College Football Matchups

Kelso's Advanced Handicapping: College Football Matchups

As promised, I'm back with two reports this week to get you ready for the start of college football. I'll talk about some important general matchup themes for you today with hopes that you'll apply them to this weekend's games. Then, I'll be back on Friday with more notes that can help you find pointspread value, particularly in big TV games like Boise State/Michigan State (Friday Night) and Alabama-Michigan (Saturday Night).

Hopefully you're all up to speed in terms of your summer research. You've made a list of the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on every team. You've studied news reports to see if any were suspended or injured in recent practices. You've noted which high impact DEFENSES should also be considered as gamebreakers. You've listed all the new starting quarterbacks, all the new head coaches, and hopefully even all of the new offensive and defensive coordinators.

With that information, I want you to comb the WEEK ONE slate for the following combinations.

Go Against: Offenses with new quarterbacks, particularly those on teams that had a lot of personnel turnover, especially if there's a new offensive coordinator or head coach. If this team is playing on the ROAD, then you need to go against them even more aggressively.

Go Against them WITH: Defenses that have experience, and had average or better statistical rankings last year...particularly with a defense that's playing at home.

Now, it may be hard to find a game where ALL of those indicators converge together exactly as you would hope. But, there are several where many are in play. And, that's enough to get on your short list of possible selections.

Why?

Teams who aren't ready to start the season because of new faces will:

  • Have trouble finding the end zone

  • Be prone to turnovers, particularly high impact turnovers that set up cheap points

  • Have trouble playing from behind, which causes things to blow up even worse

  • Struggle to score late for backdoor covers

Blowout city! This particular way of looking at football has helped me find many major release September winners over the years. These are games I win 42-10, 50-14, and sometimes even 63-7. Generic Power Ratings don't find these games because they can't capture how different elements work together to cause a game to blow up. On paper, it looks like the favorite is about 16-20 points better. On the field, it turns into a rout because turnovers set up so many cheap points.

Now, things can work just as well when you flip it all around and look at the best prepared offenses.

Take: Offenses with experienced quality quarterbacks, particularly those on teams that have a lot of returning starters, especially if there's stability on the front line and on the coaching staff. If the team is playing at home, you're likely to see a blowout laugher.

Take them AGAINST: Defenses from smaller conferences that are undersized and inexperienced. It doesn't hurt if coaching changes have mucked things up even more for the opposing defense.

This is a beautiful combination if you love watching high quality college players march up and down the field to score at will. I hear many pundits, and even some fans complaining about all the one-sided games we see in September. Let me tell you something. Vegas oddsmakers have BIG troubles with those kinds of games because they have no idea where to put the number. You see a lot of volatility because oddsmakers underestimate true blowout potential when it's there, but overestimate true blowout potential for some big name programs that are in the process of rebuilding.

Experienced favorites will cover by 2-3 touchdowns against overmatched dogs. Less experienced favorites will FAIL to cover against dogs who have some talent

It's YOUR job to find those offenses who can blow and go...and it's YOUR job to learn the difference between an overmatched dog and a live dog.

I have several great examples in mind this weekend. The very best options will be released to my clients with high unit-ratings. If you're having trouble finding these blowout covers, you can sign up for my full season, or you can purchase them individually on game days right here at this website with your major credit card. (Note that my opening week College Kickoff Blowout of the Year is scheduled for this weekend...last year it was Mississippi State -31 over Memphis 59-14 with the Bulldogs reaching a whopping 645 yards of total offense)

I'll be back with you on Friday for our next class here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. The topic will once again be college football. We'll spend plenty of time this Fall with both college and pro action. The college regular season is now just hours away. The pro regular season starts a week from Wednesday when the Dallas Cowboys visit the NY Giants in a national TV game on NBC.

We've been waiting all summer for football to arrive. The regular season is finally here! That will make our coursework even more invigorating and enriching. I look forward to serving you all season long right here on these pages. I'm truly humbled and honored that so many of you consider Kelso Sturgeon as the Dean of Sports Handicapping.

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