October 16, 2008
By Stephen Nover
LAS VEGAS – Let’s talk football totals. Are ‘over/under’s’ easier to win at in college or NFL?
The question was put to a Las Vegas totals expert. He goes by the name of Charlie and he’s been specializing strictly on totals for the past 11 years. He’s willing to share his knowledge if his last name isn’t used.
“College is easier because of the wider selection,” he said.
In the NFL you have a choice of 13-16 games with a point’s range of 34-51. There are 52 college games this week, added board games included. College totals can range from 36 points all the way up to 80, which was last week’s ‘over/under’ on the Rice-Tulsa game.
Charlie said his strongest college totals play this season was going ‘over’ 57 on the New Mexico State-UTEP matchup in Week 3. The total got as high as 64 and still went ‘over’ with New Mexico State winning 34-33.
“The linesmaker is never going to miss by seven points on an NFL total,” Charlie said.
Just like on sides, there are key numbers when betting totals. The top five most important ‘over/under’ numbers, Charlie said, are 37, 41, 44, 38 and 45. None, though, compares to how vital three is on side bets. Games are decided by a field goal around 12 percent of the time. Thirty-seven comes up the most frequent on totals, falling around 4.8 percent of the time, according to Charlie.
These numbers and tendencies hold more true to NFL games.
“In the NFL so many games fall in the 34-50 range,” Charlie said. “There are key numbers. There aren’t that many key numbers in college. The extra point isn’t automatic. A lot of times, college coaches will go for two.
“You have kids making a lot of mistakes. You have a disparity in talent. It’s harder for the linesmaker to make a total.”
College scores can be far more unpredictable.
“You have more pouring on in college,” Charlie said. “If you’re up 37-3 in the NFL and it’s in the fourth quarter and you’re kicking a field goal, your Brethren coaches are going to pooh-pooh you and you’re going to get bad press.
“In college the coach can make an excuse and say I’m going for rankings, or I’ve got a guy going for the Heisman Trophy. Or I have the alumni betting on us.”