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Cram Session: Blueprint to successfully betting college football

Dearly beloved and degenerates,

We are gathered here today, on the opening week of college football, to mourn the loss of one of the game’s most generous men, the honorable Jim Tressel.

For the past decade, few coaches put more money in gamblers’ pockets than Tressel, bless his little red sweater vest.

Jim was a man of integrity and impeccable scruples … when it came to covering the spread and his players’ tattooed backs. His Buckeyes exceeded the betting market’s expectations 61.8 percent of the time with a classy 76-47 record against the spread during his 10-year tenure. He was money in Big Ten play (48-30-2 ATS) and when coming off a loss (13-5 ATS). Jim was certainly a giving man.

We’ll miss him, but, like all great leaders, he would want us to move forward.

So let’s go get some free tattoos and gamble.

Welcome to Cram Session 2011.

DP’s Blueprint to Successfully Betting College Football

BET ON
 
•    The over in Rice games: Owls’ games have eclipsed the total a ridiculous 69.3 percent (70-31) of the time since 1999.

•    The eventual national champion: The last 11 BCS champs went a combined 92-42-2 ATS, with only the 2007 LSU Tigers finishing below .500 against the number.

•    South Carolina at 20/1 and Virginia Tech at 45/1 to win the BCS title: Then hedge when they get in the mix late.

•    Virginia Tech in November: The Hokies under Frank Beamer are a ridiculous 22-4 ATS in November since 2004.

•    Oregon at home: The Ducks are 25-9-1 ATS in Autzen Stadium since 2005.

•    TCU in MWC play: The Horned Frogs are 31-13-2 ATS in conference play under coach Gary Patterson.

•    The under in conference play: In the past five seasons, the under has cashed 52.73 percent in conference games.

BET AGAINST

•    Oregon State in September: The Beavers are 8-19 ATS in the first month of the season under Mike Riley since 2003.

•    Home underdogs: Home-field advantage is over-valued in college football. Last season, home dogs covered only 44.06 percent (115-146-6) of games.

•    LSU in SEC play: Les Miles is 15-31-4 ATS in conference play at LSU.

•    UTEP in November: Mike Price-coached teams are 22-48-1 ATS in the month’s final season.

TEAMS WITH THE BEST PLAYERS

The folks at NFLDraftScout.com and The Sports Xchange ranked the top 750 NFL prospects of 2012. Here’s a look at the teams with the most NFL talent).

Miami – 15:  How many of them are eligible come kick off is up in the air.

Wisconsin – 15: If Russell Wilson was the missing piece, the Big Ten is over. No other Big Ten team has more than Penn State’s 11 draft prospects.

Alabama – 13: The Crimson Tide’s opening opponent, Kent State, has two NFL prospects.

Virginia Tech – 13: Lot of hype about the Hokies being a real sleeper this year.

Clemson – 12: Surprisingly talented, the Tigers will be waiting for Florida State the week after the ’Noles host Oklahoma.

Georgia – 12: Plenty of dynamic playmakers on both sides of the ball, if they can stay healthy.

Missouri – 12: All that’s lacking from the team with the most NFL prospects in the Big 12 is an experienced QB.

Notable: Duke has seven NFL prospects. Auburn has four.

12 MONEYMAKERS

When betting against 10 percent juice, anything less than a 52.4 winning percentage will cost you money. Sharps and pro bettors shoot for between a 55-57 percent success rate. But 55 percent for a recreational gambler is a legitimate goal.

Since 1999, 12 teams have covered the spread in 55 percent of their games:

1.    Boise State: 62.67% (89-50-3)

2.    Oregon State 60.70% (82-54-1)

3.    Connecticut: 60.0% (72-46-2)

4.    Oregon: 58.45% (83-59)

5.    Ohio State: 58.21% (85-60-1)

6.    Iowa: 57.63% (83-59-2)

7.    Utah: 57.24% (79-57-2)

8.    Virginia Tech: 56.95% (86-65)

9.    TCU: 56.33% (80-61-1)

10.    Navy: 55.88% (76-61-2)

11.    Hawaii: 55.24% (79-63-1)

12.    Boston College: 55.17% (80-65)

10-WIN ATS TEAMS
 
Since 1997, 18 teams have finished a season with 10 or more ATS victories. Twelve of the 18 began the season unranked. Five began the season ranked in the Top 10, and only one began the season ranked No. 11 to 25.

