How to Bet on College Football: Tips, Advice and Proven Wagering Strategy
Football is king. That we know. What we should also know is that while the NFL takes the honors in terms of coverage, revenue, and everything in between, the on-field product is at an all-time low. The action is just all around sloppy. And if you combine that with penalties, unclear rules, and inconsistent officiating, you'll understand why the NFL will continue to play second fiddle to the NCAA on an entertainment level. On a betting level, the NFL still reigns supreme. However, betting on college football has more upside and value to it if you know what you are doing.
I understand that it may be easier to study, and handicap, 32 NFL teams compared to more than 100 D1 schools, but nobody is telling you to handicap 100 college teams. Sticking to one conference and specializing in it is just one of the many ways you can turn your Saturdays from a bankroll killer to a bankroll booster.
If you think you can just lump both leagues together and handicap them at the same time, you are greatly mistaken. The NCAA and NFL may look and feel similar, but they are two completely different games - especially to bettors. The NCAA schedule is a grueling grind from Thursday-Saturday. Finding enough time to handicap those games is tough, especially with the NFL week kicking off on Thursday and running on Sunday and Monday. Handicapping each and every game is impossible, but the handful of games that you do decide to handicap will stretch your patience and focus to the limit.
The point of this article is to help you differentiate college football from the NFL and give you a few tips and strategies to make Saturdays more profitable for you.
Specializing in One Conference
It would be silly for me to start off with anything but the most important betting strategy. As I mentioned, college football has more than 100 D1 teams. Unless you dedicate your entire life to handicapping every single game, it's impossible to have a pulse on every single team. Which is why I highly recommend specializing in one conference, maybe even two if you have the time, and sticking to that. This requires patience and money management. However, if you can fully immerse yourself in the happenings of a lower conference such as the Sun Belt, you should be able to find many good betting opportunities and turn a good profit. The reason I said the Sun Belt conference is that these games are very lightly bet compared to SEC or Big Ten. The higher profile the game, or the teams involved, the sharper the line and the less value it has. You don't want to be betting on a line that has little to no value left after the public crushed it and forced the line to move. In addition, some of the smaller conferences slide under the radar, and sportsbooks may spend a fraction less time developing lines for those games, especially when the season is mid-way, the NFL is in full gear, and the NHL and NBA are underway.
Get your Bets in Early
Whenever you spot a line that makes you question the sanity of the linemakers, you should get your action in sooner rather than later because the rest of the betting industry will and then the value will no longer be there for the taking. This is especially important when betting on a favorite.
Because of the magnitude of teams and games during the college football season, lines and odds are little more volatile compared to NFL lines. CFB lines are subject to more sudden movements than NFL lines, and because of that it's imperative that you take your chance when you see a spot to hit. If the line moves in your favor then there is always an opportunity to revisit and get in more money. Once an opportunity is missed, unfortunately nobody has a time machine they can lend you to go back in time.
Scheduling and or Motivation
It would be extremely dumb to assume players don't get amped up for each and every game they play. But when a team is going up against a rival (Michigan vs. Ohio State) or has revenge in their mind from a prior loss, it's safe to say that these players get a little more motivated to perform well.
Motivation in college is an angle that can be used and exploited for profit. If a team lost last year to an opponent in such a heartbreaking fashion, say a last-second touchdown, a bad decision by the ref, or just flat out beat themselves, they will more than likely have that game circled on their calendar for the next year. I'm not saying they will always win the game or cover the spread, I'm just saying that the team with the extra motivation could be worth really looking into.
Much like the motivation angle, the scheduling angle is an opportunity to find teams that are playing well, poorly, or going through a rough stretch of games and then determining whether or not to play or fade them.
For example, if Team X is playing Team Y on Saturday, and both teams are about as equal as can be, it may be hard to decide which side to play. But if we look at the schedule and you noticed that Team X is coming into this game after being on the road last week, and in the stretch of consecutive games against good opponents, and they haven't had their bye yet and they've had to travel more than the other team, it's probably a good opportunity to fade them. Athletes are humans, too, and humans get tired and don't always have their best effort to give despite trying so very hard. Keep an eye out for the way a team is coming into the game and bet accordingly.
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