The bowl game season is among us. It’s like three weeks of Christmas opening up a different present everyday. The thing I like the most is all the time there is from now until the bowl games are played. That can create great opportunities if you disagree with the public, but can be frustrating and costly if you like the same team. In these games the public action is far less significant. They are looking ahead to the championship game and focusing on the wild card games in the NFL, so they really don’t care about these small bowl games. We amass tremendous betting information during this time. The counter bets, the huge bets from amateurs, the sharp guys and the parlay players. Many gamblers come to Vegas during December to bet their favorite teams. That means that there is a much better chance of getting a fair price when betting. It also means that as a college football handicapper you can attach more significance to any line moves that happen because they are more affected by smart money. That extra time is power for us. Use it to find out about key players that are passing on their bowl game from not wanting injury or bad exposure.
Look for value
Overlooked strong matchup pop up all the time. A game doesn’t have to be played for the playoffs or New Years Day to have value. Some years the matchup is almost of BCS quality, but it draws a small fraction of the attention and betting action that the BCS games draw. That means you have the opportunity to bet on a big time game without the big time attention surrounding it. That’s a rare and pleasing opportunity for football bettors.
The long layoff
Long layoffs affect teams differently. The gap between the last game of the regular season and the bowl game is always a factor in bowl handicapping.
Football teams can have as many as six weeks between games. For bettors who are paying attention and who can get a good sense of the motivating psychology of teams this is a very good thing. There is so much that can affect how a college team plays after a long layoff – how healthy they are, how good their coaching staff is at preparation, the focus and discipline of the team, the excitement a team feels about playing in the game, any changes to the coaching staff since the last game, and so on. One of the biggest factors is the passing game of teams. Long layoffs really affects the timing of many quarterbacks to wide receivers.
Players that opt out
The betting public doesn’t typically interpret the affect of these on a team very well, so the better you are at it the more opportunity these games can present. Additionally, in today’s age, many players opt out to protect their career from injuries if they have NFL talent.
Go with what’s working
By the time the championship playoff games roll around you have seen more than 25 bowl games, and you have bet on a good number of them. The best way to learn about how to handicap effectively is to look at what has been working for you with college football games. When you handicap these games you have three weeks of valuable first hand experience to draw from. Most players problems are that they don’t apply what they’ve watched or learned. However, if you learn from what has been working and what hasn’t then this should be the best part of your bowl season.