Eleven of the 18 teams of the 10-ATS-win teams came from BCS conferences.

BAD NEWS

“Overall, college football has been pretty good, but that's not necessarily because we had good numbers. We've had a real trend of top teams going down week after week that just jolted the Favorite/Over pack of bettors. Maybe there's been a little parity, I'm not sure about that though. All I know is college football has been very unpredictable and that's always good for the bookmaker.” – Pete Korner, founder and head oddsmaker at The Sports Club in Las Vegas.

TEAMS THAT WILL BE FASTER

Clemson: New offensive coordinator Chad Morris has installed an Oregon-like tempo that helped produce 130 plays in the spring game, up 22 from last year’s spring scrimmage.

Pitt: Todd Graham brings over his high-octane scheme from Tulsa. Panthers’ quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for more than 400 yards in wet, windy conditions during the spring game.

West Virginia: Under the direction of Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers racked up more than 800 yards and 87 points in the spring game.

Arizona State: "We're at the point right now where I'm yelling at him to get the play in faster. The average speed I think of the quarterbacks (in Saturday's scrimmage) was right about 10 seconds after the ball was set and the whistle was blown." –ASU QB Brock Osweiler, who estimated that ASU was around 15 seconds last season in the Arizona Republic.

THE NUT QUESTION

If you can’t answer the following question, you’re going down this year – Why are you going to win more money betting college football this year than last?
 
“I worked harder than ever during the summer. Since there was an NFL lockout, I spent extra time in May, June and July updating and improving my power ratings, re-assessing coaching and player changes, while also reloading my database of Coaching Spread Patterns. Those three areas of work have me way ahead of the competition going into 2011.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.

“In my view, confidence comes with preparation, experience and success, as it does with most activities or sports. My confidence that each season will produce good results is based on several years of long-term results and profits in 10 of 12 years and near breakeven in the two 'off' years.” – respected Covers.com forum handicapper nostradamus12.
 
“I'm not going to pass on games just because they look 'too easy'. Many of those 'easy' games tend to be just that, particularly early in the college football season.”  -- Covers Expert Sean Murphy.

TRENDLESS HANDICAPPING

“Trust your eyes,” advises respected Covers.com forum capper Boom_Boom, who has won at least 25 units for eight straight seasons betting college football. “Most bettors try to find that ‘scheme or special trend" to help them wager from week to week. I do a ton of homework on college football as you can tell by reading my college football breakdown. But most importantly, I trust my eyes.”

Boom won 28 units on posted plays last season. I lost .01 units, going 23-21-2 in my Payneful Picks.

PAYNEFUL PICKS

Oklahoma -24 / Oregon -3 / Ohio State -33.5 / Troy-Clemson: Over 55.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

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Hide All Responses
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Posted by David_Payne
3 years ago

@ skankserwhere : Great idea for a story: Which coach has covered the most points total. Petersen's got to be way up there. Thanks for reading everyone and happy football. If you're not following us on twitter @CoversSports, please do. I'll be hosting Saturday morning handicapping tweet sessions throughout the year. Join us https://twitter.com/#!/coverssports
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Posted by skankserwhere
3 years ago

Boise State has the highest winning percentage despite laying 30 pts or more just about every game. incredible... this program is sooooo good chris pederson might be the best coach in college football. fo real.
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Posted by BigDh28
3 years ago

Good read. Thanks David.
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Posted by RazorSharps
3 years ago

awesome stuff
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Posted by jagerfury
3 years ago

Will observe the predictions...
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Posted by Ashton_Grewal
3 years ago

Great column DP. Love the tribute to Tressel. Gotta love a coach coach who enjoys running up the score.
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Posted by David_Payne
3 years ago

Thanks, D-Wade. I'm sorry T-Gibson dunked on you in the playoffs.
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Top Response

Posted by Ashton_Grewal
3 years ago

"Great column DP. Love the tribute to Tressel. Gotta love a coach coach who enjoys running up the score."