College Football Betting Recap For Week 3
Football content contributor Ron Marmalefsky offers his college football Week 3 betting recap as well as his lookahead to Week 4 of college football kicking off on Thursday! What are his takeaways and look aheads from a betting perspective? Read below now!
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College Football Week 3: Betting Recap
Welcome to my Monday recap of last Saturday's NCAA football action. In the first section I will discuss concepts that I believe are underrated in handicapping circles.
After that, I'll look forward to one of the best slate of games that I can ever remember, which will take place this coming Saturday, September 23rd.
College Football Week 3: What Did We Learn
A closer look: No one can dispute that Fresno State is a better team as compared to Arizona State, but as I've said for years, turnovers matter. Favored by 3, Fresno won 29-0, which to the casual handicapper, makes it look like sheer domination.
The turnover ratio looked like this: ASU had eight turnovers, while Fresno did not commit a turnover. Each turnover is worth 3.75 points in the college game.
That's 30 points from turnovers, fully explaining the score. Fresno had a trio of very short scoring drives, and Arizona State had no rhythm on offense.
Total yardage was close, and fairly low. My takeaway for Fresno is yes, they are 3-0, but they came from behind in each of the first two games to barely win (Purdue, E Washington), and were gifted this one.
My takeaway for Arizona State is that this defense might be a bit better than people think, but they have a new staff and 50 new players, so the growing pains are evident.
In my season previews, available on this site, I often discuss the value of using line of scrimmage data. Running matters in the NCAA.
I also discuss how I adjust my running numbers, not just using what's printed after the game. I adjust for sacks, kneel downs (team rushes), and negative yardage due to fake punts, bad snaps, etc. Here are two examples from last week: Florida State ran 34-128, or 3.8 per carry according to the box score.
They held off a pesky Boston College team 31-29, and then ran out the clock with kneel downs. For the game, they lost 17 yards on “team” rushes.
If you take those out of the equation, which you should, the adjusted rush figure is 30 for 145, or over 4.8 yards per carry. Fresno, as noted above, had a great defensive effort last week.
The posted defensive rush numbers showed 30-69, however, Arizona State QB's showed a stat line of minus 65 yards.
If you leave the carries flat, and just take out the sack yardage the new figure becomes 34-134, or nearly 4.0 per carry allowed on traditional run attempts. Sack yardage in the NCAA comes out of the run figures, unlike the NFL.
Understanding pass rush ability is important, but when just determining if team A can run and stop the run vs. team B, I use adjusted running numbers in my analysis. Yes, read the box score. NOTE: These are modest examples, as I've often had to correct data much worse than this.
One of my pet peeves is how otherwise very solid handicappers drop the ball when factoring in special team play. Why is it that this area gets so little attention in various handicapping models?
People tell me it's not an exact science, much like predicting turnovers, but that's only partly true. Remember Nebraska over the years?
This storied program went without a special team coordinator for several years, and it showed. In one recent season they lost five or six close games due to blocked kicks, missed field goals, return touchdowns, etc.
There's no one method for evaluating that unit, but you WILL notice if you read my previews that I pay attention to special team play more than most. Here's an excerpt from Iowa State's preview this year.