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Combining Patriotism with College Football Betting Value

Updated: Aug 23

by John May @juandemayo

Are you interested in feeling patriotic while finding some good value in college football betting? If the answer is yes, then I have the perfect strategy for you.

Service academies, especially in games against big-time programs are likely to keep games closer than the average fans and oddsmakers expect. Only getting a few days to prepare for the triple option, an offense that nobody else is running is challenging. The service academies also tend to play with a little more effort for all four quarters no matter what is on the scoreboard.

The public is going to view the big programs against service academies as a gimme game, thus driving the spread to favorable value on the service academy. Being patriotic and rooting for the service academy while having a little skin in the game will be fun as well, and these days with all the streaming options service academy games are usually viewable somewhere.

Even this year with Notre Dame opening with Navy, I doubt Notre Dame is going to spend all of summer camp preparing for Navy. A little extra prep time might help, but there is still some value in the Navy with an inflated spread based on the Notre Dame Brand.

Service academies are also likely to keep the score low with the triple option running attack that keeps the clock running, thus making the under a decent option. Not a lock though, the bigger program could get on a roll and run up the score, and service academies don’t have big passing games capable of big comebacks.

A few recent examples of service academies doing well against big programs:

2022: Notre Dame 35 – Navy 32

2021: Wisconsin 20 – Army 14

2020 Cincinnati (they were undefeated) 24 Army 10

2018 Oklahoma 28 – Army 21 (OT)

The service academy did not pull off the upset in any of these examples, but they did keep the score close and low (except there was a high score in 2022 Notre Dame vs Navy).

The service academies do get blown out on occasion, but in general, when a spread gets high against a big brand or the over/under gets high when they are facing a high-powered offense there is good value on the service academy or the under.

Focusing on this year’s games the Notre Dame versus Navy game I like Navy to cover if the spread goes over 21 (20.5 on FanDuel right now) and the under if the over/under if it goes over 50 (49.5 on FanDuel), and I think both of those numbers go a little higher by kickoff.

Another interesting one a little later in the season is Army versus LSU. I like an Army cover and the under here as well even though the number is not out yet. I anticipate LSU putting up a lot of points prior to this game and people thinking they will do the same against Army, but I think Army keeps the score close and low.

I don’t advocate going all in and risking a lot on this service academy strategy, but a lot of states have legalized sports gambling, and it is a fun patriotic strategy with good value. And after all, sports are all about entertainment, so have some fun and lay a little on Army and Navy this year!

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