College Football Handicapping – Three Things to Consider

Handicapping College Football Three Factors to Consider
by Jerald of

There are many ways to handicap a football game but the approach I like to use is to back the team with the better stats. It is impossible to know what a team will do in the future but we can look at their past as a good indicator of what we can expect. Here are the some of the factors that I consider when comparing teams.

1. The stat that I use the most is Yards per Rush (YPR). This is a great stat because a team can have a lot of rushing yards but it may be because all they do is run. This is a stat that is important both offensively and defensively because if you can stop the run it greatly improves your chance of winning. I like to take this stat a bit farther than just the usual YPR number and compare it to how a teams YPR is compared to what their combined opponents have been averaging. For example, if a team is averaging 4.0 YPR against teams that average giving up 3.6 YPR then the they are actually .4 YPR better than average. If they are averaging 4.0 YPR against teams that average 4.4 YPR they are .4 YPR worse than average so the same stat can be misleading. I like to compare a teams offensive YPR to their opponents defensive YPR, if there is a difference of 1 YPR then you would assume that they should have great success running the football.

Lets look at an example:

Oregon offensive YPR 4.6 vs teams that average 4.2 YPR
Washington defensive YPR 4.4 vs teams that average 3.6 YPR

In this example, Oregon is .4 YPR better than the average of the opponents they faced. Washingtons defense does not stop the running game well and is giving up .8 YPR more than their opponents average so the difference is 1.2 YPR. This would indicate that Oregon should be able to run the ball very successfully and have a great chance of success in this matchup.

After deciding who has the advantage in the running game I take a look at the line for the game. If the team that I think is the better running team is an underdog, I would strongly consider making a play on that team.

2. Another stat that I use is Yards per Point (YPP). This is a stat that will tell you how efficient a team is. To figure this stat just take the total number of points a team has scored and divide by the number of total yards they have. This will give you their offensive YPP. To calculate their defensive YPP, take the number of points allowed divided by the total yards they have given up. The thing you want to look for here is an offensive YPP that is low and a defensive YPP that is high.

3. The last thing I would like to discuss is power ratings. There are many sources out there that have a good list of power ratings or you can make your own. I like to look for teams that are underdogs but have a higher power rating as the numbers would indicate that they have a strong chance of winning the game outright.

There are many other factors that are important to being a successful handicapper, hopefully these 3 things will help you in your quest for winners! Remember, bet with your head, not over your head!