Betting football is not the same for College and Pro football
If I ever listed my Top Ten all-time wagering errors, among them would be taking the same approach to betting College Football on a typical Saturday and carrying it over toward 1:00 PM on Sunday. Well, for some Noon or 10:00 AM if you're lucky enough to wake up in San Diego. Is a Whopper the same as prime ground sirloin? Both burgers. First class on Virgin Airlines compare to back row on Spirit? Both airline seats. You get the idea. Then why do we simply see a wagering line on both College and NFL Football games the same way. Makes no sense whatsoever.
College Football – David Tech +48.5 vs. Goliath State
The most obvious difference between professional football and college football is not just the level of play, but the incredible mismatches scheduled for the purpose of finance. It's almost a textbook example now for Division I schools to play lesser conferences for at least one or two games during the season to secure almost certain wins. Usually they occur in the first two weeks of the season for a nice 2-0 start. The flip side for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly Division IAA, schools are a customary needed payoff on the road to a sold-out, large stadium with big television money and exposure as a bonus. Result: a big win when you usually get killed.
The "uh-oh" part has occurred over the last few years as these small schools have become much more competitive and the big Division I schools have become greedy. Maybe it's also because of the many transfers and academic suspensions that have taken place. That doesn't happen in the NFL. You simply get a big-time lawyer like Tom Brady does or have the player's union muscle in.
Taking notice of this situation, a few schools have gotten smart to secure their top spot in the sacred COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLLS by scheduling big non-conference games early in the season. Like that Crimson Tide, of course. They could have played Kent St. in the opener (next week). Now you know why Alabama -12 hammered USC in the opener, are 2-0 and 2-0 ATS according to stats guru StatFox. Timing and polls are everything getting into that VOTED playoff at the end of the year. Gotta earn ur wins in the NFL.
Week 2 – Fat Spreads and Skinny Wins
The all-timer might belong to Georgia -53 or more at most leading offshore sportsbooks vs. Nicholls State. You're hitting Powerball before you know the mascot of a Nicholls State. It's the Colonels. A few preferred sportsbooks, including Bovada and BetOnline had this game listed at -55. Do you handicap the Colonels are 5-1 ATS getting over 50 points!! As it turned out the Bulldogs just squeaked by and won the game 26-24. An embarrassing upset was possible with 3 minutes to go. You are not a legitimate NFL team getting more than 17 points and that rarely happens, perhaps twice in an entire season.
Perhaps Clemson QB Deshaun Watson read too many Heisman Trophy clippings about how he's supposed to show up as the favorite. But that ceremony is in December. On September 10th the Tigers were -35 or more against Troy University. Tied 10-10 at halftime, the spread was never in doubt but the game sure was with Clemson narrowly getting a 30-24 victory to hurt their favor in the polls. A punishment forthcoming by pollsters who never admit to reading the betting lines in Nevada, at Bovada, Diamond Sports or anywhere else. Uh huh.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made headlines last week for picking his nose on camera. He obviously didn't pick the Wolverines to cover -37 at home vs. Central Florida. A giant number as they appeared at many leading online sportsbooks and some at -38 or more. Up 51-14 Harbaugh predictably pulled most starters as the Wolves cruised through the rest of the games while Central Florida was helpless. Is it worth putting yourself through this type of agony either way?
But my favorite betting line last Saturday belonged to Southern Miss -57 vs. Savannah St. If curious, not worth a Google search of what NCAA division the Tigers play in. They were just happy to pick up a check. Result: Southern Miss 56-0. Without scoring a single point you may have cashed with that +57. To make it worse, Southern Miss was up 56-0 with 4:20 to go in the 3rd period. Would you have been embarrassed holding a Southern Miss -57 bet while rooting for more unnecessary punishment to cover?
NFL Betting – Last Second Thrills and Torture
It just does not work this way wagering professional football folks. Take this Sunday's NFL betting card at Bovada as evidence.
We have one "freak" game on the board with last year's NFC champion Carolina Panthers playing their home opener. The Panthers are currently listed as a -14 favorite over the projected worst team in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers. That's it. Every other game is within 7 points and the majority within 3 points. It is untypical for more than one or at most two games on any NFL Sunday to fall over a low two-digit spread.
What that means, as opposed to College Football, is ultra-competitive NFL action, with both teams having an opportunity to WIN, regardless of point spread. Another reminder to pay close attention to the outright Money Lines that appear at preferred offshore sportsbooks. Surprisingly and more important statistically in a very high percentage of NFL games, the point spread is often meaningless.
This DOES NOT mean surrendering the points and taking the NFL money line on every underdog. Although I wonder if there is a guy out there holding a healthy money line ticket on the Colonels of Nicholls State to beat Georgia outright. He'd be retired today but more likely is in therapy now. Yes, betting College Football compared to the NFL is really, really different. No doubt.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.