5 Things To Know Before Betting College Football In 2023

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
college football betting

The college football betting landscape changes in a big way in 2023. Ten FBS teams find new homes, two more join the FBS ranks, and major rule changes take effect this coming season. August is here, which means college football is right around the corner. For many, this will be their first season betting college football odds. But even for veteran CFB handicappers, it’s worth noting these changes.

Let’s go over five of the biggest changes to note ahead of the 2023 college football season.

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5 Things To Know Before Betting College Football In 2023

Changes To Clock Rules

Since 1968, the clock stopped after a first down until the referee reset the football and gave the OK to run it. Not anymore – the clock will continue to run following first downs, except for the final two minutes of each half. Those of you more familiar with the NFL, this may not even be that notable of a change.

But how the new rule affects point totals and game flow is up for debate. Some camps believe it will decrease scoring due to a logical tie to clock runoff. Others believe it may not affect scoring at all or even increase it due to teams running more up-tempo and taking less time after first downs. Currently, no one has a rock-solid answer one way or another.

Should the rule change really affect scoring, sportsbooks will be quick to adjust (or even overcorrect!). There may be more opportunity betting college football point totals in Weeks 2 and beyond than right out of the gate. Preseason over/unders don’t suggest too dramatic a change in scoring is inbound.

Service Academies Will Look A Little Different

A rule change banning a two-man cut block took effect in 2018. But it was last year’s ban on cut blocks outside the tackle box that really shook things up for triple option offenses. Air Force, Army, and Navy have been forced to adapt to the cut block ban – a style of block instrumental to running the Wing-T triple option. As a result, you’ll see adapted styles of offense for the service academies.

Navy hired Grant Chestnut as their offensive coordinator. At Kennesaw State, Chestnut ran a modern spin on the triple option – one run out of spread formations from the shotgun that requires fewer cut blocks and implements more passing. Army brought in Drew Thatcher of Nebraska-Kearny, who also ran a modified triple option from the ‘gun. Air Force had already began adopting newer offensive systems.

Sadly, you won’t see much Wing-T triple option football in 2023. Quite possibly, we may not be seeing a sub-35 over/under in Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy games, either.

Conference Realignment

The star of the 2023 offseason show kicked into effect July 1. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF join the Big 12, with the latter three leaving behind the American. In response, the AAC poached six programs from Conference USA (Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB, UTSA), who then scooped up two independents – Liberty and New Mexico State – and two inbound FBS teams, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State.

Those two inbound FBS programs, along with last year’s new addition James Madison, are not eligible to win the Conference USA championship nor play in a bowl game.

This season has the most number of teams on the move, but 2024’s movement is the most impactful. This offseason, zero Power Five programs change places. Next offseason, Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC, UCLA and USC join the Big Ten, and Colorado re-joins the Big 12.

Sportsbooks have waffled on win totals and futures odds for these new teams. Keep an eye out for early conference games to be mis-priced as books adjust their ratings of these newbies.

No More Divisions

The American, Mountain West, and Pac-12 already nixed divisions in leu for a Big 12-style “best two teams” conference championship. This year, the ACC joins the group and the Big Ten and SEC follow in 2024 after their expansion. The most impacted by this change are ACC odds, who long had an imbalance between their divisions. From 2013-19, every team from the ACC Coastal made a championship game, with no repeats. The route to Charlotte just became markedly more difficult for Pitt, North Carolina, and other intermediate ACC contenders.

Next season, just the MAC and Sun Belt will have the divisional format.

Transfer Portal Effects

Last season was truly the first “free agency” period of college football thanks to the transfer portal. The first case study was USC, who hired Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma and brought in a plethora of transfers. The Trojans jumped from 4-8 to 11-3 and nearly in the College Football Playoff field, and turned out Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.

When Deion Sanders went to Colorado, he turned the volume up to 11. Over 50 transfers signed with Prime Time and a total of four players in the projected two-deep were even on the roster last year. Should Colorado turn the Buffs around with this method, it could set a precedent moving forward for how to change programs overnight.

Not to be overshadowed by the publicity of Colorado, Texas State added 37 transfers, Arizona State added 30, Ole Miss added 27, SMU added 26, and Louisville 25. For context, USC added 20 last season – surpassed by 12 teams this year.

Power ratings may not accurately reflect major overhauls of the roster via the transfer portal. We advise caution when betting these turned over teams in the early season.

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