Grizzlies vs. Pelicans Game of the week

The New Orleans Pelicans have stepped up their game this week with a huge win in Boston and even a little icing on the cake with Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins being More »

Using Fantasy Football to Bet on NFL Player Props

Betting on NFL props continues to grow in popularity as more and more of the top sportsbooks in the online sports betting industry offer up a wide variety of prop bet options, More »

Making the Most of the Fall Betting Season as a Private Bookie

The last few days of summer give way to a fall sports betting season that is jam-packed with golden opportunities to build your overall bottom line profits as an independent sports bookmaker. More »

Finding Value in College Football

To all gamblers out there, the time is now. Its college football season. Have you thought about which teams offer value for the money? Don’t make the mistake of wildly laying your More »

Betting Preseason Football

Last week I talked about how the House comes up with a pointspread and what it represents. Preseason football is the first opportunity we have to bet pointspreads each year (in the More »


Betting Football Teasers

Football Teasers are a popular bet among sports bettors, and can be a profitable vehicle—if used in the right manner. First, let’s go over what teasers are, and the odds that reputable bookmakers give their clients.

A teaser is a 2-team (or more) proposition bet where a player selects multiple teams and is given a certain amount of bonus points to add to the final score of each game he selects. To win the bet, a bettor must be correct on each of the teams selected. If any game loses or ties, the bettor loses the teaser.

In this article, I’ll focus on 2-team teasers.

With 2-team teasers, reputable bookmakers will make a player lay 11-10 for the benefit of adding an extra 6 points to each of the 2 teams he selects. Please note that the odds are not 12-10 (or 6-5), which unscrupulous bookmakers (i.e., thieves) will make their clients lay. If your bookmaker’s odds are not 11-10, don’t be a sucker and play teasers. Just avoid the bet.

Now, if you have a bookmaker that has 11-10 odds on 2-team, 6-point teasers, then here are the 2 conditions to including a team in your bet.

First, select only teams that you LOVE without the extra 6 points.

Second, and just as important, is to select teams where the 6 point will capture key numbers. Let me explain. In the NFL, certain numbers end up being the final margin of victory more than others. The number 3 is by far the most common number, followed by 7, and then 1, 4, and 6 also are popular numbers for the final margin of games.

Teasers are advantageous when you can use the extra 6 points to capture these key numbers. For example, you can tease a team that is +2.5 up to +8.5. Then, you capture the key numbers of 3, 4, 6 and 7. Or, vice versa, tease a team down from -8.5 to -2.5. Another excellent move is to tease a team from +1.5 up to + 7.5. Then you capture the key numbers of 3, 4, 6 and 7 as well.

Of course it follows that teasing a team from -12 to -6 doesn’t really accomplish much. You’ve captured the key numbers of 7 and 10, but that is really about it. I would stay away from games in that price range. Also, it’s foolish to tease a team from -3 to +3. That accomplishes virtually nothing, especially since ties lose.

Finally, don’t fall into the trap of finding games which allow you to capture key numbers that you didn’t like at the initial number. That would be letting the tail wag the dog. For example, say the Steelers are playing the Ravens, and Pittsburgh is favored by 6.5 points. Sure, it would a good play to include Pittsburgh in your teaser, but only if you LOVED the Steelers at -6.5. Otherwise, don’t do it.

If you follow these simple rules, I believe you can achieve great profits with teasers.

Betting football teasers article courtesy of Big Al McMordie of</td>

Betting Preseason Football

Last week I talked about how the House comes up with a pointspread and what it represents. Preseason football is the first opportunity we have to bet pointspreads each year (in the bookmaking world, your year starts in August) so naturally that is the topic for this week.

Unlike college football where there is no preseason, the pros play four or five games to work out the kinks before the regular season starts. Coaches use these games to sharpen skills that are tough to work on in practice (special teams, tackling, etc.), to determine starting positions, to test new offensive or defensive formations and to practice new plays at game speed among other things. Some coaches are also under pressure to perform well in preseason to help sell tickets or to gain a little job security. Starting players use the preseason to sharpen their skills and improve their timing while rookies and backups try and gain starting positions. Unlike the regular season, where winning every game is everyone’s goal, the preseason features a variety of mind sets for players and coaches alike. This is the key to making money betting on preseason football – understanding the motivation for every player and coach on a team.

Lets use the opening game between Washington and San Francisco (played in Japan on August 3rd) as an example. The 49ers were 12-4 last year (two of their losses were to the powerhouse St. Louis Rams), their key personnel on offense are all returning (QB Jeff Garcia, RB Garrison Hearst, WRs Terrell Owens and JJ Stokes) and the team understands the philosophy and playbook of their coaching staff. The ‘Skins were just 8-8 last year (although they did finish 8-3), have a new coach (their fourth in less than two years) who emphasized the passing game in college so they have a whole new playbook to learn and will have to so without any of last year’s QBs (Tony Banks, Jeff George and Kent Graham who is now with Houston) or leading receiver (Michael Westbrook who is now with Cincinnati). The two teams had unimpressive preseason records in 2001. Both teams were 1-3, but Washington failed to cover a single pointspread while the 49ers were 2-2 ATS (against-the-spread). On paper the 49ers had to be the favorite team and the opening line was San Francisco –2.5 based on talent alone.

Early action was very light as bettors waited to hear how the coaches would approach the game. It became evident very quickly via interviews that Washington’s rookie coach Steve Spurrier was going to play his starters much longer than the 49er starters, especially on offense where his playbook is very complex and key starting roles have yet to be determined. He was going to use this game to teach the playbook to the entire offensive unit as well as evaluate the best players for starting roles. Washington also has a new defensive outlook with former Ravens defensive whiz Marvin Lewis at the helm and he too was looking to teach his schemes to his squad. San Francisco on the other hand has relatively set starting units and familiar playbooks so head coach Steve Mariucci was looking at this game as a chance to evaluate second and third-string players for back-up roles. Books quickly moved the line from 49ers –2.5 all the way to Washington –3 as action came the Redskins way at every point in between.

The game wasn’t close for long. San Francisco’s second stringers scored to go up 7-0 early in the second quarter but it was all Redskins from there. The Redskins starting offensive line was in the game in the third quarter while the 49ers starting linemen were resting well before halftime. Washington’s starting QB Sage Rosenfels played the entire first half and attempted 20 passes while San Francisco’s starting QB Jeff Garcia played just 10 minutes and attempted only four passes. Washington’s second-string QB Danny Wuerffel played the entire second half and attempted 25 passes, many with a large lead and against the third and fourth string-players of San Francisco. The 49ers on the other hand played three other QBs who attempted just 19 passes. Spurrier wanted his new team to believe in his system and his bosses to be impressed. Mariucci wanted to evaluate talent and expose some bench players to more playing time to help his team later in the regular season when injuries take their toll. One other item of note, these two teams meet again in September and so the 49ers did not run any plays from their regular playbook that the Redskins will see in the regular season game. The Redskins demonstrated no such forethought. It all boiled down to a 38-7 Redskins win but it was evident on the field that talent wasn’t the deciding factor, motivation was.

