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Misleading Information

College Football Betting: Misleading Information

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Information gathering is a key part of any bettor's routine. In college football betting, information generates insight, which is the key weapon we have in our arsenals as sports bettors. That obviously heightens the importance of the quality of the information we receive. We need to be selective in what we let seep through into our analysis.

We also need to make the distinction between information that befits the bettor and information that aids the fan. Two very different things. In fact, most of what you hear on TV, radio, the internet, or the newspaper is geared to the sensibilities of fans. All we want is information that is going to help us cash in on winners. That means we need completely different information than what guides the fan.

That doesn't mean it's not OK to watch ESPN and look at highlights. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with listening to a local sports radio talk show. It's just that we need to be careful to not allow those things to poison our betting. On ESPN, for example, you will watch highlights. It's like a Cliff Notes for the game. If we depend on that to form our opinions, we are missing an awful lot of nuance. Sure, homers and dazzling defensive plays are great, but what wins or loses most games are the things that don't make the highlight reel.

Another element of fan-driven sports reporting is the overboard opinion-making. Those who are in the roles of casting their opinions know they need to have strong stances on different issues. If not for those sometimes-extreme opinions, they wouldn't be on a show in the first place. To varying degrees, it is entertaining to hear some of these loudmouths pontificate on college football. Letting one of those guys form opinions for you is a train-wreck waiting to happen.

Some of our information can come from people we know. If we love college football, chances are we have associated with like-minded people over the years. Many of us are fortunate enough to have friends or family members who have an enlightened view on college football. Others are not so well-informed. The thing about sports is that it's a lot like politics. The strength of people's opinions is usually not matched by the strength of their actual knowledge-base.

None of this is meant to imply that it's OK to be a college football snob. No one likes that. At the same time, when we are in the midst of sports betting, we need to be careful how we are influenced by outside voices. Many of us have seen it happen to us before, where a guy at the bar spouting off about football says things that totally contaminate our minds.

There's nothing wrong with people going on about sports. At least they like sports. We actually have something in common with them. It's just that understanding college football along the lines of betting is a completely different discipline of knowledge and skills. A guy can be able to name every Rose Bowl winner since 1930, that doesn't mean he knows squat about wagering.

A lot of times, we don't need other people to lead us astray--we do a good enough job of that ourselves. As we look at things like past results and box scores, we can be led to believe something that isn't actually the case. Scores are not always accurate reflections of games, as we well know. Any number of things can lead to a deceiving final score and if we're not looking between the lines, we might lead ourselves astray.

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Another telltale bettor miscue is to place an over-abundance of importance on events that we personally witnessed. This was especially true when we were younger, but this dynamic can still affect us when we become adults. Perhaps you remember as a kid seeing a player a few times and he was just awesome. Then at some point when you get older, you find out that the rest of the world didn't share in your opinion of that player. We just tend to process things we see with a lot more credence than the million things that we didn't see.

So be careful who you listen to out there. And don't be your own worst enemy by gathering faulty data. Just because a running back is galloping up and down the field every time you watch him play doesn't mean he's going to the Hall of Fame. And even though the guys you hear on TV and radio need to know sports well to have a high-profile media position doesn't mean they can help you win bets. Suffice to say we're going to lose our fair share of bets along the way. Just don't let faulty information be the leading reason.

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  • College Football Conferences - List of all NCAA football conferences including the teams that make up each conference.
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