in each of his three seasons as HC. UNLV is 11-4 ATS as a road underdog and covered all three away outings vs. Power-5 teams (Michigan, UCLA, Ohio State). USC has failed to cover five straight vs. non-PAC 12 opposition as is notoriously slow starters, going 1-6 ATS the last seven in the September. UNLV
Louisiana Tech -10 over South Alabama: The Bulldogs, who won and covered last year’s meeting over the Jaguars, 34-16, bring back most of their squad. This is a team that finished last season winning and covering their L3, including a 51-10 Bowl crusher over the Mustangs. They are 6-0 ATS the L6 vs. the Sun Belt. South Alabama is 8-17 ATS the L25 at home, 2-6 ATS the L8 in September, and 14-31 ATS the L44 overall. LA TECH