Preseason NFL handle has grown steadily over the past few years as more and more bettors begin to understand how to handicap the games. It wasn’t very long ago that just a handful of books offered lines on these games. Now, every sportsbook takes the basic wagers such as spreads, totals, parlays and teasers for the exhibition season and many shops are adding other modern wager types like first-halfs, half-times, quarter lines and even the occasional prop bet. From the House’s point-of-view, more games are always better so I expect this trend to continue in the future.

The biggest difference between regular season and preseason for the books side is that they are far more aggressive with line moves. I asked BoDog’s top book manager Kent for his thoughts on preseason line moves. “With regular season lines, we have a pretty good idea what the spread should be and where it will close so line moves are made with calculated precision. With preseason we have some ideas but because the handle is lower for every game and there are so many player changes we just follow the money and try a lot harder to balance action. This means there are a few more games where the score falls on a bad number for the house because of the extra line moves so we compensate by keeping the maximum a little lower.”

I also asked for his thoughts on the first full week of preseason games. “Last weekend we did very well when late public money came in heavy on the 49ers and Texans in the Hall-of-Fame Weekend games. The total in the Texans-Giants Monday Night game was bet heavily down from 31 to 29 and with the total landing on 51 we got the NFL season off to a great start. On Thursday, everybody was in on Pittsburgh and the Over so that game (Jets 16-6) was great as well. Friday saw big action and players winning with the Falcons and a moderate win for the House with Dallas beating the Raiders. Saturday was a little ugly as big line moves were the order of the day. For example, Denver moved from +1 to –3 and the Titans went from +1 to –2. There were also a few scores resulted in sides and middles in favor of the players. The Redskins opened and closed as 7-point favorites with some moves to –7.5 and –8 in there so their 37-30 win wasn’t great for us. The Giants/Pats game also fell on the line (Giants –3 and 22-19 final score), as did the Titans/Rams game (28-26 final). We lost on the Broncos and Browns, but did well on the Saints and Chargers. Overall, it was a break-even day but it was good to have to think through the key-number line moves that we haven’t had to do since Super Bowl. Then there was the Monday Night game where we were heavy on Miami +6 and Gruden elects to punt in the last minute with a 4-point lead from the Dolphins 27 instead of kicking a Field Goal to go up 7 and cover. Oh well, that’s why they play the games.”

For those of you that are new to betting, I will be talking a little more about sides, middles, line moves and key numbers in upcoming columns so stay tuned. Next week I will cover balancing action, which involves all of these factors. For now, remember to think about the motivation of the team you are playing. I also recommend checking coaches past records in pre-season for an indication. Perhaps knowing the 49ers were just 2-7 in the last two pre-seasons (4-5 ATS) would have helped you cash in on the Redskins last Saturday, if you didn’t already

Baseball Betting Lines

Baseball betting lines can be a little difficult to understand at first. To start off, you have to find a match-up that you feel is enticing. You know everything about the sports so finding a good match-up will not be that difficult.

Lets say you find the Cubs playing the Reds in the morning game. It is Wood against Reitisma and you know that the Cubs should destroy them. You have picked your team, now you have to understand how the Baseball Betting Lines work.

Getting the Hang of Baseball Betting Lines. Unlike basketball and football when you bet on baseball you are not betting on spreads. You can either bet on the money line, a run and half line, or the over and under. The money line pays out more when you bet on the underdog. You can tell the underdog by the team with the plus sign in front of its money line (i.e. +145).

Once you get a hang of betting on baseball, you will see that it can be a very easy pay day. All you have to do is pick the teams that you know have the best chance of winning and place your bets. Then just let the money keep rolling in.

Betting Preseason Football

The football season is just around the corner and there are a number of strategies for betting preseason football that have proven to be profitable over the course of the last decade or so, since the league switched to their current four game exhibition schedule.

Betting on the NFL in August is a completely different exercise than betting on the same sport a month later. Outlined below are many of the differences, and some ways the bettor can take advantage of them.

· Know your coaches! Many coaches are simply trying to evaluate personnel — finding the right bodies for the last few spots on the roster — as well as making sure that all the key elements of the offensive and defensive schemes are in place. Other coaches want to instill a winning attitude for their team right from the start of training camp. Try to back head coaches who care about the outcome of the game, and try to bet against those that don’t. For example, Dave McGinnis of the Arizona Cardinals has a perfect 5-0 preseason record against the spread (ATS) since he took over the reigns, while Marty Schottenheimer hasn’t covered a pointspread in August (0-5 ATS) since his return to the sidelines last summer.

· Ignore the starters! In most preseason games, they’ll get the bulk of the media attention, yet they are on the bench by the 2nd quarter. Injury reports are something of a non-factor as well, because it’s not the ‘name’ players who will be determining the outcome of the game. Preseason games, like those in the regular season, are usually won or lost in the 2nd half.

· Read the local papers! NFL preseason is one time of the year where ‘coach-speak’ is extremely important. It’s also one time of year where the coaches are willing to reveal their game plans in their entirety. By perusing the local papers, it’s quite possible to gauge what a coaches philosophy will be for any given game, as well as learning about the expected player rotations. Knowing who is going to be on the field in the 2nd half, when the pointspread outcome is likely to be decided, is crucial.

· Look for good situational handicapping spots. In every preseason, there are a few games that feature one coach that wants to give his starters and 2nd teamers most of the playing time, while the opposing coach is looking to evaluate personnel at the bottom of the roster. Also look for teams that have started 0-2 straight up, and are returning home for the 3rd preseason game, especially when the coaches have taken some criticism for the team’s poor showing in the local papers. That is usually an excellent spot to back the home team in need of a win, especially when they are facing a team that doesn’t have the same motivation.

