The 2018 college football season kicks off on Saturday. The team at The Action Network has been busy previewing all 130 FBS programs, offering in-depth analysis and futures bets.
I love a good future as much as the next gambler but I don’t want to wait six months for a payday.
That’s why I dove into the Bet Labs database to find three profitable NCAA football betting systems that bettors can follow in Week 1. As a bonus, we give out a free pick for each system!
Buying Low on Bowl Teams
In the first week of the season it has been profitable to bet bowl teams from the previous year when the line moves against them (example: from +3 to +5 or from -3 to -2). Teams in this scenario are 195-164-3 (54%) ATS since 2005.
This strategy works because bettors are getting a talented team at a discounted price, usually as a result of an overreaction from casual bettors to a piece of information.
This system is most profitable when the previous season’s bowl team is playing its first game at home or on a neutral field.
Pick: Ohio State (-36.5) vs. Oregon State (Saturday, Sept. 1, 12 p.m. ET)
Urban Meyer remains on paid administrative leave as Ohio State investigates his role in the Zach Smith domestic abuse scandal.
With the ongoing probe and Meyer’s status with the program up in the air, the Buckeyes have dropped from an opening of -38 to -36.5.
Coaching matters, but the talent on the field is more important. Oregon State won one game last year, and Ohio State is a national championship contender.
Bettors are getting free points because of off-the-field drama. Meyer’s teams have thrived in this situation.
When the line stays the same or moves against Meyer-coached teams, they are 45-28-1 (62%) ATS since 2005.
Weather is an important factor to consider before placing an over/under bet. In college football, hot temperatures have led to increased scoring.
Air density decreases as temperatures increase, making it easier for quarterbacks to throw down the field and for kickers to make field goals, which increases scoring.
Players also tire more easily under the pressure of intense heat. This can be problematic for the defense as it becomes more susceptible to allowing bigger plays.
In games with average temperatures of 85 degrees or warmer, the over is 304-251-11 (55%) since 2005.
This strategy is most efficient in nonconference games (the lack of familiarity promotes scoring) and matchups in which wind will not be an issue — windy conditions can disrupt the passing and kicking games.
Pick: Arizona State vs. UTSA (Saturday, Sept. 1, 10:30 p.m. ET)
The over/under opened 54, which is low for college football. Low totals make it easier for a game to go over. In games matching this system, the over is 146-88-5 (62%) when the over/under is less than 60 points.
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Small Road Dogs
The public loves betting the chalk. According to The Action Network’s public betting data, bettors have taken favorites against the spread more than 80% of the time since 2005.
Oddsmakers know casual bettors want to wager on the favorites, thus they will shade the lines leading to value on the underdog.
Recreational gamblers also overvalue home-field advantage. Thus, a contrarian gambler can exploit these square tendencies by betting small road underdogs to win outright.
These teams don’t have a winning record overall, but because we are wagering on plus-money underdogs, it has been a profitable strategy.
Current Pick: SMU (+155) at North Texas (Saturday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. ET)
This game could be decided by the defense.
The oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring affair with total set at 71. A play here or there by a defense could be the difference maker, SMU has the better defensive unit in this matchup.