Finding Opening Week Underdogs in College Football


by Wayne Root
Contributing Sportsbook Editor


We're now just a few days away from the start of the 2014 college football season. You can bet that THE KING OF UPSETS is looking to unleash some shockers in this week's openers. I have more documented UPSET CALLS than any other handicapper in history! I'm very excited that I can start adding to that lifetime total very soon.

I'm not going to talk about specific teams today because I have to protect that information for my clients. There's still time for the lines to move two or three points against us if word gets out early. But, I can tell you the keys I'll be looking for when making bets/releases on Week One College Football underdogs.

QUARTERBACKS

It's very likely that any upset call I'll make this week will have a team that's led by an experienced quarterback. That's not a 100% rule of thumb because my research will often uncover a newcomer who's likely to take the sport by storm in a way that oddsmakers won't anticipate at first. But, this position is so important that I couldn't possibly make an upset call unless I was very confident about how my signal caller will perform. Dogs find it hard to cover...and find it REALLY hard to win outright if they have shaky, rusty, or outmatched quarterbacks. It doesn't matter what other strengths the team may have...they're not getting the money with a bad quarterback in Week One. Struggling quarterbacks look even worse when they're rusty! With upset calls, you need a quarterback who can WIN the game for you. That usually means experience in fourth quarters.

OVERCONFIDENT FAVORITES

I always try to remind readers that my best upset calls come "against" favorites who are likely to play well below expectations. I'll make normal-sized "value" bets on solid underdogs. But, BIG bets and upset calls have to involve both the dog and the favorite. I need the combination of pro-dog and anti-favorite input to step out like that. there are certainly some teams who could come in very overconfident this week because they spent too much of the summer reading press clippings about how great they were going to be. I've been looking at the polls...last year's bowl results...and upcoming schedules to get a feel for potential flat spots from this week's favorites. Some pundits will tell you that it's impossible for a team to come in flat for their season opener because they're so excited about getting to play again. Yet, year after year, we see arrogant favorites take dangerous dogs too lightly.

EXPERIENCED DOGS

Hopefully by now you've got a feel for returning starters on all Las Vegas board teams. Experienced teams are often able to pick up right where they left off last season. Ideally, they'll improve because veteran teams make the most of summer preparation. A lot of dogs can be eliminated from consideration right off the bat because they don't return enough starters. Be sure you know which dogs DO return a lot of starters, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines.

INEXPERIENCED FAVORITES

Oddsmakers usually guard against public money in Week One, and the public tends to wager on big name programs that they've seen on TV quite a bit. Now, the public has no idea how many of those big name programs lost a lot of key starters! They want to go with the teams they've always wagered on. WAYNE ALLYN ROOT loves to step out with SHOCK THE SYSTEM calls against power programs who are trying to rebuild on the fly. Some of the biggest August and September shockers through the years have come with this dynamic in play.

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