· Check out the quarterback rotations! Look to bet on teams with experienced veterans playing against 3rd and 4th string defenses in the 2nd half of preseason games. Situations exist every week where QB’s with starting experience in the NFL will have the opportunity to show their stuff against inferior defenders, and these QB’s should be able to move the ball down the field with relative consistency. Neil O’Donnell of the Tennessee Titans and Shaun King of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are two examples of quarterbacks who should get substantial playing time against weak foes in the 2nd half of preseason games this year. The opposite is also true. Look to bet against teams playing rookie quarterbacks in the 2nd half. These young QB’s are often late round picks and undrafted free agents, not the cream of the quarterbacking crop. Their unfamiliarity with the offensive scheme and the speed of NFL defenders often give rookie QB’s trouble.

· Don’t forget the totals! Using the quarterback rotations and the coaches philosophy as a guide, predicting totals can be very profitable. A pair of coaches looking to develop the running game and/or test inexperienced QB’s often provide solid Under bets. On the other hand, when you find two coaches who are looking to test the passing game and have experience at the backup QB position, the Over is certainly the way to look.

· Find out what you can about the 3rd and 4th stringers. These are the players who will be on the field in the 2nd half, when the pointspread winners and losers will usually be determined. As a general rule of thumb, many of these players are ‘undrafted rookie free agents’. But there is a considerable difference in quality among these players from one team to the next. Teams with more roster spots open will tend to get the better backups into camp. And teams with more roster spots open are usually teams that had poor records the year before, often preseason underdogs. Try to avoid laying points with playoff bound teams from the previous season with most of their roster spots already filled, because the quality of their free agent rookies is often quite low. There simply aren’t a lot of positions open on those type of teams, making them unattractive to the better free agents – the ones with options to go to more than one training camp.

If you follow these simple guidelines, August can be a very profitable month for NFL bettors. Even in supposedly ‘meaningless’ preseason games, there are plenty of spots in which the informed bettor can boost his bankroll before the regular season begins.

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Bet On World Series

by Staff Writer

Bet on World Series games and start to see your bankroll increase. These games offer the bettor some of the best lines that they will see all year. Plus, there are several proposition bets that could give you a huge payday.

Click Here for Our Recommended Site to Bet on the World Series!See More Green When You Bet On World Series Games
All gamblers should know that the World Series is one of the biggest betting times during the year. These games are packed with thrilling plays and outrageous twist that will keep you guessing what will happen next. This makes for some great betting.

The match-ups that you will see during the World Series will be the best against the best. You are almost guaranteed to be putting your money on one of the most exciting games of the year. The thought of winning money from the game will add even more to this.

Don’t miss out on on your chance to bet on World Series this year. You know that you have been waiting a long time for it, so don’t let it pass you by. The money that you could make will be amazing.

Pick the right book

If you drive a Ford you wouldn’t take it to the Ferrari dealer for service. If you bet $5 a game, you AND the book will be unhappy if you join a book that caters to players who wager $5000 a game.

The most important factor to choosing a Sportsbook must first be the quality of the Sportsbook. There are simply too many cases where a player unknowingly joined a Sportsbook by way of some special hook usually a bonus or improved odds then goes on the roll of a lifetime, only later to learn the Sportsbook has stopped paying its customers.

Make sure the book you select has limits suitable to your style of play.

Make sure the book you join offers the sports you like to play. If your a baseball player find a book with .10 lines such as VIP, Intertops, Pinnacle, Gameday and WWTS.

Care for an occasional game of blackjack or craps? Then by all means find a book that doesn’t require you to log in to the casino or transfer funds. VIP comes to mind and they have a great casino with $1 minimums.

The Bonus – for those of you who skipped straight down to here shame on you. All of the books listed on Sportsbook Review pay a handsome bonus with the exception of WWTS which specializes in larger players and simply doesn’t have to pay much of a bonus.

Baseball Betting Percentages

Baseball is a game of figures. America’s pastime is enshrined in numbers, records and statistics. In the current era, there are thirty teams and 2,430 contests scheduled during the regular season. With this massive sample size of games, baseball presents more opportunities for the gambler than any other major sport.

But to fully exploit these opportunities, one needs to have a proper understanding of the relationship between money lines (the odds format for baseball) and winning percentages implied for every money line price point (e.g. -110, +110, -120, +120, etc.).

This concept might best be understood by sharing an email one of our handicapping associates recently received. It was a long time friend of his and it came on opening day of the MLB Season. To put this email in its proper context, let us quickly set the stage. Toronto kicked off the season hosting Detroit. The Blue Jays opening day starter was Roy Halladay, considered by most baseball “experts” as one of the best handful of pitchers in the Major Leagues. The Tigers countered with Jason Johnson, who subsequently had led Baltimore (his previous team) to a 2-12 lifetime record vs. the Jays behind a towering 6.92 career ERA in those fourteen respective starts. By all accounts, this looked to be a helpless cause for Detroit. After all, the toothless Tigers lost more games than any other team last season. On paper, the chances of Detroit winning seemed less likely than Jessica Simpson becoming a Rhodes Scholar. Oddsmakers priced the Toronto at -250, meaning you had to lay a whopping $250 on the Blue Jays in order to win $100. If Toronto lost, you would be out $250. Now back to the friend’s email.

“Can I ask why you are not betting on the Blue Jays? The Tigers’ bats are as thin as your hair and the Halladay vs. Johnson match up is an utter mismatch. The Blue Jays are brimming with confidence right now and this is a big first game. Seems totally illogical to miss out on this gimme’ bet.”

Final Score: Detroit 7 Toronto 0

We bring this email up for a number of reasons. None of which have to do with the fact our staff member begged us to publicly humiliate his friend after said friend took a jab at his thinning hair line. It is rather interesting, however, that his brainiac buddy—who will be attending graduate school at Harvard University in the fall—did not pick up on how “illogical” a bet on Toronto would have been. And that is the exact purpose of this column. If a Harvard Graduate Student does not understand the percentages behind money line bets, we venture to guess there are several others lacking this understanding as well. We actually know this to be the case, as our occupation puts us in close contact with novice gamblers. And to say the vast majority are lured into playing large money line favorites because of the apparent “no lose” nature of these bets is an understatement in the very least. The reason? It is because they do not have a proper grasp of the relationship between money lines and what sort of long term winning percentages are necessary at each money line price point to show a profit.

Our anonymous friend, like so many before him, thought there is no way a stud like Halladay will ever lose to a team like the paper Tigers. Well, as you can see, this couldn’t be further from the truth as Detroit not only won, but won handily. In fact, there were a number of other large favorites who crashed and burned in just the first few days of the regular season. Mike Mussina twice (-250, -210), Barry Zito (-240), Randy Johnson twice (-220, -190), Matt Morris (-220), Roy Oswalt (-200), Andy Pettitte (-190), Miguel Batista twice (-190, -195) and Pedro Martinez (-180) all failed to grab the cash as heavy chalk in the opening days of the season.

