Early Season College Football Betting Ideas

“Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the mouth”
– Mike Tyson

WHY HAVE A PLAN?… you say

“but BRO… I kick ass the way I do it… I go with my (substantial)  gut and let ‘er rip!”

SIMPLE – you will NOT win money LONG TERM betting this way…
            * a lack of accurate record keeping helps you fool yourself into thinking so

If you do this right?… it’s actually difficult to lose money

NOTE:    Using one year or even two years of success as “justification” for ignoring many of the basics (likely) means you are either VERY young… or an IDIOT like so many guys you hear in the sportsbook who argue that seeking VALUE in wagering…”is really not that important”…


1.  Stay Away from Uncertainty

  • The more a team returns in offensive and defensive productions, the easier it is to predict how they will play.
  • WHY would you ignore an entire season of “evidence” and start over each year?
  • A team loses a bunch of guys, and/or has a new coaching staff, why not simply wait and see how they play?
  • A new Head Coach can:
    • SLOWLY make the changes he wants and the team might look similar.
    • Tear it all down / start over – team is maybe much worse.

What About the Returning Starters?

  • The might be the most misunderstood / misused aspect of handicapping CFB?
  • Most starters are back?… (Head Coach and Quarterback plus 15 starters or so)… simply tells you they will (probably) look a lot like the previous team, not that they will be MUCH BETTER!
    • If improvement has been steady, you can probably conclude they’re likely stronger. But if no pattern is apparent? You should probably avoid them until they show you who they really are.
  • How good is the guy replacing the lost starter, he might be a helluva lot better!
    • From time to time, a team will get WEIRD… and be a whole lot better or a whole lot worse… than they should be this year)
  • If the plan is sound, stay with it

2.  Ignore (most) Bowl Results and Spring Practice Crap

  • These are EXHIBITION games for the most part.
  • In Bowl Games where BOTH teams are fully motivated, you can make a few conclusions..
  • As for the Spring Game, coaches often STAGE the spring game:
    • Offense stinks? It is important the boosters and fans see some improvement and it might also give players some confidence (especially if season ticket sales are lagging)  

3.  Some teams are ALREADY in school – some start much later

  • Teams not in school are not restricted practice-wise, like those with school already in session
  • Consider the fall class schedule or calendar
    • Example: Look at an east coast team (many start early)… as a (road) favorite versus a west coast team (often start late). You better check the school schedule, as it could make a difference

4.  FBS vs FCS –  your first look (most always) should be to the smaller school

  • Most bettors blindly bet the big school, which often results in the spread being a few points higher than it should be.
  • Some Head Coaches love to beat the hell out of the weaker team (when they can), others could care less.
  • Some FCS teams are highly motivated and play hard all 60 minutes, some are there to pick up the check, especially if they have a big game is on deck.


WHY does most everybody LOSE MONEY at this?

One reason, without a doubt, is this:

Because you don’t have the GUTS to try and do your best

Sure some guys don’t have the time, which means, as long as you half-ass your handicapping, you can ALWAYS say, “well I could really win at this if I only tried,” or “if I had more time.”… I hear this in the sports book every single day!

You’ll have to think about this one a bit: “It’s a way to relieve pressure”

INDEED it is… The FEAR of and INABILITY to deal with FAILURE or REJECTION is often the biggest obstacle we face. This is totally ridiculous, because we all fail at some point.

Having a few bad weeks? Bam! Now you are questioning yourself… EVERYBODY is calling you an idiot

  1. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Making money at this is difficult!
  2. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make you money?

The GOOD NEWS is, like most other things, if you simply apply yourself you WILL make money at this!


1.  Ask yourself, what SHOULD the line be anyway?

  • Am I getting a good deal?… or am I getting screwed?

2.  Know the NUMBER you want (or team if you must) BEFOREHAND

  • OFTEN making notes Saturday and WORKING all day SUNDAY.
  • Try to look 2 to 3 weeks ahead… or more.
  • The goal is to be ready to take advantage of opening numbers.

