College Football.  It’s Almost Here.

                                                                                            Photo by  Riley McCullough  on  Unsplash

                                                                                            Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash

It’s never too early to begin preparing for college football season. With so much turnover each year, keeping up with roster moves and transfers during the off-season can really provide a leg up come autumn.

Although at times college football outcomes can seem very random and unpredictable, trends have emerged in the sport that bettors should be aware of. Being cognizant of these trends can be just as useful when handicapping as being able to analyze mismatches and game plans.

One trap college sports bettors will surely want to avoid is placing too much weight on a team’s ranking. The little number beside a team’s name can give false impressions of that team’s talent level. Remember that rankings are very subjective and that they reward a team for being hot, not necessarily for being better than those ranked below them. An emerging trend in college football exemplifies this perfectly. Take a look at these numbers dating all the way back to 2013 for ranked teams against the point spread playing at home against a higher ranked team: 

                                                                                                           'ATS' = "Against The Spread"

                                                                                                           'ATS' = "Against The Spread"

These numbers show that ranking does not mean as much as many think it does. If rankings were solid indicators of ability, upsets would be few and far between.

"One trap college sports bettors will surely want to avoid is placing too much weight on a team’s ranking"

As you undoubtedly know if you follow college sports, upsets happen all the time. Do not believe in the fallacy that the #3 team will beat the #7 team simply because of the little number next to their name. Do your research. Figure out why they are ranked higher and whether that advantage will hold in a head-to-head matchup.

This trend also illustrates the power of home field in big games. In a sport steeped with passion and tradition, a home field can be a major influence on the outcome of college football games. Sometimes even home field will not protect a team from a bad showing.

Over the past two seasons, home teams in non-conference games have posted ATS win percentages of 42.6 and 46.5, respectively.

Sometimes when playing an unimportant, low-stakes game you cannot rile yourself up, even at home. Research will determine which players and coaches regularly take advantage of home field and boost their performance. In certain situations, the home field effect is very real and tangible. Other times, bettors will be left scratching their heads as to how their team failed to secure that easy home victory.

Knowledge is power. Knowing the facts will give you the edge that just might make this college football season a memorable one.

Content Authored by Kreighton Rahn

All statistics courtesy of