College football isn’t exactly cyclical. Only 13 different programs have made the four-team College Football Playoff field in eight years. Of those, only five have won the championship. That’s useful information about NCAAF matchups when it comes to playing in big games, though rosters do rotate due to college education.
Finding NCAAF picks in big games and understanding the history of those programs continually making the playoff — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State — is useful during the regular season because that big game history can be due to a coaching advantage.
Understanding NCAAF Matchups
NCAAF odds are tough to predict, though somehow, the oddsmakers do a good job of making them close to the actual finish. In “buy” games, the Power Five conference team will likely be favored by three or more touchdowns and no moneyline will be available.
In the more competitive games, particularly facing familiar conference opponents, looking at history can be helpful. Looking back at the previous two or three years’ games can show how players fared. Especially for veteran teams, it is helpful to see how they’ve progressed against certain defensive schemes.
The history angle is best used for coaching. Seeing how those coaches fare head to head can show how one team may have a better scheme and be better prepared if their coach has won a lot historically.
Over/unders can sometimes be difficult to predict. Oddsmakers do a good job setting higher totals when two up-tempo teams are playing against each other. That’s especially true when depth charts are more certain later in the season and players are in peak condition.
When it comes to injuries, particularly at key skill positions, even if a highly rated recruit is replacing that person, game experience at the college level is different. A team may be able to compete in the first half because the game plan differs from if their star is in the lineup, but usually the second half, the game turns.