Wayne Root: College Teams After a Battle


College Teams After a Battle

One of the biggest keys to handicapping college football is anticipating how teams will respond after they just went to war in a hardfought battle. Will they have anything left in the tank? Do they have the depth to play just as well the next week as they did the prior week? What about injuries? What about mental focus?

As a general rule, college teams DON'T play well right after a war because it's impossible to maintain that level of intensity two weeks in a row. If there's a bye week right afterward, that helps a lot. But, if there's a big game right on deck...you often see either a tired effort, or an unfocused effort.

This is important THIS week because Oklahoma and Florida State really went to war last Saturday Night in Tallahassee...and both have to come back strong this week against respected opponents.

  • Florida State visits #21 Clemson, who just beat Auburn

  • Oklahoma hosts Missouri, who was ranked before losing an overtime road game

Both FSU and OU have a lot of talent, and may be able to bring enough energy and intensity to win and cover anyway. It helps FSU that Clemson is coming off a huge win over Auburn that may have drained the Tigers' tanks (did you see Dabo Swinney lose it in the postgame interview?!). But, there's also a chance that one or both FSU and OU will be in big trouble this week because they're back on the field so soon after a very physical war.

And...given the number of high profile games coming up Saturday, handicappers will REALLY be studying this issue NEXT week. Frankly...this is something that anyone who's serious about college football handicapping has to keep in mind week after week all year. Every conference has big games. Conference play will start to get serious this week, and will be in full swing nationwide very soon.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Never ask mid-level squads, or anyone who plays "over their heads" in a big game to come back strong the next week. Let's say, instead of OU/FSU, we're talking about OU having a surprisingly close battle with a team like Baylor or Iowa State. Don't ask Baylor or Iowa State to cover a week after a war. They don't have the depth. You should be looking to bet against these teams. In fact, some of my biggest plays every season involve fading exhausted teams who just improved their reputation by having a big game against a great team. The line responds to the temporary high level of play just before the team hits a wall.

  • Never ask teams with soft or shorthanded defenses to play well after a war. Tackling is the first thing that goes out the window when a team is tired or lacking focus. A great defense can weather this storm because they just drop back to being pretty good. But, an average defense or worse just falls apart. You want to load up against any soft defense that just got worn down in battle the prior week.

  • Be careful with highly regarded teams even if they DO have depth and a lot of talent. There are still emotional factors that come into play after a big win. There's too much celebrating. There's not enough preparation. And, the winner has a target on their back as they face a new opponent who's been quietly lying in wait. Many of my SHOCK THE SYSTEM upset calls over the years have involved fading big name teams right after a big game.

For many gamblers, the kneejerk reaction after watching a great game is to bet on the teams who just impressed you so much. YOU SHOULD BE LEAVING THEM ALONE OR BETTING THE OTHER WAY THE NEXT WEEK! Sure, you can take them again once they get their legs back. Or, once they have a chip on their shoulder after somebody stuns them.

I may or may not be playing FSU/Clemson and Missouri/Oklahoma come Saturday. I can tell you that some of my biggest plays this weekend in both college and pro football are tied to what happened last week. And, you can be certain that will hold true all season.

You can purchase all of my plays here at the website with your credit card. Or, for guidance on finding a program that best suits your individual needs, call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946.

There were hardfought battles last week. There are going to be hardfought battles this week. That's the very nature of college and pro football. That's why it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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