College football lines and NFL betting lines may look the same but you need to realize that they are vastly different when you handicap the games.
Football lines in college football look similar to NFL betting lines but the way you handicap the games is different. While both football lines are based on public perception the big difference between pro and college football is the amount of teams and the far greater tendency of college football to have mismatches, both real and perceived, in football lines.
Football lines in the NFL have the parity and competitive balance factor to take into account. The pro teams are basically very even in ability and rarely do you see big NFL betting lines. College football, on the other hand, will often have pointspreads that are over 20, 30, or even 40-points each week in football lines. College football has far more teams than the NFL. You will see as many as 60 games in a weekend of college action compared to the 16 NFL betting lines. Many college football teams play in small media markets and those that do play in the major media outlets still face competition for coverage and attention from the local professional teams.
College football lines are focused on the power teams like Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, and Texas that everyone has heard of and respects. Then there are the rest of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference teams, such as Iowa, Missouri, and Oregon. Then there are the elite non BCS teams such as Utah and TCU. And then the rest of the non BCS teams such as Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Lafayette that get ignored in football lines.
You will find that the traditional power type teams get most of the attention and money throw at them in terms of the football lines. This is especially true when these teams are home favorites, which causes those teams to often lack board value. The more popular teams in the college football lines are often the worst bets that you can make. Conversely, however, you will often find value with the lesser known teams versus the football lines.
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