Maximize Your Best College Dogs

LIVE DOGS TEND TO COVER FIRST HALVES AND FULL GAMES

As you saw once again this past Saturday in college football, 2010 is looking like it's going to be the year of the 'Live Dog.'

There were upsets galore on the TV schedule. How often do you hear that from announcers? Almost every week...of every season...going back to the invention of television!

I've talked a lot about underdogs already this season. What I want to do you today is remind you that you should be trying to maximize your best underdog opinions by also betting them in the first halves of their games. The public already hates betting underdogs. They REALLY hate betting dogs at shorter prices in smaller time frames. That means they're betting favorites in the first half lines, giving you free points on the underdogs.

Let me show you something interesting. There was a slew of underdogs of more than a field goal this past Saturday that won their games outright. Here were the halftime scores in those affairs. I'll run through them in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule.

SYRACUSE (+8) 13, SOUTH FLORIDA 9
Halftime: Tied at 3
The scared public would never take a team like Syracuse with a short number like +4 next to their name. Syracuse was in this the whole way, and found a way to pull off the upset.

ILLINOIS (+9) 33, PENN STATE 13
Halftime: Illinois 20, Penn State 13
Penn State never even looked like the better team in this game. It was a horrible line, and Illinois was close to having things in hand by halftime.

MICHIGAN STATE (+4) 34, MICHIGAN 17
Halftime: Michigan State 17, Michigan 10
I love taking underdogs in rivalry games as you know. They often win the first half outright because their motivation is so high. They don't always hold on for the full 60 minutes. The Spartans were able to do so here and cover Vegas expectations by three touchdowns.

WESTERN MICHIGAN (+5) 45, BALL STATE 16
Halftime: W. Michigan 31, Ball State 6
I'm sure many of you don't follow the MAC very closely. There have been some great underdog situations in this league over the years. In fact, a final score like this...representing a 34-point cover(!) will barely make a longtime bettor bet an eyelash. When a MAC dog is going to cover, it's going to be a first half and full game win most of the time.

EAST CAROLINA (+8) 44, SOUTHERN MISS 43
Halftime: East Carolina 17, Southern Miss 20
East Carolina fell behind 20-0 in the first quarter and still came back to cover the first half! This was a dog that looked like it was dead to rights in the opening minutes. Great comeback.

SOUTH CAROLINA (+7) 35, ALABAMA 21
Halftime: South Carolina 21, Alabama 9
You probably watched this one on TV. I've talked often about how #1 teams have a target on their backs. This means they get the very best from most opponents. And, those opponents often start out VERY well in the game because they're at peak motivation why the national power is just playing the next game on its long schedule. Carolina was up early here, and coasted to easy first half and full game covers.

LSU (+6) 33, FLORIDA 29
Halftime: LSU 20, Florida 14
LSU was a very talented dog, and Florida an unproven favorite in terms of top competition. Both the first half and full game lines failed to capture that reality.

FLORIDA STATE (+6) 45, MIAMI 17
Halftime: Florida State 24, Miami 7
Another state rivalry game. Another underdog jumping to an early lead and holding on for the duration. And, this was similar to the game just above it with FSU being a very talented underdog, and Miami being a turnover-prone untrustworthy favorite.

BYU (+4) 24, SAN DIEGO STATE 21
Halftime: San Diego State 7, BYU 14
BYU was long overdue to come out of its funk. And, this line was so out-of-character for the series that many longtime Vegas veterans just bet the dog on principle. BYU showed up from the get-go and got the win.

OREGON STATE (+9) 29, ARIZONA 27
Halftime: Oregon State 17, Arizona 7
When did Arizona start getting so much respect? You get a few wins in the Pac 10, and the West Coast media tries to sell you as a national power. Arizona was down 10 at home at halftime because they were reading too many press clippings.

PURDUE (+8) 20, NORTHWESTERN 17
Halftime: Purdue 10, Northwestern 10
Northwestern shouldn't be laying over a TD in conference play except in very rare circumstances. As bad as Purdue is this year, they battled NW even the whole way before eking out the upset.

HAWAII (+10) 49, FRESNO STATE 27
Halftime: Hawaii 14, Fresno State 10
The visitors really pulled away in the second half, but they were already leading at the break as a clear underdog. Bad lines all the way around.

This list should emphasize a few things to you:

*Vegas is doing a HORRIBLE job analyzing a lot of college teams this year!

*You should be taking advantage of that in FIRST HALVES in addition to full games.

Now, obviously, this is a cherry-picked list after the games have ended. Not every logical underdog from this past Saturday covered in the first half or the full game. Clearly not every dog that makes some sense is going to score an outright upset either. But, over time, you'll GET THE BEST OF IT by betting your best options as many ways as possible. In fact, some believe that live dogs are BETTER in the first half because that's when you're going to get their best 30 minutes. No fired up team waits until halftime to show that emotion. It's there at the beginning. If your team runs out of gas in the final moments of the fourth quarter, you've already got that first half winner in your pocket.

Keep that in mind as you handicap college football games the rest of the season. The networks are going to keep talking about BCS Chaos. Those headline upsets typically see underdogs get the money in the first half. Why are you leaving money on the table?

by contest-winning highroller Tony Salinas

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