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Success Comes From Within

College Football Betting: Success Comes From Within

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

When betting on college football, you have to learn to become a self-reliant force. That doesn't mean we completely shut out the voices around us, but we can't allow others to form our opinions for us. It seems almost too simple, but what you allow to seep into your subconscious will play a crucial role in your overall results.

One mistake many make is paying too much reverence to the oddsmakers. Some college football bettors allow the oddsmakers to play too much of a part in forming their opinions. One of the manifestations of this is how some bettors perceive favorites. They look at the odds and see that the oddsmakers have installed one team as a favorite and something snaps within their mind.

In a sense, some of it stems from a good place. You should respect the bookie. They're the ones who are in business year after year. They're building replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Vegas for a reason and one of those is that the house knows what they're talking about. It's just that we need to be careful. When a book posts a line, that isn't an iron-clad recipe for how everything is going to unfold. It's an expression of odds, not so much an opinion.

Some unsophisticated bettors look at the bookie's odds and take it as gospel. They see a team is a -300 underdog on the money line and they figure that team should win and they make a bet. From what we know about handicapping and sports betting, there is no way this can work. You can't just blindly take favorites and think you're going to make a profit over the long-haul. You can bet favorites, don't take us wrong. It's just that the pick needs to be created internally, where you really like a team's chance to win and the odds are good. In other words, even though the team is favored, you're getting a better price than you suspect.

That involves handicapping. It requires insight and work. When you bet on a big favorite, you might win. You might win more than once. You might even compile a decent winning streak. That's not the point. Our journey as college football bettors does not take place over a 5 or 10-game window. Let's be realistic. We're going to make at least hundreds of bets during our lifetimes. And if that's the case, we know in our bones that blindly signing off on favorites will not work. We need to have better reasons for betting on something than the fact than the bookie made them a favorite.

A lot of bettors let the odds do their work for them. They see a team is listed at -400 on the money line. Like maybe they're betting on a team, for example. The favorite is a -9 favorite on the point-spread. Unwilling to subject themselves to risk, bettors might think "I will have a huge upper-hand if I bet it on the money line." While on one hand, you will be far more likely to win without having to contend with the point-spread component, you are also betting almost 4 times as much to win the same amount.

That means while the guys betting on the spread just need to win a little over half of their bets, you have to maintain a winning percentage that will probably too high for what you can handle. When betting favorites like that on the money line, you can't be wrong that often. And when you are wrong, it's a much more bitter pill to swallow.

You might think it's cagey to isolate big favorites on the money line. But look at it this way--a guy betting against the spread can be 3-2 every week and his year will be a major success. If you go 3-2 betting big on money line favorites, you will be on the endangered species list of college football betting.


At the end of the day--either you have the makeup to gamble on college football or you don't. If in every bet you make, you try to remove the possible element of losing from the equation, you're perhaps not cut out for this. Losing is a part of the biz. If you try to insulate yourself from that unpleasant byproduct of betting, the exact thing you fear will rear its head even more. This doesn't mean it's never right to bet on big favorites or there aren't those who have made money betting on big chalk. It means you are never going to win money at college football betting by letting the oddsmakers make up your mind for you. Be independent.

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