In hopes that you can avoid making the same mistake as our Harvard-bound friend, let us quickly illustrate the relationship between a particular price point (e.g. -250) and the winning percentage needed to show a long term profit at that price point. This concept sounds like a mouthful, but it is actually a fairly easy one to understand. We will look to explain this concept in full by using the example of a large favorite. But this model really applies regardless of price. And once you fully understand it, you should use it to gauge each of your baseball wagers no matter what the price. The first question we ask ourselves before releasing any pick is whether or not it looks like a long term winning proposition at the posted price.

As far as the example above goes, the Blue Jays at -250 would have to win this particular match up 72% of the time over the long term in order to be profitable. This percentage is derived from the following equation:

$100W – $250L = 0, where W=Blue Jays long term winning percentage in this match up, and L=Blue Jays long term losing percentage in this match up. $100 represents what the amount you will win if the Blue Jays win; while -$250 represents the amount you will lose if the Blue Jays lose (both numbers assume you are a $100 player). Assume the Blue Jays win this match up 72% of the time over the long term. This would imply that the Blue Jays lose 28% of the time (1-.72) or if you prefer the Tigers win 28% of the time over the long term. When W=72% and L=28%, the above equation equals zero (it’s slightly off due to rounding errors).

To recap, Toronto must win this match up at least 72% over the long term or else you are going to lose money. This is a formidable challenge for the Blue Jays. And one crucial point here is that when you risk 2.5 times your money (i.e. -250); you are really risking it on the team and not the pitcher. Halladay can throw a gem and still lose a 1-0 game, as is so often the case. To put it another way, the Blue Jays would have to win 117 times over a 162-game season in order to win at a 72% clip. Even if the Blue Jays had 5 Halladay clones in their starting rotation, it is highly unlikely they could win at this rate. There are simply too many “other” factors that Halladay (or his hypothetical clones) cannot control (hitting, defense, umpiring, etc.).

Of course, our staff member did not suggest to his anonymous Harvard-bound friend to bet on Detroit either. Here in the office, we felt like everyone else about the game. The clawless Tigers did not stand a snowballs chance in hell of winning. That said; the risk-reward ratio (the price) did not seem to justify a wager on the Blue Birds.

On the other side of this equation, Detroit sat at +220 (depending on the sportsbook). This simply means for every $100 wagered, you receive $220 in net return if the Tigers won. Again, there is long term winning percentage implied at this price point. As we noted above, the Tigers would “only” have to win at a 32% clip to be profitable over the long haul. Imagine for a moment that Detroit won this match up 29%-31% of the time over the long term. This would fall below the 32% break even threshold. But it also implies that Toronto won this match up between 69%-71% of the time. Notice that this also falls below the 72% break even threshold for the Blue Jays. In such an instance, the player would be wise to lay off because it would be impossible for him or her to win money on either side over the long term! By the way, there is a “can’t win range” for the player at most every price point (including your standard -110 wagers).

Handicapping is really just a process of comparing posted odds set by linesmakers to the “true odds” of that particular team winning. By “posted odds,” we mean the odds that the linesmakers are implicitly assigning to a particular team given the particular price. In our above example, the posted odds for Toronto winning at -250 are 72%. The posted odds for Detroit winning at +220 are 32%. “True odds” on the other hand, are the actual odds of a particular team winning. Handicapping is really an exercise in identifying situations in which the true odds are greater or less than the posted odds. This concept applies across all sports for any given line. Of course, this is far easier said than done because while we can always calculate the posted odds for a given line, it is impossible to say with 100% accuracy what the true odds actually are. Trying to find a variance between posted odds and true odds with enough regularity to earn a profit over the long term is the very definition of handicapping.

Calculating posted odds is easy. We have shown you how to do this above with Toronto and Detroit. Here are a few more money lines and their implied posted odds:

Money Line Implied Posted Odds

-110 – 52.38%

-150 – 60.00%

-200 – 66.67%

+110 – 47.62%
+150 – 40.00%

+200 – 33.33%

For each price point in the left hand column there is a corresponding implied posted odds percentage. This is simply what percentage a team would need to win at for it to be profitable over the long term. If the Yankees are -150 over the Red Sox, New York would need to win better than 60% of the time to turn a profit. Notice that the posted odds increase as the price of the favorite increases (i.e. from -110 to -200). Notice too that the posted odds decrease as the size of the underdog increases (i.e. from +110 to +200). In other words, you must win a larger percentage of games as the money line price rises and a lower percentage of games as the money line price decreases. This is why playing underdogs in baseball is so appealing! And notice that even with a small underdog like +110, you can win actually win less than 50% of your wagers and still come out ahead! And finally, we should point out that the implied posted odds for -110 (52.38%) and +110 (47.62%) add up to 100%. This is also the case for the pairs -150 (60%) and +150 (40%); as well as -200 (66.67%) and +200 (33.33%).

The key question to ask each time a money line wager is placed on Team X at Money Line Y is: Are the true odds for Team X winning (based on your handicapping) greater than the posted odds at Money Line Y. If the Cubs for example are priced at -150, simply ask yourself: “Will Chicago win this game more than 60% of the time over the long term”? If the answer is “yes” then it makes sense to bet on Chicago. Conversely, if the answer is “no” then you should lay off or consider the Cubs opponents in this game as an option.

The key phrase here is “long term.” Anything can and will happen over the short term. But if the Cubs really are better than their opponent 60% of the time in this particular match up, then over the long term you can make money by wagering on them. Again, this concept applies for any team at any given price across all sports. Using basic math, you can quickly calculate the implied posted odds for any money line price point. Understanding and utilizing this concept should take you one giant step closer to a profitable baseball season.

College Bets

by Staff Writer
There has been a lot of controversy around placing college bets. Some people feel college athletes are too prone to points-shaving scandals. In any case, for now, college bets are still legal, and, in my opinion, pretty exciting. Placing bets on college football, basketball and baseball games is an exciting way to keep up with college athletics.

Click Here For Our Recommended Resource for Online Wagering!In a sense, placing bets on college teams helps you research your professional prospects. Eventually, the kids you’re betting on will be professional and if you’re watching them closely enough to bet on them, you’ll have a leg up in a few years. I know people who can’t get enough of the college sports information, waiting to see who has the best recruiting classes and which coaches leave and which stay.

