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Leaving the Ego at the Door

College Football Betting: Leaving the Ego at the Door

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

A lot of college football bettors tend to have an over-inflated view of where they stand in the equation of wagering. The tendency on the part of many is to overrate their handicapping abilities and their knowledge. It's a very human trait. In many walks of life, people get carried away with themselves. Most people think they're better at certain things than they actually are. Or they exaggerate their role in the big picture.

As college football bettors, we are on our own. We pour over the information, use our insight as well as we can, and try to take everything into consideration when formulating wagers. It's just that at the end of the day--we're still more or less pawns in the big game. We simply will never be able to compete with the big dogs.

There are billions of dollars involved in college football wagering. Whenever there is that much money involved, we have to respect it. There are people who have their hand in the action to a far greater degree than we can ever achieve. To a large degree, we're just birds trying to feast on the crumbs left behind by the animals who are higher up on the food chain.

In college football betting, there are the whales--the bettors who work in syndicate groups who are the real movers and shakers in this business. We simply cannot compete with them in terms of information-gathering. They have a group of whiz-kids crunching numbers and taking into consideration every conceivable thing that could impact the result of a game. We can attempt to do some of that work, but we simply do not have the manpower or resources to compete.

They also have the ability to obtain inside-info that we can't get our hands on as easily. Remember the movie "Casino?" When describing the ability of the lead character, a monster college football bettor, Joe Pesci said "He would even know if the quarterback was on coke." We're not inside the sport like that. We're on our own.

The world of sports can have some unethical stuff going on. When teams are shaving points in college football, some of the real inside guys know what is going on. We, meanwhile, were in the dark betting on games we may have had almost no chance of winning. As bettors cut off from the real inside info, we can never be able to unearth some of these nuggets that the wise guys use to win bets.

We need to be careful to not fall into the role of being pawns used by the wise guys in the area of line movement. Some of us, and rightfully so, are looking where the smart money is going. We have no problem ethically or pride-wise in doing that. If guys are winning, we want their picks and our ego never prevents us from following a wise lead.

Where we run into problems is by misreading the wise guy line movement. We see an early line move significantly, we might automatically think that shows where the sharp money is going. Meanwhile, those guys might just be playing with the numbers, trying to move it where they want it to be so they can pounce on it with a really huge bet. So when we over-obsess on where the smart money is going without really understanding the landscape, we run the risk of being played for the sucker.


We need to respect our analysis, while also realizing whatever model we have will not usurp those of the wise guys, the real movers and shakers in the business. A lot of it is tied up in ego. We need to realize where we stand. There are things we can notice off-the-grid that might give us an edge, but in the area of game-analysis and the world of numbers, we can't really compete.

That doesn't mean we can't still win. It's just easier to do so in this role when we fully acknowledge where we stand. Even animals that are low on the food chain can get fat. Just because we're low on the pecking order doesn't mean we can't eat. It just puts things in better perspective when we realize where we stand. Going around thinking we're geniuses in college football betting is probably going to put us in a bad head-space. At the same time, if we are able to succeed on our own without being tied into wise guy syndicates, it makes it even a little more satisfying.

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