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Why Betting Systems Don't Work

College Football Betting: Why Systems Don’t Work

By Loot, College Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

There are a lot of different betting systems that people subscribe to and most of them are pure garbage. What is a system? It’s a framework where you bet on a game based on past results of similar circumstances. For example, you see that teams from the SEC are only 11-19 this year when on the road as a favorite. So according to the system, you start betting against all SEC teams when they are road favorites.

First of all, who is to say that those numbers aren’t an aberration? It just kind of worked out that those teams haven’t covered on the road. It could have been mere happenstance that allowed that to occur, rather than some sign that oddsmakers are overvaluing SEC teams this season. If you did 30 coin flips and 19 tails came up, would you think something was up? It’s not that weird. If 19000 heads hit in 30000 tosses, then that would be bizarre.

In addition, systems just so happen to be lazy ways to handicap. You take the analysis out of it completely in lieu of some formula that you have adopted. Rather than assessing an individual game, you are putting it in the context of past events--what happened in certain situations over a course of time. But this is now, not the past.

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There is no easy way to handicap a college football game. You need to see the teams, study the strengths and weaknesses and how they will play off each other. You study the lines and how they move. Then you make an educated calculation as to what you think will transpire. And it’s based on your analysis. The recent past figures into it certainly, but only when that information pertains to the teams that are playing. Knowing that California teams are 3-13 in their last 16 games in Texas really is doing nothing to help you gain an understanding of the upcoming San Diego State-TCU game. You need to focus on the Aztecs and Horned Frogs, not how Fresno State did against SMU several years ago.

Systems shift the importance to non-essential and even downright meaningless connections. If you see some stat condemning teams in their second straight road game, what does that have to do with how USC will do at Stanford? All those games were different. Different teams, different players, different circumstances. So subscribing to those systems takes your handicapping away from what is vital and focuses it instead on disconnected data.

Another system that some people entertain is the double-up philosophy. This is popular in the arena of blackjack. You make bets at a certain price and if you win, you pocket the profit and bet the same amount on the next game. But if you lose the bet, you keep doubling it until you win, which gets you a small profit. Then you move on to the next game--again betting the original amount.

Let’s say you start losing bets using this system. You lose the first bet at $110 and then the $220 and $440 bets. Then after 3 straight losses, you bet $880 and win $800. Your one win overrides the other 3 losses and gives you a small profit. Then you return the original $110 number. Sounds reasonable, right? It might even work, but again the “house” cannot be outsmarted.

In any gambling where there are only two possible results, you can employ some version of the double-up technique. And the house actually wants you to do this. Because at some point, you will get cold and effectively get wiped out. When doubling up, those numbers get up there pretty quick.

If you start off betting $110 games, it can get hairy really quick. After 10 straight losses, you’d be putting up over 50 grand! Who has that kind of money? And if you don’t think you can lose 10 straight--think again. Even the sharpest handicappers hit cold streaks. And if they’re smart, they can withstand the swing because they’re poised and not over-extending themselves. But using the double-up system, you’re never more than a small handful of consecutive losses away from total annihilation.

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  • 2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Odds for each team to win the college football playoff along with predictions of teams that have a legit shot of winning it all, including a longshot pick.
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MISC.

  • College Football Conferences - List of all NCAA football conferences including the teams that make up each conference.
  • Heisman Trophy Winners - A complete list of Heisman Trophy winners (college football's best player award) in chronological order, dating back to 1935.
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