nav-left cat-right

Tip # 7: DEFENSE

In the introduction to this 7-part series on college football handicapping we touched upon the fact that the game is always changing. Players graduate or turn pro early, coaches come and go as do different offensive and defensive philosophies and innovations. For these reasons teams are constantly adapting and reinventing themselves.

A successful college football handicapper will also need to make changes and adjustments to his handicapping methods in order to keep pace. That is why, on several occasions, we have pointed out there are no hard and fast rules when betting on college football. There are no guaranteed angles or trends that you can blindly wager on.

As close to guaranteed as you can get

However the last college football betting tip in this series is also the best. It is the one powerful angle that is most easily measured and understood. It is the first piece of the handicapping puzzle I look at when analyzing a college football game. It is DEFENSE.

For anyone seeking proof of the importance of defense in college football, you need look no further than the recent dominance of the SEC. While everyone else in the spread-offense era prioritized points, the SEC placed an emphasis on defense.

“We throw the ball way more than we ever did in college football,” said Fox analyst Charles Davis, who played at Tennessee. “No one rushes the passer better than the SEC. No one.”

Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who is now offensive coordinator at Alabama said “The difference to me is in the front seven, especially the defensive line. There are so many good front seven players in high school in the Southeastern region. Obviously a lot of them go and play in the SEC. Every week in the SEC, you’re usually dealing with a matchup issue somewhere up front.”

Three defensive college football handicapping tips

  • Don’t wager on Marginal Defenses favored by double digits or more – I have been tracking this theory for the past several years and it is just not a good bet. For example, last year over the last 6 weeks of the regular season, teams that allowed more than 400 ypg and/or more than 30 ppg and were favored by double digits or more were 28-29 (49.12%) ATS.
  • Always look at Good Defenses getting points (or as short favorites) – I am definitely not saying to automatically wager on them. I am simply suggesting that you include them in your weekly games to analyze.
  • A Good Defense without the assistance of their offense is half a team – This is one situation where I am very cautious to wager on the superior defense. One-dimensional teams are usually not good bets no matter how good their defense is. UConn was an excellent example of this from 2012. They had an excellent defense (# 9 in the country) and a pathetic offense (# 113). They ended up going 3-6-3 ATS.

I believe I could talk endlessly about college football handicapping and good defense, but I will leave it at this and suggest that you checkout the website for more information on the subject.



Get here via a link from a friend, or Twitter? This tip is a bonus to a 7-part FREE email course on essential do’s and don’ts for betting college football, Saturday Edge – style. We talk about college football betting strategies that work. To learn more about it sign up here.


FREE picks & handicapping tips delivered to your inbox Click Here To receive our FREE newsletter