Betting totals in college football can be a very lucrative undertaking if you do it properly. When a lot of people are betting on the sport, though, they consistently make simple mistakes that cost them money and make what should be a very profitable bet. Here are seven mistakes to avoid when betting on college football totals:
Not thinking about time of possession – Most people focus on the strengths of the offenses when they are handicapping college football totals. While that is important there is one important issue to remember – it doesn’t matter how good an offense is if they don’t have the ball. If the opposing offense is a slow, methodical ball control offense that runs the ball into the ground then the offense won’t get as much time to put points on the board as they would if the opposing offense is a pass-heavy, fast moving offense. That will have a big, obvious impact on the total. The likely pace of the football game is very important to consider.
Not thinking about injuries - Sports bettors will consider what it means when big name players are out of action, but they rarely put as much thought into the injuries to lesser players. If injuries have challenged a team’s depth then that could have a big impact on their ability to effectively play on offense or defense later in the game, and that could impact the total.
Not thoroughly considering impact of defenses – The betting public loves offense, and they are seduced by particularly impressive offenses – especially if they score a lot of points through the air. They will assume that that offense is going to have a great day regardless of what type of defense they are facing. If the defense is a particularly good pass defense unit, though, then the offense likely won’t have the best day they could, and that will have an impact on the total and your sports pick.
Buying too much into hype – The media is in the business of attracting eyeballs. They do that by telling the most interesting stories, not by being objective. That means that there are going to be some teams that get more attention and hype than they deserve, and others that don’t get nearly the respect that they should. The sports betting public typically buys into this hype, so the odds and totals often reflect this hype as well. If you buy into the hype without making sure that it is justified then you are going to make bad betting decisions.
Looking at full season stats more than recent stats – If a NCAA football team is averaging 30 points per game on the season then most bettors will assume that they will score about 30 points again in their next game. It could be, though, that they are averaging 30 points because they scored 50 points a game against two week non-conference opponents. They could easily be struggling to score in their recent games, but that wouldn’t be reflected in the average. It is very easy for longer range stats to tell an inaccurate story, so you need to be sure you aren’t fooled by that when you make your betting decisions.
Not considering tendencies of coaches – This is particularly significant when the college football game is likely to be lopsided with the game essentially decided early on. Some coaches won’t drive their teams to keep scoring points if they don’t need them even if they are capable of doing so, while other coaches don’t take their feet off the gas until the final whistle. The preference of the coach can have a huge impact on the total.
Not considering coaches’ familiarity with opponent or opponents’ style or play – One thing that makes college football so interesting is that there are many different styles of play that are used. Teams have to adjust from style to style, and some teams can handle that better than others. The public will be aware of these style differences in a lot of cases – especially if the style of play a team faces is particularly unique and challenging. The adjustment required won’t be nearly as significant as the public assumes, though, if the coaching staff has some familiarity with what they are up against. Has the head coach played the team before? Did an assistant play against the team, or one with a similar approach, at a former job?
Favoring the over too much – The sports betting public has some clear and predictable tendencies. They love to bet the over and the favorites, and they will do it far more than they bet on the opposites. The oddsmakers know that, and they adjust accordingly. There are obviously lots of times when betting the over is still the best play. If as a college football handicapper you find yourself making a solid majority of your bets on the over, though, then you could be getting drawn into the same traps that the oddsmakers set for the public, and you could be making low value bets as a result.