College Totals Calming Down



You may recall last year that college football Over/Under bets were causing quite a feeding frenzy in Nevada and offshore. Sportsbooks were in a bit of a panic because sharps were attacking the openers for the maximum allowable bets (which are lower on these propositions), then others would see initial line moves and jump on the bandwagon.

You'd see some totals move several points, and multiple totals would move a field goal or so. It got to the point that sportsbooks pushed back unveiling the openers later and later to do what they could to protect themselves.

This year? That's not happening. Here's why:

  • Sportsbooks and oddsmakers realized they had to post better openers, and made that a point of emphasis. I'm not going to go into all of their methodology because the part of me that's a Sportsbook Director and oddsmaker has to protect that side of the counter. Let's just say that better quality openers are going up this year.
  • Sportsbooks aren't reacting in a panic mode to early action any more. A lot of the problem with getting one-sided last season was that quick early moves signaled a bunch of "followers" to come on board. The market can smell panic the same way sharks can sense blood in the water. Sportsbooks are playing better defense this year in terms of their openers and their behavior.
  • In my view, the large number of new starting quarterbacks at high profile programs is an influence as well. Sharps don't have the same kind of faith in their numbers this year because new personnel are taking awhile to define themselves. What's the right total supposed to be if Penn State can't score on good defenses with a freshman quarterback? What's the right number with all the lesser programs who make changes at the position? Sharps are most dangerous when consistent athletes are performing against uninformed lines. In 2010, we have several inconsistent athletes performing against better informed lines.

Am I saying that the totals lines are just too good now, and you should pass them entirely? No, there are definitely edges you can find...particularly if you're following your local team or conference very closely. You'll still be better informed about THAT team and THAT conference than the oddsmakers most likely in terms of Over/Under performance.

  • You'll know whether a team going "no huddle" is really pushing tempo, or just standing around while the clock runs to keep the defense from substituting.
  • You'll know  when coaches are going to open things up because the locals are mad about the lack of production, or when they're going to get more conservative because the locals are mad about the number of turnovers and penalties.
  • You'll know how good the backups are in case a key starter gets injured.
  • Heck, you'll know the weather forecast before the market does too. We haven't had many weather situations come up this year in ways that would influence a total. That's bound to happen eventually. Be sure you're ready!

As I've said often, you're better off placing your legal football bets early in the process when the market is still immature, rather than later in the week when the sum of knowledge is better factored into the number. The only caveat here would be if you like an Under in a marquee TV game. Squares (the general public) don't bet many college totals. If they do, it's going to be in a big TV game...and it's going to be Over. If you like an Under in this kind of game, wait until the hour before kickoff to see if public action causes any line moves that may give you an extra half point or point (occasionally more). This may not matter often. It will matter enough over the course of a full season to make the wait worth your while.

If you like an Over in a TV game, bet it as soon as you can. Then, maybe buy back a little of it after a line move to set up a middle.

It's been an interesting year on the totals front, with many teams trying new offensive approaches, or breaking in new quarterbacks. I can tell you from personnel knowledge that many sharps are disappointed with how their totals bets have gone so far. That's music to the ears of sportsbooks. With limited square action outside of the TV games, it's mostly oddsmakers vs. sharps in this particular proposition.

I do believe YOU can add a few winners to your slate each week if you focus on the teams you know best, and attack the lines at their softest point. I hope you'll consider doing that this weekend and the rest of the season.

I sometimes release totals to my clients, particularly on the lighter weeknight schedules when the total can be the better option than the team side. Be prepared for that possibility when you purchase my Thursday and Friday plays this week. Arrive at the website a few hours before kickoff for Nebraska/Kansas State (Thursday), Connecticut/Rutgers (Friday), and Oklahoma State/Louisiana Lafayette (Friday).

Those plays will build your bankroll for a TV GAME OF THE YEAR that goes this Saturday in the colleges.

Big savings are available if you sign up for a full season of my BEST BETS. You can do that online, or call the office at 1-877-822-2276. football...and even the baseball playoffs...whatever the sport, whatever the proposition, the best information is going to come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!



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