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 Handicapping early mismatched college football games

The first few weeks of a new college football season can be challenging. Especially, for small schools who must often face college football teams from major conferences.
This is often the result of those major teams scheduling a weaker opponent to see where they stand, and to work out their issues before the tougher in-conference part of their season begins.  Sometimes this decision occasionally backfires, but more often turns out with the major team beating up on their inferior opponent.
On the other hand, a few teams each season will decide to start their season with a big marquee matchup, to boost BCS points or earn bragging rights.
These marquee games usually attract a lot of attention, and with that, increased betting volumes, making handicapping these games a real challenge for college football bettors.
To help handicappers make informed decisions, we have put together a few factors bettors need to consider when analyzing these types of early season games.
First, handicappers need to look back to last season, taking into consideration how well each team ended their prior campaigns. And while a lot can happen in the offseason, like graduating players and promising new signings, other things that can change a team’s dynamics, might be player suspensions, or a team playing under NCAA sanctions.
Those things can really effect a team’s motivation factor, which is the second thing a handicapper needs to take into consideration.
Next, bettors need to compare how the two teams have fared in early games in the past.
This can have a lot to do with coaches. Some who are consistently successful preparing their teams and getting them motivated from game one. And others that need a few games to get their team’s rolling. If a coach has a consistent record of starting their seasons strong, especially against top level opponents, that could give a handicapper valuable  insight to effective wagering.
Yet, another thing bettors can look at is the team’s returning depth on offense.
Typically, in early in the college football season, defenses have the edge, as offenses work out their kinks. However, a team that returns a good amount of offensive talent on offense, will usually require less time to adjust.
And while a team with a returning, talented quarterback is usually noticed by the betting public, a team with a experienced offensive line may not. Presenting a lot of value for handicappers that can identify it.
Finally,  location, location, location.
The impact on a team’s performance based on where a certain game is being played is extremely important. That’s because these early games are often played in neutral locations. However, not all neutral locations are really “neutral.”

If a location is considerably closer to one school than the other, it can create more of a  home game experience for that school, usually showing up on the betting board in the spread numbers.