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What the Bookie Wants You to Do

College Football Betting: What the Bookie Wants You To Do

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

When betting on college football, we should be aware of what the bookie wants and doesn’t want. Then naturally, we should try to have most of our moves fall into the category of what the bookie does not want. Seems simple enough. Yet it is surprising how many people willingly put themselves right in the wheelhouse of the bookie.

First of all, in college football the options are endless. In the NFL, it’s easy to stray from your strengths, but you will at least know what you’re doing to some extent. It’s a little easier to follow. College football has 50-something games a week on the slate. Your lack of selectivity can become a real issue.

The long list of games is an invitation for you to make a lot of bets. If your standards are where they need to be, you won’t find 20 games that are worthy of your betting consideration. There should only be a few or maybe a small handful at the most. The bookie wants you to not pick your battles wisely. And if you engage the bookie over the lines of many different battles, you’re spreading your troops too thin.

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The book knows that the bettor who has a chance of beating them is the sharpshooting sniper who lays back and only pounces when the advantage is clearly in his corner. They worry far less about the face-first slugger who is trying to duke it out with them over a bunch of different games every week.

Another player they don’t fear is the bettor who habitually swings for the fences, the guy who is either gonna go broke or win a bunch of money. This is the guy who needs all the stars to line up perfectly to come out on top. He’s playing quixotic teasers and parlays, trying to hit the jackpot. First of all, this player is betting against huge odds. In addition, the fantastic-sounding payout, in the event if he even wins, is not really even a fair representation of the true probabilities.

In other words, the juice in simple straight-betting sides and totals is steep enough, with the industry-standard being -110. Start playing teasers and parlays as a matter of routine and you’re really getting juiced. The savvy bettor is the one who is in-tune with getting top value and return on his dollar. Teaser and parlay players aren’t getting that.

Even for the players smart enough to know their best chance lies with straight-betting sides and totals, they can also be getting rooked when it comes to the spreads. In college ball, you can see a lot of line-movement and it’s critical to stay abreast of all the different dynamics at play. The wrong move is to just assume everything is fine. You see a spread and assume it’s what everyone is getting so you bet it.

But if you start to see the closing line is better than the line you have, it might be time to retool a bit. We don’t want to have a team at +8 when other backers of the same team have +10. With the amount of movement on some college football lines, we can see moves of a few or even several points. Consistently being on the short end of that stick is a recipe for sure disaster.

The bookie definitely wants us to play chalk--be inclined to be on favorites. Whether we just habitually pick favorites against the spread or lay big bets and odds on the money line, we are feeding right into the bookie’s hands. When taking the better-known teams, the ones who are the favorites, we are siding with the public--the opposite side of the book. Since the book always wins, that’s not a wise thing to do all the time.

We need to bet favorites to win in this game, but we have to bet underdogs too sometimes. The bookie wants you to always bet favorites. If you’re doing it on the money-line, you need to win such a huge percentage of bets to come out ahead. Having to bet so big to win a little means you are never more than just a few bad results away from being in a big hole. And the odds you get are inflated anyway because the bookie doesn’t have to tantalize the betting public to take the side you’re taking.

The same applies to the spread. With favorites, teams that are nationally-followed, the public will lean towards that team. Again, you’re getting the short end of the value stick. That’s music to the bookie’s ears. We need to make doing what they don’t want a vital part of our betting profile.

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