Placing College Bets should be no different from placing bets on professional teams. The amount of research involved in professional betting should be put into college betting as well. Some people may argue that college sports have a big disadvantage in terms of betting. In college, players are playing to win for reasons perhaps deeper than a professional athlete. Players want to be drafted, they want a scholarship, they want to impress the alumni, and many other emotional reasons. If a team loses a big rivalry game, chances are that team is more likely to hang their heads going into the next game than a professional team may.

Too Many Teams, Not Enough Research
In college play, a week’s game is usually not an indication of how a team will perform the next week. Sometimes, college sports seem to have no rhyme or reason. Losing to teams one should beat is nothing new in sports in general, but it seems to happen more often in college that upsets abound on a weekly basis. Because of this, you should be careful in placing college bets. Instead of betting on every game, pick a few and do some quality research. There are far more college teams out there to place bets on than there are professional teams and don’t think oddsmakers don’t take this into consideration.


You’ve gotta have people to bet with, right? So this week we move from just football specifically and offer:

1) “Do I need more than one bookie?”

Technically the answer is no, but practically the answer is “Yes, absolutely!”.

The primary advantage to having several bookies (or “books” or “outs” as they’re called) is that you will often get different lines on a football game to play into. Over the long run the extra work you undertake to maintain several accounts can turn you from being a loser into being a winner, or adding to your net winnings. Let’s compare shopping for odds with shopping for a new car.

When the line comes out in the paper early in the week, you look the lines over, just as if you’re thinking about a new car. So you like the Packers at -3, just like you decide you want to buy a midnight blue V-6 coupe. If you were buying the car, you wouldn’t just go to one dealership and say “Gimme a midnight blue V-6 coupe” – you’d shop around at different dealerships, maybe even at different companies to get your best deal.

So when you’re buying the Packers, just because the newspaper says they’re -3 doesn’t mean that’ll be the number of points you’ll lay. If you have enough outs you’re bound to find one offering the Packers -2.5 or even -2. (You’ll also find some spots quoting you -3.5 or -4.) Why not take them at the most favourable line you can? If the game winds up as a Packers win by 3, you’ll sure be glad you did.

A second advantage to having more than one place to play with your business “spread around” is that if, by cruel fate, your bookie gets thrown in jail or your offshore out absconds with your dough, all your eggs aren’t in a single basket. This is unpleasant to contemplate, but it’s a fact of life.

2) “Did you say JAIL? Do I want a local bookie?”

Unfortunately these things do happen, but rarely if ever to players. Law enforcement eager to shut down gambling want to nab the bookies, not their clients. In many jurisdictions, and in Canada, betting is not illegal in itself, but making book is.

OK so I’m not telling anybody to break the law, but if you choose a local bookie or two as part of your list of outs, there are advantages to be had.

–Most local guys move lines either more slowly or more drastically than do shops in Nevada, the Carribean, or overseas. So, in comparison to other places, you’ll get “different” lines. Since you’re going to play the “best” line for you, the more differences, the merrier.

–Local guys are just a phone call or a trip to a nearby spot away. (When I lived in the USA there was a good bookie set up in a bar down the street, and the bar was called “The Office”. So every Sunday an hour before game time I’d just leave the house and say “Back by kickoff, hon–I just have to go do something quick at The Office.”)

–Local guys usually extend some measure of credit, settling up weekly or every two weeks, or something like that.

So, if your guy gets busted the Friday before the Super Bowl (every bookie I know from Nova Scotia to New England to the Midwest who’s been in business five years has been cuffed at least once), he doesn’t have a big wad of your dough on him. In fact, he’ll even be out of jail by Tuesday to make your regular settle-up meeting…

3) “What about Nevada and Offshore?”

Unless you’re physically in Nevada it’s illegal to place a bet there, and the casinos actually have to at least half-try to enforce this to keep their licence. Since the mega-casinos make far more from slots and table games than they do by booking sports, they don’t want to risk the wrath of the gaming authorities by helping people get around the law. Even calling your uncle in Vegas and getting him to wander down to a shop and put down $100 on the Giants for you is technically illegal. Unless you’re in Nevada, my opinion is don’t bother trying to bet there. It’s just not worth it.

Offshore, friends, is a different story. Countless operations have sprung up from Antigua to Australia that will let you call a toll-free number to place a bet, or bet over the Internet. The quality shops in this growing universe are the perfect complement to your local outs.

4) “Um, ‘Quality’ outs? There are bad ones?”

Well, the bad news is there are probably a lot more places out there that don’t deserve your business than ones that do. Some people are crooks; others mean well but are inexperienced and go bankrupt. Gaming is the fastest growing industry on the ‘Net (yes, faster than porn, hardcover books, or even books of porn) and this is the new version of the frontier that was Wyatt Earp’s Wild West. There are real cowboys out there, some with white hats, some with black, some too stupid to figure out how to wear a hat.

The good news is there are many solid bookies out there too. These are the ones you want to deal with, because most offshore shops don’t offer credit. You send them money, and you have an account with them, as if they were a bank. You bet using the money in your account. When you lose, money comes out. When you win, the account grows. What you need to know is at the end of the season (or whenever you want) your bookie will be willing and able to refund however much is left in your account.

5) “So how do I find the good places?”

One place to start is with the sportsbooks that have “member” status with this site, BWORLD. These books not only advertise with the site but have a track record of payouts. Some of these places have been around a long time and are internationally recognised.

You should also visit Oddswiz’s Sportsbook Rants and Raves posting forum on this site, and other reliable forums on the Web. Three of the five offshore books I currently use are BWORLD members, but there are other good spots out there as well and sportsbooks good and bad are discussed in forums like the one on this site. People hype their own books, players discuss their favourites, and believe me if an offshore out is no-paying or slow-paying its clients, it’ll be all over the posting forums.

6) “All right, I’m using the Bworld members as a starting point. There are lots of them! How do I choose?”

Make a list of the things most important to you and compare the candidates. Do you want a place with low minimums? Do you need a place that can accept and refund money using bank wires? Do you just play football, or do you bet other sports as well? (If you play bases, you’ll want a place with 10-cent baseball lines and maybe overnight lines. If you want to play soccer, the quality of lines varies wildly.) Is it important that you can be able to place bets 24 hours a day? If you’re going to be depositing and pulling funds out frequently, what spots give you the best deals on money transfers?

To address two points specifically:

–First, it’s good to have at least a couple places that post their odds (and hopefully let you bet) on the Internet. This makes checking and comparing lines easy. Pop up a couple windows and surf away. You need a couple phone-based outs too in case you’re away from your computer or your network is down, so don’t go online completely (most local bookies aren’t online, or not for long anyway …heh… so that helps take care of that), but it’s a real time-saver to be able to get most of your odds with a mouse click or two.

