College Football Betting Tips: 3 Profitable Strategies for Bowl Season


Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Taylor Cornelius

Dec 15, 2018, 05:45 AM EST
  • The 2018-19 college football bowl season begins Saturday with five games.
  • Using the Bet Labs database, we share three smart strategies for wagering on bowl games.

College football bowl season kicks off Saturday with five games and continues through the New Year. College football bettors are always excited at the opportunity to wager on a month’s worth of games, but handicapping 40 matchups that feature teams with varying levels of motivation is difficult.

Don’t worry, we’ve done all the hard work for you using the Bet Labs database. Whether you’re betting on the AutoNation Cure Bowl or the College Football Playoff, here are the betting strategies you need to know before making your picks.

Fade Ranked Teams

What do recreational bettors know about the Servpro First Responder Bowl between No. 25 Boise State and Boston College? Not much, other than the Broncos being ranked. Top 25 teams will receive a disproportionate number of bets from the public just because they are ranked.

In early betting (see live odds here) a majority of spread tickets are on Boise State. Oddsmakers know casual bettors will wager on Top 25 teams and inflate their lines accordingly.

In bowl games, betting against ranked teams has gone 165-155-3 (51.6%) against the spread (ATS) since 2005. It has been more profitable to fade ranked team when they face an unranked opponent: 49-39-1 (55.7%) ATS.

Games that match (based on the AP Poll):

  • Arizona State (+4) vs. No. 19 Fresno State – Dec. 15
  • Houston (+3) vs. No. 22 Army – Dec. 22
  • Boston College (+2.5) vs. No. 23 Boise State – Dec. 26
  • Northwestern (+7) vs. No. 20 Utah – Dec. 31
  • Oklahoma State (+7.5) vs. No. 24 Missouri – Dec. 31
  • NC State (+4.5) vs. No. 21 Texas A&M – Dec. 31
  • Iowa (+6.5) vs. No. 18 Mississippi State – Jan. 1

Bad ATS Teams Are Good Bets