Baseball’s annual All-Star break means one thing for day-to-day sports bettors. It’s time to start thinking about college football!
This respite in the busy baseball schedule allows bettors to start their prep work for the Fall. Preseason annuals have been on newsstands for a few weeks already. Many sportsbooks have posted Regular Season Win totals and “games of the year” point spreads for marquee matchups (the earliest it has ever happened). You can use those as research tools as well, letting the combination of oddsmaker openers and early sharp money guide your thinking.
Here are some key points of focus for those of you beginning your college football team evaluations this week:
HEAD COACHING CHANGES
This is typically the single biggest factor behind dramatic changes from one season to another. Bad teams with new coaches have a chance to gain several points in Power Ratings as an enthusiastic attitude takes hold. Good mid-level teams who lost their coaches to better conferences might fall off the map. Job 1 for handicappers is to make a list of all coaching changes in your area of focus (your favorite few conferences, or the entire board).
The second largest impact factor for team quality is quarterback performance. Stars can carry their teams to victories (and you to point-spread covers). Mediocrities (or worse) will continue to implode against quality defenses. Job 2 is to write down the name of each team’s projected starting quarterback (or the guys fighting for the job), and evaluate their season-by-season statistics to date.
VSiN believes it’s very important that you do your own stat evaluations of quarterbacks. Too many quarterback assessments are way too optimistic. To believe some scouting reports, everyone is going to get better with offseason prep work. Many will be reportedly playing for offenses that will better suit their skill sets. Readers get the idea that there will be 100 Heisman Trophy candidates who won’t ever throw interceptions.
Some QBs will improve. You’ll be surprised how many have already peaked, particularly at losing programs. Much of the money you make this autumn will come from properly fading overrated quarterbacks. Start evaluating in that light now.
OFFENSIVE LINE EXPERIENCE
Go through “returning starter” recaps to see which teams are returning most or all of their starting offensive linemen and which teams have to completely rebuild. This is a hidden foundation for straight up and market performance in major and mid-major conferences.
Once the season begins, evaluate offensive line performance by studying stats like runs-per-carry, sacks allowed, and turnovers committed. Even though offensive linemen don’t touch the ball (except for the center snap), turnover data is often directly related to strengths and weaknesses up front. Hurried quarterbacks make mistakes.
Take advantage of this break in the schedule. August gets busy because MLB is going on daily, and the NFL preseason slate is under way. Suddenly, college football’s started and you barely know what you’re alma mater’s doing. Work now so you’re ready to win in September.
VSiN’s College Football Betting Guide will be out later this month. If you are a single-edition purchaser, visit VSiN.com/subscribe to find out how to get this special publication.