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New Rules, New Totals?
September 03, 2006

As you probably know by now, there has been a rule change in CFB. Number 3-2-5-e states: “When Team A is awarded a first down, the clock will be stopped and will start on the ready for play signal”; previously the clock would start with the snap after any change of possession. The clock also runs upon kickoff, rather than the ball being touched.

Possession changes about 20-25 times in a game and with a 25 second clock this new rule is likely to cut at least a few minutes of playing time from the average game. Fewer plays should equal less scoring. Simon Noble of Pinnacle Sportsbook estimates an 8% decrease in scoring and their linesmakers are following suit with a proportionate decrease in posted totals.

How did the bookies do? Well, I suspect it was a “juicy” weekend. Week 1, through Saturday’s games has seen an almost perfect split of 21 Over-19 Under based on the consensus closing line. Proper adjustments seem to have been made on sides as well. Favorites are 21-18-1, the push being that marquee matchup between Temple and Buffalo. The rule changes haven’t made Unders more likely, nor have they made it harder for Fav’s to cover.

If we dig a little deeper however, we’ll find that one old adage remains true. If you like the Under, you must also like the Under-dog. In the 19 Unders above, the dog went 11-7-1 ATS. What about vice-versa? Higher scoring games favor the favorite. The Fav’s went 14-7 ATS in the Overs.
Bear both these principles in mind if you bet same game parlays. Fav/Under and Dog/Over are not the way to go.

Reed Hogben M.D.

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