Home dogs in NCAA Football

Playing at home in college football is a massive advantage, perhaps more than any sports outside of college basketball. The problem is that oddsmakers know this and thus adjust the lines heavily. For example, if last Saturday’s Kansas State/Texas Tech game was played at K State, the line would have been K State -4 or more. But, it was played in Texas and the line was Tech -3.5.

Last week was a banner week as many of the nation’s top teams were asked to go on the road. The public pounded the road favorites, while sharps grabbed value in the home doggies. Here’s the results of all the home dogs:

Cal +3 vs. USC: Road cover
San Jose St. +6 vs. Hawaii: Home cover
Duke +11.5 vs. FSU: Road cover
Texas +7 vs. Okla State: Road cover
UConn +7.5 vs. South Florida: Home cover (outright win)
Ole Miss _27.5 vs. Alabama: Road cover
Maryland +9 vs. Clemson: Road cover
Memphis +13 vs. ECU: Road cover
NMex St. +1 vs. Idaho: Home cover (outright win)
Kansas +37 vs. Oklahoma: Home cover
Bowling Green +8.5 vs. Toledo: Home cover
Miss State +3 vs. South Car: Home over
Kent State +3 vs. Miami OH: Road cover
UVA +7.5 vs. Georgia Tech: Home cover (outright win)
Tennessee +16.5 vs. LSU: Road cover
Colorado State +32 vs. Boise: Road cover
Wake +7 vs. Va Tech: Road cover
Auburn +3 vs. Florida: Home cover (outright win)
Vandy +13.5 vs. Georgia: Home cover
Wash St +20 vs. Stanford: Road cover
Fresno +2.5 vs. Utah State: Home cover (outright win)

RESULTS: Home dogs were 10-11 this week. If you bet $100 on each home dog, you would have lost $210. On the season, home dogs are now 55-55-1.

THOUGHTS: Betting home dogs in all sports used to be a much more profitable strategy. But as the general public gets sharper and more information is readily available, the edge is down to almost nothing. It’s still better than Level 1 aka X team is better than Y, let’s bet on them. But we’re going to have to go beyond the Level 2 reasoning of: Let’s bet on X team because they are getting points at home.


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