–Second, one of the most talked about issues is the question of the sign-up bonus. If everything else is equal, sure, grab the sign-up bonus. I have faith in the Bworld books that the sign-up bonuses they offer aren’t a huge risk factor for the bookies. A few other shops, though, offer ridiculous bonuses (20% and up) and this may be a sign that they haven’t thought their business plan out very well…or worse yet don’t intend to pay out winnings at all. A newly opened shop with bonuses that appear too good to be true is a siren song your hard-earned deposit money just doesn’t need to hear. If you do pick a place with a sign-up bonus, make sure you know and fully understand any conditions attached to the bonus up front.

7) “OK, I’ve picked a couple reputable offshore places. How do I get started?”

Call them up! Ask for customer service. Tell them you are interested in opening an account and say that you’d like to ask them a few questions. At this point you should ask them about things that their website or magazine ad leaves unclear. (Payout procedures aren’t usually spelled out in minute detail … get them to explain this bit-by-bit. Ditto for the sign-up bonus, if any.) You should confirm what time each day lines are posted, which exotic bets are offered, and in the case of Internet-based books get a phone number for technical support should you require it later.

Use this conversation to make sure you’re comfortable with the book. I’m not saying that if the customer service rep is a smoothie you’re all set, but if your basic questions CAN’T be answered, this book isn’t as good as you thought it was and you should likely just hang up.

Assuming everything goes well, declare that you would like to open an account. They will take down your information and then give you your account number. You will be given or asked to choose a password. If it’s a phone-based book you will be given a number you can call to place wagers and get line rundowns (usually different from the customer service number). You may be asked to send them a piece of picture ID in the mail.

Next you must make a deposit. Most books have several ways to deposit funds, and methods fall into one of five categories:

–Cheque/Money Order by regular mail (when you’re in no hurry; costs the price of an international stamp though you may want to register it)

–Money Order/Cashier’s Cheque by FedEx (takes 2-4 days; costs about $30)

–Western Union (quick collect form or green form)/MoneyGram (takes 30 minutes from the time you send it to clear; Quick Collect is $15 and the green form or MoneyGram can cost up to $100)

–Bank Wire/Telegraphic Transfer (varies up to 5 days; fees from $15-$30 usually)

–Credit Card (takes 10-30 minutes; fees vary wildly, up to 5% of the amount deposited)

I use Western Union Quick Collect whenever possible. It’s cheap (and the books I use always reimburse my fees), fast, and secure. I don’t use credit cards because as a Canadian I always get punished on exchange rates and I’m also nervous about giving out my credit card info over the phone. That said, many people choose to deposit this way, and I’m likely in the minority.

When you want to withdraw winnings, just call the customer service number up and they’ll take you through the routine. You’ll have several choices on how to receive your money. I usually make a partial withdrawal from a book about a month after first depositing just to see how smoothly the payout procedure goes.

8) “Phew. I’m all set now then?”

Yep. Like Kevin says in the Bookies’ Hell posting forum, “I wanna see your bookies panhandling by season’s end!”

The Ten Commandments for Betting the Bowls

by Andrew Iskoe of Logical Approach

Several millennia ago, according to theological scholars, an event took place that has shaped mankind up to this very day. It seems one of the leaders of the people in that long ago time was summoned to the summit of a mountain where he was miraculously handed some tablets from an unknown source. There was no videotaping equipment in that day, nor other technologically advanced tools, to permanently record exactly how this all occurred and what exactly was on those tablets but there have been rumors that there may have been more than one set of what have been come to be known as the Ten Commandments. Though in the minority, some scholars do suggest that there may have been another less publicized tablet that contained thoughts directed at endeavors other than spiritual. Painstaking research has been conducted over many years and we have what we now believe to be the divine words and wisdom, preserved through countless generations, directed towards college football. We present the Ten Commandments for betting and beating the College Bowls.

I. Thou shalt look to pick the straight up winner of the game.

This may seem obvious but let’s examine, for a moment, why this statement is so important. It’s very common for handicappers and players to become overly preoccupied with the pointspread. But how often does the line matter? Actually, the line only matters when the Favorite wins the game but fails to cover the pointspread. The line does not matter when the Favorite wins and covers and when the Underdog wins outright. Since 1991, the team that won the game also covered the pointspread 73.5% of the time. That’s almost 3 games in four over more than 5,200 games. But the percentage is even higher in Bowl games. Since the 1991 season almost 150 Bowl games have been played and the line has come into play barely 11% of the time. That is, in 88.7% of all Bowl games played over the past eight Bowl seasons, the winner of the game has also covered the pointspread. So your first objective is to not be obsessed by the line. Rather, look for the team you think will win the game straight up.

When playing an Underdog you should also consider the Money Line under certain conditions. Money Line wagers do not involve points but rather require your team to win the game straight up. When playing an Underdog on the Money Line you receive odds such as +140 or plus 2 to 1, etc. Here are some statistics to guide you. Double digit underdogs (those getting 10 points or more) win straight up only 25% of the time. Thus if you can get at least 3 to 1 on your double digit dog you are getting a fair shake. Keep in mind that the average line for Bowl Underdogs is roughly +6 so the number of double digit dogs is not great (about one Bowl game in six features a double digit line). Surprisingly Underdogs from + 7 to + 9 ½ win at about the same one in four rate and you occasionally will get 3-1 or better in that price range. About one Bowl in seven falls within this pointspread range. An acceptable Money Line range appears to be from + 3 ½ to + 6 ½, or greater than a field goal but less than a touchdown. Underdogs in this range win about one game in three so getting at least 2-1 on these Underdogs can provide value. About one Bowl game in three falls within this pointspread range. Finally the small underdog, up to + 3. These puppies win only about two games in five so you would need at least 3-2 (+ 150) odds to consider these small Underdogs for a money line play. It is extremely important to shop around for money lines since prices can and do vary widely, much more so than straight pointspreads.

II. Thou shalt honor the Underdog in December, but favor the Favorite in the New Year.

A common misconception amongst many handicappers is that you can profit over the long term simply by blindly playing the Underdog. After all, when you play the Underdog three things can happen and two of them are good. The Underdog can win the game outright and obviously cover the pointspread or the Underdog can lose the game straight up but by less than the pointspread. As we saw in Commandment I, this has not occurred often during the past eight Bowl seasons. Of course the bad thing that happen is when the Underdog loses by more than the pointspread. Yet our research has uncovered a very interesting phenomenon during the past eight seasons. Underdogs have slightly outperformed Favorites in Bowl games played in December, compiling a mark of 54% Against the Spread (ATS). That produces only a very small profit but still beats betting the Favorite. Yet once the New Year is ushered in, Favorites have been awesome. Over the past eight seasons January Favorites have gone 41-22-1 ATS, or 65%. Usually these games are on New Year’s Day and feature the best teams from the regular season just completed. In years past these have been referred to as the Major Bowl games (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta) and the almost-major Bowls (such as the Gator and Citrus Bowls). In most cases the lines are very competitive and the teams will have generally won 8 or more games during the regular season, usually 9 or more. The teams are excited about playing on New Year’s Day (or a day or two later) and are more likely to play true to form.