3.  Know WHEN and WHERE you can bet the best numbers. You should have at least THREE places to bet. I know it’s a grind!

  • KEY:   knowing which way the line will (likely) move is HUGE. IF you don’t know what the (correct) line is to begin with…good luck.
  • WARNING: waiting until late in the week…. checking out who likes what… betting after lines have “settled” (say Tuesday or so), or have closed (close to kick-off), virtually ASSURES you will lose money long term.
  • Of course, MANY will INSIST they halfass it by betting all favorites late and do just fine. All this means is that they were LUCKY, or have not placed enough bets for an adequate sample size   

4.  Know HOW MUCH you will bet – write it down

  • ROUGHLY 1-2% of your bankroll, slightly more maybe if you’re pretty good, less if you stink.
  • Don’t give yourself the OPTION of crazy or emotional bets. Write down your wager amount and stick with it.
  • WHY is this bet size important? Because it allows you to lose plenty of bets, without running out of cash.
  • IDEA:  digging into the subconscious again sorry – KNOWING YOUR LIMITATIONS – is huge beyond words… seriously.


  • In fact… the more you believe you can… actually INCREASES the chances your bias affects your decision making               

5.  The more ways you can breakdown a match-up… the more money you win… PERIOD

  • In My Opinion, the SPOT is of utmost importance…
  • Consider:  how has this team (under same coach) performed in this same spot?
  • It’s not simply a situational thing like off of a loss / travel / or a lookahead, but HOW has this coach PREPARED his team given this situation?

NOTE: “Spot” covers situational and technical issues… I prefer psychological and history.

  • Match-up you bet is HUGE, but handicapping it takes a tremendous amount of time… and is often POORLY understood.
  • AND match-up stuff is most easily detected by the oddsmakers anyway, therefore often reflected in the line. An ACCURATE assessment of the SPOT is often very poorly understood, therefore it may be missed.
  • BUT analytical stuff, as in the greatness of Bill Connelly, is  OFTEN not reflected in the point spread.
  • WHY? Most folks hate math and reject it’s application to handicapping.
  • HINT: The stuff that Phil Steele gives you is great, but it is likely to be in the line anyway… Bill C?… probably not yet.

 6.   The Most Important?

  • Avoid, at all costs, handicapping a match-up “standing alone”. Meaning there is always a BIG PICTURE that tells the story.
  • What does THIS game REALLY MEAN To each coach and to each team?
  • What was the GOAL when the season began?
    • To make a bowl?  A “meaningless” FCS game may be huge now.
    • To win the conference?  A non-conference game may be forgettable.
    • To make the play-offs and win the national title?
  • It’s a long season, the head coach might just want to win the game, pick his spots and avoid peaking too early.
  • For some reason, folks have a tough time accepting we SELDOM do our absolute best in whatever it is we are doing.
  • A college football team is a bunch of 18 to 22 year old babies (essentially), who may have only 2-3-4 great weeks an entire SEASON.
  • An intelligent head coach knows when to push the correct buttons. Look at SABAN, URBAN and DABO. How often do we see them really EXTENDING their team in a game they are going to win anyway?
    • Note:  Urban, in the past, was incredible in non-conference games, but has slipped a bit recently. Saban could not care less, but still usually covers with an incredibly vanilla game plan.
  • When thinking MOTIVATION, don’t think gameday, think of the WEEK of PREPARATIONinstead.
  • How FOCUSED was the team during the week… NOT on gameday… fired up.
  • Think PLAYERS, not coaches or fans.

7.  Learn to Use Your Own Ideas…

  • Try to rely on OTHER’S opinions a little less each year.
  • If you only use other’s opinions, you will never get better, only more confused.

8.  Don’t be a cheerleader – be CRITICAL of the contest you are watching

  • Don’t be a crystal ball type handicapper – you JUST KNOW Texas is gonna be great this year…..WHY?
    • If you can’t EXPLAIN in simple terms WHT – you shouldn’t bet it!
  • A hunch play every now and then is fine… a card full of hunches (going with my gut man!) is stupid and will lose you money

9.  Play on a team BEFORE they get better…not AFTER

  • Put in the work – find teams that are (probably) better or worse than they appear. That way you can stay ahead of the line and not simply REACT to a strong or weak performance.
Scroll to Top

Nullam quis risus eget urna mollis ornare vel eu leo. Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed 

Join our newsletter and get 20% discount
Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue
Skip to content