Some Sharps Struggling in Colleges


It's been an interesting year for sharps (professional wagerers) so far in college football. You know they've been doing well in the pro's because of so many underdog covers (though favorites finally drew some blood this past weekend in the NFL). In the colleges, the variety of handicapping styles has led to differing results.

*Sharps who emphasize stats are doing well this year, after treading water more than expected last season. There are a few big names out there making waves again. Their supporters can move the line a bunch as early as Thursday afternoon when things are going well.

*Sharps who emphasize information have been very inconsistent. They suffered some big losses in games where their information just didn't pan out (a guy returning from injury didn't play well, a guy who was supposed to be hurt was still able to make a big contribution). Line moves in these games have ended up going in the wrong direction.

I talked recently in one of my national publication articles about the class of sharp bettor that just sits back and follows what these 'originators' do. Those following the stat/computer types are doing well, even if they miss a half point or a point on the early line move. Those following the information types have regretted it so far. Of course, they can only blame themselves. Do your own work!

From my discussions with some of the hotter sharps, here's what's been working for them:

*Focusing on yards-per-play and rushing yardage has been bearing the most fruit. These are fundamental statistics that carry a good bit of the load in explaining how a team has been playing, and is likely to play on a given day. I should point out that sharps of this ilk tend to emphasize DEFENSE more than your typical analyst. That's what makes them winners! If you want to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp, spend more time on DEFENSE this week and the rest of the way than you had been doing in the first half of the season. You don't have to be a math geek with a slide rule in his pocket to improve your performance against the line.

*Focusing on schedule sequences has helped magnify the stat edges. If you know the strengths and weaknesses of a team, THEN apply 'peak or valley' estimates based on their probably emotional've really got something going for you. Many classic handicappers focus on those emotional intangibles at the expense of most everything else. You can get away with that in some years. I'd say the 'classic' guys who only look at intangibles and don't care about stats are hitting in the 54-55% range over the last month. Anyone doing a combo of stats and intangibles is up in the high 50's...with some very good scores on their top plays.

What hasn't been working:

*Following the injury wire and betting the games with the most likely impact. You can probably find people who will point to one or two games where this helped them. Over the course of 15-20 bets in the first half of the season based on this kind of information, the results just haven't been there. Maybe that will pick up from this point forward. I'm just reporting on what's happened so far, not making a judgment about whether certain strategies have lost their edge. I doubt the 'information' guys are going to stop making their phone calls!

*Playing streaks. The sport has been so inconsistent this year that it's very hard to use positive or negative 'momentum' right now to string together victories. The past two weeks I've listed the best and worst pointspread teams in the colleges in separate articles. Those were fairly short lists considering that we're talking about nearly 120 board teams in Las Vegas and Reno. Through six games, the vast majority of college football is between 4-2 and 2-4 ATS. Now, that's including outlaw lines in the mix. Excluding them wouldn't change much. Many teams are up-and-down. If you're a streak guy, that's a headache. If you're a stat and intangible guy, you probably feel like you're in synch right now with those ups and downs.

What kind of guy are you? Do you fall into one of the categories I've discussed today? Or, do you mostly play favorites in TV games like all the squares (the general public) that make weekly deposits into the coffers of my employer Cal-Neva and other major sportsbooks around Nevada?

I want you to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. See if you can add in some of what's been working to your process this week. See if you can get in synch with a sport that's seeing some very erratic play in recent weeks.

If you'd like some help getting back in tune with college football, sign up with the man in the middle of the legal sports betting markets. My unique position in the eye of the hurricane let's me see what the smart money is doing, and what the dumb money is doing. I'm also a big bettor myself. And, as a handicapper, I've won multiple major competitions out here in Nevada. I know what it takes to beat the line because I make the line!

by Las Vegas linesmaker Nick Bogdanovich


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