NCAA Football Handicapping: Game 2 Hangover

by Tom Stryker

Season openers in college football are never easy to handicap.  Unlike the NFL, there are no exhibition games.

Some analysts will argue that the second game of the year is even more difficult.  There is a tendency to either overreact or underreact to a teams’ performance in their opener.  Personally, I believe college teams are never as good (or as bad) as they’ve looked in their first game and their true ability to play likely rests somewhere in between.

It would be difficult to argue the point that conference games in a season opener take on a greater level of importance.  Losing your first game of the season would be tough.  Dropping that battle to a conference foe would make the beating even worse.

Wondering if there was any value in taking (or fading) a team coming off a conference war in their season opener, I turned to the Team Stryker Database  and found an excellent wagering situation that is worth noting.  Here it is: 

Since 1980, PLAY AGAINST any college football home underdog or favorite of -19 or less in their second game of the year provided they opened against a conference foe and their opponent is competing in their second game.

39 Year ATS Record = 64-37 ATS for 63.3 percent

It makes perfect sense.  Off an emotional battle against a conference foe in their season opener, our host struggles to match that intensity in their second game of the year.  There are a couple of parameters that can be added to this technical situation that really make it pop.  If our “play against” home team is NOT going into revenge and is facing a foe that is NOT off a blowout win of seven points or more, this system drops to a shocking 9-30 ATS.  

Good luck, as always,
Tom Stryker

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