III. Thou shalt strongly consider Underdogs seeking redemption.

Bowl games afford a team an opportunity to share the national athletic spotlight for a few hours during the holiday season. Often, especially in the minor Bowls, football fans are tuned in to only one game. In the case of New Year’s Day, the starting times of games are staggered so even then certain Bowls will have the spotlight to themselves for at least some period of time.

Teams like to make the best of their time in the spotlight – to put their best foot forward one might say. In the case of a team that lost the previous year in a Bowl game the opportunity to erase the bitter taste of a Bowl defeat that has lasted a year can be a powerful motivator for a good effort. Especially when the team seeking to reverse a defeat is made the Underdog. Historically, such teams have covered the spread at a 60% rate. Several teams meet this condition in 1999. Arkansas, BYU, Mississippi State, Oregon, Syracuse, Texas A&amp;M and Washington are all Underdogs that lost in a Bowl game last year.

IV. Thou shalt respect the running game.

Despite the many changes in the game of football, the ability to control the line of scrimmage has always had a strong correlation to success both straight up and Against the Spread. Controlling the line of scrimmage is best evidenced by the ability to run the ball on offense and to stop the run on defense. Historically, teams that outrush their opponents cover the pointspread in excess of 60%. There are many reasons why such a strong correlation exists, including the obvious one that a team that has the lead is more likely to run the ball in the end stages of a game than to prolong the game by attempting passes.

There has been a tendency in recent years for Bowls to be high scoring, especially the minor Bowls. A part of the reason why this is so is because one or both teams lack a strong running game to be able to control the clock and protect leads late in games. Often that’s the difference between a 9-2 record and a major Bowl bid and a 7-4 log and a minor Bowl appearance.

One indicator that has been successful over the long term has been simply average yards per rush on offense. The team having the better rushing average has covered over 55% of the time in all Bowl games dating back to the mid 1980s. In recent years the success rate has faltered a bit but it is still a good indicator of pointspread success in general, not just in Bowl games.

How important is the rushing game in Bowls? Consider that in the more than 140 Bowl games played since 1991 the team gaining more rushing yards in a Bowl game has covered at better than a 79% clip. Compare that to the 51% ATS success rate enjoyed by the team gaining more passing yards. The team that has the better average yards per rush in a Bowl game (not necessarily the same team that gains the most rushing yards) has covered at slightly under a 75% rate. THAT’s how strong the rushing game is!

V. Thou shalt avoid the disinterested or disappointed favorite.

Not every team that goes to a Bowl is excited about the opportunity. Whereas in days gone by a trip to a Bowl game was a reward for a very successful season, times have changed. Years ago there were many less Bowl games. In order to be invited to a Bowl game a team pretty much needed to win a minimum of 7 and often 8 games. Nowadays it takes only a 6-5 record for a team to become “Bowl eligible.” Mediocrity is hardly worth rewarding but with 23 Bowl games there are now 46 slots to fill. 40% of all Division I-A teams will be going to Bowl games this season. Interestingly, perennial powers Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA and USC are all staying home because of disappointing seasons. Yet there are always teams that do go Bowling that may not look upon the experience as a reward and often give a very lackluster effort. Such teams, especially when favored, present outstanding opportunities to play against. A pair of Bowls from last season serve to illustrate this point very well.

Kansas State, undefeated for most of the season and eyeing a BCS Bowl before losing in the Big 12 title game to Texas A&amp;M was overlooked by the BCS and invited instead to the Alamo Bowl. This was clearly a snub after the Wildcats had played in the Fiesta and Cotton Bowls the two previous seasons. Their lack of interest was obviously ignored by the bettors who drove KSU from an 11 ½ point opening favorite to a 13 ½ point choice. Their opponent was Purdue, themselves perhaps disappointed by a repeat trip to the Alamo Bowl (which they had won the year before) accepted their fate as an 8-4 team and one that was just getting used to being in a Bowl (their Alamo Bowl visit the year before was the program’s first Bowl game in over a decade). Purdue not only covered the generous double digits but won the game outright, 37-34.

USC was another team that was not enthused about playing in their Bowl game, even despite a two season absence from any Bowl. They were favored by 16 points over TCU, a program that had been to just two Bowl games in the past twenty years. The program was on the upswing under new coach Dennis Franchione and was excited to be in the Sun Bowl, even though it was being held in their home state. Of course, TCU pulled the upset, totally outplaying USC and winning 28-19.

Almost always these will be in the pre-January games, but every so often a New Year’s Day participant might be disinterested. Perhaps this Bowl season the Florida Gators will not be enthused about playing Michigan State in the Gator Bowl. For most of the season the Gators were on track for a possible berth in the National Championship game. Losses to Florida State and Alabama (in the SEC title game) may have dampened their enthusiasm for playing in what they may well consider ‘just another Bowl game.’

VI. Thou shalt recognize negative momentum.

Teams that go to Bowl games have generally had pretty good seasons. It can be argued that a 6-5 season is hardly ‘pretty good’ but such teams nevertheless are needed to fill Bowl berths. But what about teams that have ended their ‘good’ regular seasons on a sour note? Or two? Or more? Consider teams that have lost two or more consecutive games at the end of the regular season. Our research revealed some very interesting results that differed depending upon whether the team with that negative momentum was made the favorite or the underdog in their Bowl game.

It can be argued that a team that has lost two or more games can look at its Bowl game in one of two ways – either it’s a chance to end the season on a positive note and make amends for a disappointing finish to what had been a very good season (after all, even a 6-5 team was 6-3 or better before their end of season losing streak). Or, such a team might not be interested in continuing what had been a promising season but which had turned sour down the stretch. Often such a team that is made the Underdog in this situation is a team that had overachieved during the regular season and looks upon this Bowl game as a reward and chance to show they really are an improved team. A Favorite in this spot is more apt to be a team that had higher aspirations but whose late season collapse relegated that team to a much lesser Bowl than had looked likely before the losing streak set in. The results over the past couple of decades seem to support these contentions.

