A Very Different Pigskin
By Frank Alulio
In most handicapping circles, college football is believed to be more profitable than NFL football. The inexplicable part about it is that the same reason that makes it more profitable, in fact makes it more difficult. It may sound strange, but it is the truth. In this article I will examine some of the misconceptions that I have come across, and some of the finer points that one must pay attention to when ‘capping the college game.
The Fix Trap
I still remember the first time I called a handicapping service. They almost had me convinced to send them $500 because they said they had fixed certain college games. “How many guys playing this weekend are going to make it to the NFL”, they asked. I responded, “maybe a handful”. “Well that is exactly why I slipped them a few bucks to help us win today”, he claimed. It almost made sense; I had my credit card in my hand, and then I gave my head a shake. Something just doesn’t make that argument right, and I am still convinced games aren’t fixed, but that is another article in itself. The point here is that whether games are fixed or not, there are still only two possible outcomes. Whether you are on the team that puts in the winner’s circle more often than not will depend on the hours you put in, not the amount of “inside information” you purchase. And indeed handicapping college football required more hours of work and more due diligence.
So Many Games, Too Many Options
Consider the fact that there are so many games in College football every week. Now establish the fact that lines makers are essentially handicapping the game to establish the handicap, or the line and you quickly realise why you can find good value in the smaller conference games. The problem is, that to find a game of value, one must search through so many match ups.
Get a Head Start
One of the better ways to handicap college football is to do you homework before the season starts. There are teams that traditionally do better against the spread. Some teams are deadly against the spread at home or rarely lose in bowl games. Know who these teams are. This type of historical information can be an excellent starting point, and if you found more information to pull the trigger, these games should produced results.
Trends Lead the Way
Although I don’t promote trend handicapping in a big way, in the case of college football, they can be a vital tool. There exist tons of trends that have proven track records that can be a good starting point for making your weekend plays. They are readily available and are easy to manage and keep up to date. Using trends give you a historical advantage that in many cases should not be overlooked. There are some handicappers who rely completely on trends and make a good living doing it.
The Big Game Misconception
Many handicappers try to stray players away from national games. Why? When a game is in the national spotlight, information is more readily available. Although the sportsbooks will spend more time on these games, they know they have to because the availability of reports on this game will truly test their knowledge and line making ability. Don’t just stray away from a game because it is a feature match up. Have a look at it, the information is there, read it, analyse and only then decide to pass or play. Don’t just pass!
If You are Not Going to Watch, Don’t Play
A lot of people make selections on teams and they don’t even know what colour uniform they wear. It is easiest to handicap teams that you can watch play. The score does not tell the entire story and in the long run if you diligently watch your games you will be a better handicapper for it.
Read, Read, Read and Read Some More
If you are going to win playing college football get ready to study a ton of teams. If you don’t like to read up on teams strengths and weakness, you are decreasing your ability to pick a winner. Teams have good records for different reasons. Two teams with equal records may in fact be a mismatch. College teams recruit differently, and you need a feel for what they generally do, have on the depth chart and how they game plan. It’s a lot of work, but its necessary.
Get To Graduation
Every year a ton of players leave college ball in search of greener pastures. A lot don’t even bother to wait for graduation anymore. It is imperative to know who will and won’t be in uniform anymore, and what plans have been made to replace the dearly departed. Did the player fit the system, or did the system fit the player. You need some understanding of how and why things work in a certain programs.
You Can’t Lose on a Pass
The thought of having so many games on the schedule and the general belief that college football is more profitable leads a lot of people to play it for the wrong reason. With so many options, the college ball can eat you up faster than any other league if you are undisciplined. So if you are not willing to do the work or don’t have a reliable service to do the work for you – don’t play, you could do much better somewhere else.
In conclusion, as you can see the number of games in general is a problem for those that aren’t willing to get in the trenches, roll up their sleeves and do some homework. But for those that know how to handicap the game there is value in a lot of lines. Come up with a plan on deciding which games to handicap and you are half way home. This is not the NFL and there are a lot of people for a lot of reasons that win in the NFL and lose in the NCAA. College football handicapping is not for everyone.
Good Luck in NCAAF this season.
Frank is the owner and lead handicapper of Strictly Sports Winners Inc. Established in August 2000 Frank has become a model of handicapping consistency and looks to educate everyone who visits his site http://www.strictlysportswinners.com on the finer points of sports investing.