Bookmaker's Corner: Are You Still Betting on Ranked Teams?
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 10/20/2009
When it comes to college football betting, a lot of football betting fans prefer to tackle the ranked teams, as opposed to the non-ranking teams. It's easy to understand why, but in no way am I suggesting this is the easy route to online sports betting success.
Let's start by looking at some of the more obvious reasons as to why ranked teams garner so much more betting action…
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To start with, ranked teams are mostly big colleges and universities with large followings. Alumni are passionate backers of their schools, both emotionally and financially. This translates at the betting window - big time.
Ranked teams are also on TV a lot more. Take last week's Oklahoma-Texas game. A nationally televised rivalry game like is going to draw a lot of betting interest simply because a lot of people are going to watch it. While professional bettors might not even watch the games they're betting on, retail bettors typically do. And a lot of them are simply betting with their hearts, too. (What? Bet AGAINST your favorite team? Your alma mater?) After all, it's your favorite team winning while you're winning money.
Big games like the Red River Rivalry also receive a ton of media coverage, which results in more information and more possible angles for bettors to play on. Each angle is going to be perceived differently by each bettor, leaving plenty of differing predictions on the final score. It's like the difference between a large cap stock and a small cap. More information results in more volume.
Just because a high-profile ranked team is involved and on national TV, however, doesn't necessarily translate into a large handle. It usually takes two ranked teams, which is why Florida's close escape of Arkansas last week didn't hurt the book too much. Even though bettors love the Gators they're not always willing to lay three touchdowns or more. In contrast, there was far more action on Florida when it took on LSU the previous week.
As for games between two non-ranked teams, the handle on these games is usually about 10 to 15 percent the size of games involving ranked teams. Again, these games typically involve smaller schools and they're not going to get nearly as much media coverage - online or on television.
If you're looking for value, however, you're far more likely to find some in games involving non-ranked teams than ones between two ranked teams. Why? Because most sportsbooks don't monitor the lower-profile games as closely - and there's your window of opportunity.
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