Why You Need to Identify Inflated Point Spreads in College Football

Longhorns’ Xavier Worthy #8 and Bijan Robinson #5 could celebrate again in Week 6 against the Sooners despite opening as a double-digit underdog. Tim Warner/Getty Images/AFP

Point spreads can make all the difference in the world which is why it is critical to not only find the sharpest numbers but to understand why lines rise and fall.

Let’s talk about how these fluctuations in the betting markets can be the difference between winning and losing and how you can use the Odstrader tools to maximize your bankroll.

Opening as a double-digit underdog, the Texas Longhorns are now only +3.5 at most sportsbooks in one of the oldest rivalries of college football and a matchup that, historically, has had closer scores despite the recent form for both teams. Was the line on Oklahoma inflated?

Arbitrage, Anyone?

Many years ago, the college football odds at all of the best sportsbooks had much more wiggle room between them than they do now.

You would see a -8 at one book while another was offering -6, leaving a big old seven right in the middle that would be a welcome sight for those engaged in the art of sports betting arbitrage. Bet the underdog +8 and the favorite -6, cross your fingers, and hope the game lands on seven, and you win both sides! If the favorite wins by six or eight, you get a push and a cover. Money, money, money.

And if none of those three scenarios transpired then you would win one side and lose the other with the vig as the only money coming out of your pocket. There was a wide enough margin between the lines back in the day where arbitrage was a game played by the number-crunchers who wanted as little skin in the game as possible and no vested interest in one side winning over another. It was all about the numbers and hoping they fell the right way.

But the information age has taken hold and the lines are much tighter than they were in the old days. But that doesn’t mean all the books are necessarily in lockstep with each other. We often see differences of a half, or maybe a full point that can mean the difference between getting a cover, a push, or a loss. Getting the best number is critical if you want to make money in this environment and knowing what to look for is vital.

Feel like shooting the moon? With OddsTrader you can shop around for different lines. Feeling confident about Stanford losing by just 13? You can take them +13.5 at one sportsbook while laying a little bit on Arizona State -12.5 at another.

What Do the Lines Say?

On any given Saturday during the months of September, October, November, and December, the slate of college football games is extensive, to say the least. It is often difficult to determine which games are worth betting on because there is so much information to review.

Why bet a nationally televised game, where the oddsmakers are going to be hyper-vigilant considering all of the money being bet on one side or the other when you can isolate a lonely MAC game that will generate little interest and even less scrutiny?

But regardless of what games you bet on and where you bet them, sometimes the line movements can tell quite a story. Injury reports are a big part of handicapping our college football picks and sometimes those reports aren’t complete. Injuries can occur at any time, even in warmups shortly before the game that can have a drastic effect on the line.

Knowing that the Rebels star WR Jonathan Mingo was seen in a walking boot previous to the Alabama game might have been an important detail for some Ole Miss bettors on Week 5. With OddsTrader you get the latest news of injuries in real-time.

If you see a line suddenly swelling on the favorite then make sure the starting quarterback on the underdog isn’t suddenly incapacitated. Conversely, if the line plummets the same can be said of the quarterback, running back, or star wide receiver on the favorite.

Another overlooked aspect of the betting lines focuses on the neutral site games. When reading the lines, the bottom team is always the home team or, if they are side-by-side, the team to the right is universally regarded as the home team.

Whenever you see that sportsbooks are taking down the line, know that something important took place. WIth OddsTrader you can stay on top of these details and avoid any ugly surprises.

But understand when a game is being played at a neutral site with no home-field advantage to either team, one side is always designated as the visitor and the other the home team.

It is a designation in name only but we often see bettors making the mistake of assuming the team on the bottom or to the right is the actual home team, therefore, the lines might look askew.

Remember, oddsmakers give the home a team a three-point edge meaning if Alabama met Ole Miss on a neutral site and the Crimson Tide was installed as 12-point favorites then they would be 15 (12+3) point favorites at Tuscaloosa.

Make sure you know the difference and to check out the lines, and more importantly, what’s behind them before you bet them! Check out the OddsTrader betting strategy blog to improve your bankroll management.

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