College Football: Who is the Public Betting On?
Who is the public betting on today in NCAA College Football? BetVega.com provides daily public betting trends from a collection of online sportsbooks providing betting public consensus picks percentages.
In the NFL, using public betting percentages can tell you a whole heck of a lot about a game, and seemingly more often than not, if you’re on the right side of those plays, you’re going to be a winner. In college football, the game is a little bit different, and using college football betting percentages is a much trickier game.
The reason that there is so much trickery in using the college football public betting percentages is because far too often, bettors just assume that a team that has so much betting action on it must end up being the better side to wager on. Often times that does end up being true in spite of the fact that it is contrary to the thoughts of conventional wagering which suggests that you want to be going against the public. However, line movement is the key item that you really have to look at.
The oddsmakers can’t possibly put as much time into handicapping out their college football odds as they do their NFL odds. The simple reason is that it comes down to quantities. There are 32 NFL teams, and on a week where no one is on bye, there are only 16 games to line. In college football, there are 126 teams at the FBS level as of 2014, and there could be 70 games per week to handicap, including the games between FBS and FCS teams. On top of that, oddsmakers have also been releasing betting lines for FCS vs. FCS games too, and that adds another several dozens of games to try to handicap on a weekly basis.
However, assuming we’re just sticking with the FBS vs. FBS games, college football public betting percentages don’t tell the whole story. The Florida State Seminoles, who won the National Championship in 2013, have become a popular team to bet against in 2014. They were -23.5 at one point against the NC State Wolfpack in the middle of the season, but by the time the game kicked off, that line was down to -16.5.
Just using the college football betting percentages, you’d see that around 60 percent of the betting action was on NC State, and one would assume right away that the Wolfpack were sharp. In this case, you’d be right. In fact, even if that number was up in the 70 percent range, we would still think that the oddsmakers just got that line wrong and all of the betting action, both sharp and square, was on the right side with NC State.
However, you have to stay true to looking at both the college football public betting percentages and the line movement. Had that FSU/NC State line not moved a full touchdown, the Seminoles would have been sharp, as the line would have not moved, and yet only 40 percent of the action would have been on the garnet and gold. You’ll often see this where unranked teams are favored over ranked teams or where perceived better teams are only short favorites on the road over perceived worse teams. Often times, you’ll see that the perceived better team is getting 70 percent of the betting action, yet the line isn’t going anywhere. That’s how you know that the perceived lesser team is one that is sharp, and then, you’ve mastered the art of using college football public betting percentages.