One of the hardest things for any sports bettor is to consider how a team’s latest result might affect the team’s next performance. The media have a way of glorifying any good performance and exacerbating any negative games, and this clearly has an influence on the betting public. I’ve talked about this in the past as to how it affects the early-season action in both college and pro football, as for the most part, watching sports has become a “what have you done for me lately” world. The key is to recognize that there are certain results, and situations, that should be treated differently than others. These spots provide varying degrees of momentum, or alternatively, negative mojo, that will affect a team’s preparation level for the next game.
After digging through my college football database, looking specifically at the last 10-plus seasons of FBS football, I was able to uncover some specific situational records that bettors need to be weighing in their weekly handicapping. These are game-to-game systems that are based in foundational logic.
Some of the concepts I sought to uncover involved situations like letdowns, drastic changes in point spreads from week to week, big conference victories or losses, and even the degree by which a team won or lost a game. There are certain games throughout each team’s season that mean more than others, and the results of those games can lead to varying performance levels by teams as well as mixed reactions from oddsmakers. The combination of the two leads to betting opportunity. You’ll see this in week-to-week systems below.
Note that the data I have used covers FBS regular-season games since the start of the 2011 season through Week 4 of this season, unless noted.