When handicapping NCAA football, the way that you analyze matchups will be important. Matchups involve how the defense on one team and the offense on the other stack up against one another. They also compare offense against offense, and defense against defense.
In the first type of matchup, you’re comparing which side of the ball will dominate the other, and in the second, which squad is better than the other. Matchups are also concerned with special team play. Here are a few specific tips regarding matchups that will help you refine your focus on which college football team has the edge in a specific game.
Style of Play
How does one team’s offensive style of play matchup against the other club’s defense? If a team runs a no-huddle offense against a defense that is big but fairly slow or inexperienced, the offense may have the edge. However, if the same type of offense is up against a defense that is quick, experienced, and fast, they may have no edge at all.
Another example of style of play would be a heavy blitzing defense that comes up against a team that has a truly skilled and talented option quarterback. That defense probably has less of an edge against that team than they would when playing a team that focuses on running set passing and running plays.
D-line and O-line
Head-to-head, which will dominate the other: the defensive line or the offensive line? The O-lines and D-lines are crucial to any team’s ability to dominate the other. This really is where games are won and lost. There are many different questions with which a college football handicapper should be concerned.
Questions to answer include: Which is more skilled and experienced? Which will use their size better? Does either have a dominant player? How fast is each side of the ball, and how well does each play as a unit?
Unlike in the NFL, college football features the quarterback option. This play is almost never run in the pros due to the fact that quarterbacks are so valuable and vulnerable. NFL quarterbacks simply could not stand up to the weekly abuse they would endure when running the option and exposing themselves to repeated hits.
College football is a bit different in that the defenses, although big, are not half as large as the players in the pros. In addition, the defenses tend to be less skilled and the option has a much better chance of success on the NCAA gridiron than it does in the NFL.
Speed Versus Quickness
In sports, there is speed, and there is quickness. Either side of the ball has the potential to possess one, both, or neither. Speed has to do with how fast a person can run or the overall ability of a squad to cover a lot of ground quickly. Quickness has to do with reaction time and how much time it takes someone, or a group, to adjust to a specific action or to execute an action.
An example of someone who has great speed and quickness would be a running back who can cover 20 yards in a few seconds, while making adjustments to elude defensive players who are trying to stop him. That back is much different than a ball carried who can achieve momentum quickly but is unable to alter his route and therefore tries to run through the opposition.
Any player and any squad can possess speed and/or quickness. A college football handicapper who can recognize which team has an advantage in these two areas and what that advantage means could have a key to the game.
When working on college football matchups and preparing to bet, being dedicated to the process is important. Well-executed matchups are key to any handicapper’s ability to make smart sports bets. Much of the time in college football, non-conference play puts mismatched teams up against each other and conference play their tends to offer more parity. For this reason, it is essential to analyze the matchups between competing teams’ offense and defense.