#Betting101: Where Will the College Football Lines Close?

#Betting101 Wolverines

Jason Lake

Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 4:29 PM GMT

Week 1 of the 2017 FBS college football season is already underway, and the NCAAF odds are already on the move. Where will they end up? Sharp bettors have an idea.

Football! It’s a hell of a sport, still the No. 1 attraction in the U.S. by a country mile – and gaining in popularity across the globe. More people bet on football in North America than all the other sports combined. How about you? Are you new to the game? Have you been doing this for a while, but you want better results from your NCAAF picks?

Then welcome to #Betting101. We’re spending Week 1 of the FBS season by laying out a basic, time-tested process for dealing with the college football odds. If you haven’t already caught our first two chapters on what makes a sharp sharp and how to start finding bargains on the odds board, make sure to click those links. Now let’s get to Chapter 3: Timing is Everything.

 

Saturday in the Park

One of the things that sets football apart from the other sports is how few games they play. Most FBS games are played on Saturday, and the lines for those games are published well in advance, usually about a week before kick-off. This gives all the bettors in the marketplace ample time to study the teams, weigh their options, and make a sharp pick or two.

Okay, I couldn’t keep a straight face, either. The vast majority of bettors don’t think too much about their picks; they’ll just throw a few dollars at their favorite teams, usually after work is done Friday. Sharp bettors get on the horse right away and jump on soft lines as soon as they’re available – or they hold off, if they think the line is going to move in their favor. This sets up a betting pattern that you can anticipate and even mimic, thus increasing your chances of getting the best price for your picks.

 

Early to Rise

The easiest way to observe this pattern (if you can’t afford to hire other people to do it for you) is to look at our consensus reports. These are thin-slice betting surveys that take a snapshot of the marketplace and see which teams are pulling in the money. If you see early action on a team, it’s probably sharp action.

Let’s revisit those two Big Ten teams we were thinking about fading. The Penn State Nittany Lions are hosting Akron this Saturday (noon ET, ABC), and our consensus reports show 60 percent of early bettors on the Zips, driving the spread down from Akron +33 to Akron +30.5. Then the Michigan Wolverines visit the Florida Gators later that day (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC); the consensus was almost entirely on Florida at the open, and the Gators have moved from +4 to +3.5.


Like we said, timing is everything. If we had been on board early, we could have bagged Akron and Florida at the best price available. Granted, those lines were posted way back late June – one of the quirks of betting on Week 1 games – but you can use this same approach the rest of the season. Meanwhile, there’s still a chance the Zips and Gators will start moving back toward those bargain prices as kick-off draws near and recreational bettors jump on the Big Ten teams.

Moving forward, we’ll be using the nuts and bolts of this handicapping method to make “field experiment” picks on Thursday’s FBS games. Then we’ll check in on Fridays and see how the experiment is holding up. For now, tell us which team you’d like to fade this Saturday: Penn State, Michigan, both, or neither?


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Who Is Going Suck It Up and Be Worthy of a Fade for #CFB Week-1, #PennState or #Michigan?

— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) August 31, 2017
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