Network Notebook: How to Handicap Bowl Games
HOW TO HANDICAP BOWL GAMES SO YOU CAN BEAT THE VEGAS NUMBER
This season's college football bowl slate begins Saturday and runs all the way through New Year's, with the National Championship set for Monday night January 8. College football bettors dream of making a fortune in the bowls, ending their season on a high note. What unfortunately happens too often instead is that poor decision-making leads to disappointing results.
Let's start with what NOT to do before covering the right approach.
*Bet too many games
*Bet too many favorites
*Bet just because a game is on TV (they're all on TV!)
*Bet based on a grudge you had against a team from the regular season
Sure, it's fun to get back at a team that cost you money a few times in October and November. But, the line has probably adjusted to their disappointing level of play in big games. And, the players may have regrouped to go out on a high note. You're just setting yourself up more frustration!
The biggest mistake the public makes is over-betting their bankrolls early in games involving teams they don't know anything about. That's a killer because it reduces what they can bet later in the schedule when more familiar teams are playing. Don't assume you have some magical insights into what teams from the Sun Belt, Conference USA, or the MAC are going to do over the next several days. If you follow those conferences closely, GREAT, have at it! If not, save your money, or invest in a handicapping service that covers every league.
In bowl betting, it's not just "every dollar saved is a dollar earned." But, every dollar you save can double or triple itself with smart bets when you do have an advantage.
*Focus on the teams you know best
*Bet in accordance with your edge
*Fade the public if they move a game in the wrong direction
Too many casual bettors bet when they should pass, then bet too low when they have an actual edge. That money you were thinking of throwing at the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West? Save it, and bet a big bigger in the games you're most confident about. Now, the winning part is up to YOU. But, in terms of profit potential, would you rather have one unit on a bunch of leans, and then two units on your best pick? Or, NO units in games you should leave alone, and three or four units on a handful of your best picks? (Assuming a 100-unit bankroll.)
We should also point out that opportunities are often created late in the schedule when the public starts betting the marquee games heavily. A line that "should" be -7 is suddenly -8.5 or -9. Professional bettors step in late to take the points for value. This is where your "lean" money should go. You're likely to win more of those than you lose over the long haul, creating some bonus money that used to go to Vegas because you were taking blind shots in the wrong places. Don't be dumb early. Be smart late.
A few other quick tips:
*Don't use "motivation" as the only factor for a bet. Handicapping intangibles is most effective if a perceived edge in motivation is backed up by talent advantages, or at least a couple of playmakers who can exploit a flat opponent.
*Worry more about "turf" conditions than "weather" conditions. It's amazing how many bowl games are ruined by lousy ground conditions at a site that's been hosting a lot of recent college or high school action. Read local media from the bowl sites online for insights about that issue.
*Force yourself to study the field goal kickers. In relatively evenly matched bowl games, it's often the success or failure of field goal kickers that determines which teams cover the spread. Yet, many handicappers spend ZERO time on this. Know which teams can be counted on to finish drives with points. Know which offenses are likely to waste opportunities because their kicker can't be trusted.
*Though many trends don't amount to anything beyond trivia, the ATS trends of head coaches often do carry weight from year to year. Some coaches are terrific when given a few weeks to prepare for an opponent. Others are exposed as "checker players" in a chess game when matched up against quality opposition. Study career performance marks for every bowl head coach.
Of course, the EASIEST way to win is to let the exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach of JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK do all the work for you! You can purchase our college and pro football BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 to take care of business. Don't forget to ask about combination packages with basketball, a sport that's too often overlooked by sports bettors in late December.
We'll be back Monday to recap college or NFL notes from a huge weekend. A week from now, we'll preview a big matchup you can see how top bettors break down a game. The bowls are about to start. GO GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!
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