Favorites entering their Bowl game off of two or more consecutive losses are a paltry 5-14 Against the Spread over the past 20+ years. That’s just 26% ATS. Underdogs have fared better, although they’ve not excelled. Underdogs off of two or more straight losses have gone 20-15 ATS (57%) over the past 20+ years.

For the current Bowl season note that these Favorites have lost two or more consecutive games to end the regular season: Penn State, Texas and Florida and would qualify as ‘Play Againsts’ under this theory. These Underdogs have lost two or more straight games to end the regular season: BYU, Syracuse and Mississippi. That trio would be teams that have historically fared well when playing ‘on’ in their Bowl game. With six teams having lost two or more games prior to their Bowl game this season has the greatest number of Bowl teams with negative momentum in more than twenty years!

VII. Thou shalt honor the history of the opposing coaches

There are coaches and there are Big Game coaches and Bowl games are certainly Big Games. Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden have fashioned outstanding Bowl game records over the years. Lou Holtz, while at Arkansas and Notre Dame, did likewise. On the other side of the ledger West Virginia’s Don Nehlan and former Michigan State coach Nick Saban (now at LSU) have compiled poor Bowl records over the years. It is important to study the records of both a team and its head coach in recent Bowl appearances to perhaps uncover some edges not readily visible. Some coaches place great emphasis on winning a Bowl game once the bid is accepted. Other coaches look at a Bowl as an opportunity to prepare for next season, especially if it is a minor Bowl without any national ranking implications. Surfing the Internet during the four to five week period following the end of the regular season and the Bowl game can provide the insights into how a coach is approaching their upcoming Bowl. And don’t assume that a coaching change following the end of the regular season is a negative. Recent history suggests otherwise. Often a new coach can use a Bowl game, often his first game as head coach, as a motivational and recruiting tool. What appears to be a disadvantage – a coaching staff in partial or full disarray – is often the opposite. Most coaches are aware, especially in the minor Bowls which are more spread out than the many Bowls all being played on New Year’s Day, that their Bowl game is the center of attention in the athletic world for several hours. Every Bowl game is telecast on cable or network television. That’s a powerful recruiting tool. But not all coaches see it that way. The preference is to look to back a team whose coach is more interested in winning THIS game than in using the game as an extra practice session for next fall.

VIII. Thou shalt consider Conference strength

Conference strength seems to go in cycles. Last Bowl season saw the Big Ten conference excel in Bowl games, winning all five Bowl games in which conference members participated. They covered in four of those games and had two upset wins by Underdogs (Purdue and Wisconsin). Perhaps that Bowl performance signaled the re-emergence of the Big Ten as college football’s best conference. With 7 of their 11 teams headed to Bowls this season it’s hard to argue the point. Three of those teams are Underdogs this Bowl season – Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State. Contrast the performance of the Big Ten to that of the Pac Ten. In last year’s Bowl season Pac Ten teams were 1-4 both straight up and Against the Spread, including three straight up losses as Favorites (Oregon, UCLA and USC). Perhaps the conference’s dismal Bowl showing was a foreshadowing of the significant decline in the Pac Ten’s fortunes during the 1999 regular season in which the conference was abysmal. Amongst the lowlights in 1999 included several losses by Pac Ten teams to members of the WAC, Mountain West and Big West conferences. Pay attention to conference results in the early Bowl games as often they are accurate barometers of how the better teams will do in later Bowls. Also, make a note of strong or weak performances by a conference during the Bowls. Those results might give you an added edge next season when interconference play takes place in September.

IX. Thou shalt review games against common opponents

It’s quite common for both teams in a given Bowl to have faced one or more foes during the regular season. By examining those games against a common foe, or foes, conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not the right team is favored. More than just the final score should be compared. Look closely at the rushing and passing statistics to see if one team struggled while the other team succeeded in the same aspect of the game against the same opponent. In the very first Bowl game, for example, the Las Vegas Bowl, both Utah and Fresno State faced Colorado State this season. Fresno State won at home 44-13 while Utah lost on the road 31-24. Fresno State managed just 11 first downs against CSU and was outgained by 39 yards but committed 5 turnovers to just 1 by CSU. Utah outgained Colorado State by over 100 yards in a game in which neither team lost a turnover. Fresno State was successful in running the ball against Colorado State. Utah was not. The offshore line has Utah favored by 6 ½ points. Perhaps that is a bit too many based upon their respective performances against their one common foe.

X. Thou shalt consider experience and other intangible factors

Experience is a positive factor when handicapping the Bowls for many of the reasons previously discussed. Especially having an edge in experience over your opponent. Historically, Underdogs with more recent Bowl experience than their favored opponents have cashed at better than 60%. Experience is often related to the current strength of a program. Additionally, experienced teams are better able to handle to off-the-field activities that surround Bowl games and are more likely to be able to ‘get down to business’ once the practice sessions begin and the game gets underway.

That’s what makes this year’s Sugar Bowl, the game for the mythical National Championship, so intriguing from a handicapping perspective. Virginia Tech has the edge in most of the key stats and has performed significantly better against the three foes both the Hokies and Florida State have faced – Clemson, Virginia and Miami. If Bowls were decided simply on the basis of stats then a strong argument can be made that Virginia Tech should be the Favorite. But the experience factor is clearly on the side of Florida State. The Seminoles have already won a National Championship this decade and lost to Tennessee in last year’s National Championship game. Florida State is making their 18th consecutive Bowl appearance. They’ve won 14 of those games and tied another. They are 10-6-1 ATS in those games. But Florida State’s two Bowl losses have come in the past three seasons. Virginia Tech has built a solid program during the 1990s but will be starting a freshman QB, Michael Vick. They are making their seventh straight Bowl appearance and have had mixed results when stepping up in class as they are here.

We’ve covered quite a bit of ground in deciphering these Commandments and there will be games in which there will be conflicts. There is still no hard and fast rule that covers sound judgement but if you pay attention to these Commandments, and heed their advice and warnings, you should have a profitable Bowl season.

Perhaps by reviewing these Commandments very carefully you will be on the right side of this year’s National Championship game. Hopefully that game will cap a very successful Bowl season for you. At the very least you will be armed with some facts and concepts that should serve you well into the next millennium. For now, best wishes for a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and enjoyable Bowl season. Let the Bowls begin!

Andrew Iskoe is a writer, handicapper, researcher and lecturer living in Las Vegas and also co-hosts a daily radio show dedicated to sports wagering. He is a frequent guest on many sports handicapping shows across the country and publishes weekly Football Newsletters and other handicapping resources and provides consulting services in all major</td>