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Keeping Good Records

College Football Betting Advice: The Importance of Keeping Good Records

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When learning how to bet on college football, one of the first things you will hear about is record-keeping. Keeping good records will give you insight into your own wagering that can help you refine and augment your game. When handicapping college football, we take a lot of different elements under consideration. We need to be dedicated when it comes to handicapping ourselves, just as we are with the games on which we wager.

It’s not easy. We spend enough time handicapping the games that it can an extra challenge to keep good records. And after a Saturday of potentially infuriating games, who wants to sit there and document their misery? After losing a series of close ones, no one wants to write about it. But if you want to learn anything from your records, you need to include the unpleasant data--which could be the most revealing information.

Any rudimentary records will include vital information like the date, teams, score, and result. That’s good information, but it’s not enough. We’re not merely tracking our bankroll and keeping tabs on our won-loss record. We are attempting to isolate out strengths and weaknesses, see what common problems we have in our bets, and see what things we typically either overlook or over-value. We also want to determine if we’re receiving good value.

A good way to figure out if you’re getting the short end of the stick is see how your bets relate to the closing line or spread. In college football, with a lot of games and teams that are under the radar, you will see a lot more line movement than you do in the NFL a good deal of the time. There can be some wild swings. It raises the importance of making sure you are falling on the right side.

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Again, we need to look at it like the stock market in a sense. The opening line comes out, which serves as a public offering on a stock. The market (the betting public) then processes the price and acts on it. Depending on the action, the line or spread either stays the same or it moves. The people determine how good the line is. Therefore, the closing line is the more accurate price. It is the standard by which you should measure your ability to get the best price.

We need to account for where we stand in relation to the closing line. And obviously, we want to be getting a line or spread that is consistently better than the closing price. As bettors, we are constantly hunting for little edges. We’re searching for a percentage point here, a few percentage points there--and soon we accumulate enough edges to make betting on college football a potentially profitable endeavor. If you see that the price you receive on a line or spread is 5 cents or a half-point better than the closing line--that is a very good sign worth a few percentage points on your wagers, which is huge.

Include room in your record-keeping for anecdotal information. When you win a game, there are normally a few factors you can account for that swung the game in your favor. And when you lose, you can usually figure out why. Sometimes, it comes down to happenstance--a bad call here or player error here. It happens and you can’t predict it. Other times, you can see that a team is just not up for the game. Or there was an injury you knew about, but decided to overlook it and it came back to bite you. By including details like that, you can perhaps start to see some common threads and then you can make the proper adjustments.

Record-keeping when you wager on college football takes work and patience. You might need to spend years accumulating records before being able to extract meaningful information from the process. The sample pool needs to be big enough and that could take a long time. Trying to analyze merely dozens of bets can be misleading and any trends you notice could just be random. For a successful or failing trend to be detected, the sample pool needs to be quite big or you could jump to false conclusions. But after a while, you can gain an edge by identifying your strengths and weaknesses by keeping thorough records.

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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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