Wilson: How to Bet College Football Game Of The Year Lines, And Spots to Target for 2019

Wilson: How to Bet College Football Game Of The Year Lines, And Spots to Target for 2019 article feature image
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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jake Fromm

  • Every summer, sportsbooks post look-ahead lines for games throughout the upcoming college football season.
  • Collin Wilson dives into his strategies for betting these Game of the Year lines.
  • He discusses his general philosophies and gives out some of the games he's looking at for 2019.

With College Football Game of the Year lines coming Thursday, the fall gambling season is almost underway.

The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas will once again be first to market with 100 games and their point spreads posted on Thursday, May 30.

Details have not been finalized, but in the past, the Golden Nugget allows a bettor $1,000 limits and a max of three wagers. They are then asked to move to the back of the line.

In my experience, the line has stretched to the blackjack tables when the Nugget has been first to market with Game of the Year lines.

So What Is a Game of the Year Line?

It’s a point spread posted on a game that will happen after Week 1. They’re usually rivalry games or other interesting matchups between quality teams that fans will want to bet on.

While the Nugget will be the first to post, some online sportsbooks and others in Vegas will release their own numbers throughout the summer.

Using the Action Network Power Ratings, we can create our own Game of the Year lines and develop an edge on openers. Each weekend in college football brings different variables, but power ratings are a great place to start.

The ultimate goal of a GOY ticket is to get ahead of the market on a number that will be offered the week of the game. You want to beat the closing line, and this is a great opportunity to do it. If done properly, bettors can work their way into middle windows for a chance to cash both sides on one game.

Should I Be Aware of Situational Spots?

The Golden Nugget will release 100 games, including the Red River Rivalry, Ohio State-Michigan and the Iron Bowl. There are plenty of strategies in play for a Game of the Year investment.

This article will look at the week-by-week schedule with a market focus on a number of different ways to attack the betting board.

  • Letdown: Everyone remembers Iowa dropping a piano on Ohio State in 2017 with a 55-24 victory in Kinnick Stadium. What Hawkeye fans want to forget are the two consecutive losses after — by 24 to Wisconsin and 9 to a 4-5 Purdue team. The key takeaway is to circle a teams biggest home game and look to stay away in the week after.

  • Rivalry overlook: Tin Horn weekend will be an Action Network yearly staple the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when seemingly the entire SEC plays FCS opponents. Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl, Civil War, Holy War, Civil Conflict…be aware of upcoming rivalry games and plan accordingly for the snoozers.
  • Back-to-back travel at home off a bye: 2019 will be an unusual one, with most teams having two bye weeks through a season that includes a regular season Week 0 and Week 15. Using our data at BetLabs, bye week trends will help you denote key situations. Kansas has covered off of a bye week just once since 2010.  Since 2013, Duke and David Cutcliffe are 11-1 against the spread following a bye week.
  • Revenge: Do not think for a minute that the mention of Ole Miss does not give Nick Saban heartburn. The Hugh Freeze-led Rebels beat Alabama in 2014 AND 2015, with an additional cover in the 5-point loss in 2016. Since the time Freeze has left Oxford, Alabama has bested Ole Miss the past two seasons by a combined score of 128-10.
  • Non-Conference Sandwich: Because Oklahoma-Army was $55 on pay-per-view last season, more than 32,000 people joined a Twitch stream of someone recording the game from their couch. In a classic sandwich spot, the Sooners came off a Week 2 conference road trip in Ames with Baylor in Week 4 in mind. Oklahoma did little to no prep for the Army triple option, surviving in overtime 28-21.

Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest games I’m looking for, a projected point spread along from our power ratings, plus notes on the situational spot for a team.

Week 2

Texas A&M at Clemson (-17.5)

Will Texas A&M have 2018 revenge on their mind for this trip against the national champions? Quarterback Kellen Mond looks to terrorize a Clemson defense that lost plenty of key elements to the NFL Draft.

As for the Tigers, their market price could not be any higher as there are no projected spreads under two touchdowns. Clemson will begin the 2019 season with ACC games against Georgia Tech in Week 1 and a primetime showdown with Syracuse in Week 3.

Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney know each other quite well, and another close game shootout would not surprise me in this non-conference sandwich spot for Clemson.

Week 4

Oklahoma State at Texas (-1)

The expectations for the Longhorns are sky high after a Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia. Despite ranking dead last among Power 5 teams in returning production, Texas will more than likely open as a favorite against Oklahoma State in Game of the Year lines.

Mike Gundy has refocused after taking the blame for the 2018 campaign. The Cowboys went and got the most explosive coach in FCS at offensive coordinator to shock a conference full of offense.

It’s worth mentioning that Tom Herman has beat Oklahoma State just once since 2009, as an offensive coordinator at Iowa State in a 2011 overtime game. This is a great buy low for the Pokes and sell high for the Longhorns.

Week 7

Texas vs. Oklahoma (-13.5)
I can hear my podcast partner Stuckey now:

“Texas is a simple team.”

Always take Texas when Tom Herman is an underdog. Specifically, this neutral site game is a good opportunity to take a dog getting a touchdown or more. Since 2014, the average margin of victory in the Red River Rivalry is just 5 points.

Week 9

A number of Power 5 conference games have a home team getting a bit of extra rest against an opponent on back-to-back road games. Those games include Wisconsin at Ohio State (-7), Arizona State at UCLA (-3), and Arizona at Stanford (-4.5).

Specifically take note of a buy low price on Wisconsin, a top 30 team in returning production, against a sell-high on Ohio State.

Week 12

Alabama at Mississippi State (+11.5)

The Crimson Tide will come off one of the biggest games of the season against LSU. Mississippi State’s quarterback situation is still unclear with the arrival of Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens, but any quarterback efficiency over Nick Fitzgerald in 2018 will supremely improve Joe Moorhead’s offense.

Mississippi State will be well rested off a bye week, while Alabama’s depth will be tested after a rivalry division game in Week 11. Now that the shine is off of Moorhead’s hire, this could be a decent buy low spot on Cowbell.

Georgia at Auburn (+7.5)

It’s an odd-numbered year, meaning Auburn gets both Georgia and Alabama at Jordan-Hare. In this instance, Auburn will be coming off a bye week, while Georgia could lack focus.

Similar to 2017, the Bulldogs might have the SEC East wrapped up. Georgia playing for a College Football Playoff berth is a valid argument, but everyone knows winning the conference title game is your path to the national title.

This game generally plays a huge part in national title picture.

Week 13

Penn State at Ohio State (-9)

The Nittany Lions enter the season short on returning production and with a new quarterback, but should have plenty of experience by Nov. 23. This spot finds Penn State traveling to an Ohio State team that may have overlook to Michigan.

If the situation against Ohio State is not good enough, consider that this rivalry has been separated by a total of 5 points over the past three years.

Nebraska at Maryland (+2.5)

As I made it known on the Twittersphere, my investments are on the Cornhuskers to go under the win total. Scott Frost will get this team to the top of the Big Ten, but depth may be an issue in 2019.

That is where the scheduling comes in for this game. The Cornhuskers trip to Maryland comes between physical West division rivals Wisconsin and Iowa. The buy-low Terrapins should be fresh out of the bye week and fighting hard for a bowl in Mike Locksley’s first season as head coach.