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Capping College FB Conference Match-Ups
by Scott Spreitzer - 09/25/2007
Now that conference play is ready to dominate the college football
landscape, I wanted to spend this week providing some tools for
finding value spots.
As we see in other sports, the key to finding the best games to bet
involves swimming against the public tide. Most wagerers focus on the
contenders in each conference with the assumption that theyâ€™re going to
win most or all of their games. The public loves a winner! They
donâ€™t mind laying 14 points or even 28 points if they think that big
name program is expected to win in a blowout. The public also loves to bet
against the worst teams. They see games where the non-contenders get
routed, and assume itâ€™s going to happen all the time.
This creates a very interesting set of circumstances thatâ€™s easy for
sharp handicappers to exploit.
Letâ€™s break conference teams into three groups that are easy to
remember. The â€œAâ€쳌 teams are those that are favorites to win their
conference or division. The â€œBâ€쳌 teams are bowl caliber squads who arenâ€™t
quite good enough to win their conferences. The â€œCâ€쳌 teams are those who
arenâ€™t good enough to post winning records. If you follow college
football, you could pretty much categorize every board team in a matter
of minutes. The classifications are that clear.
Every year, we see the following:
*Teams in the â€œAâ€쳌 category believe their own hype, then play nailbiters
or get upset by â€œBâ€쳌 teams who are dying to knock off a conference power.
*Teams in the â€œBâ€쳌 category lose focus, then play nailbiters or get upset
by â€œCâ€쳌 teams in the lower echelon of the same league.
Instead of noticing what theyâ€™re seeing with their own eyes,
the public keeps betting on the powers and against the patsies to no
avail. They win a few games this way. And, they often win by such
monster margins that it encourages them to keep trying. Theyâ€™ll go 4-6
with four huge wins and think it was the right strategy.
Itâ€™s our job to find danger spots for the overpriced favorites.
Hereâ€™s an exercise that will help you do that:
*For any â€œAâ€쳌 team, circle any upcoming game on the schedule against
another â€œAâ€쳌 team (weâ€™re looking to circle games where the top 2-3 teams
in a conference are going to be playing each other). Once those games
are circled, put a star next to any game immediately before or after a
circled game where that â€œAâ€쳌 team will be facing a â€œBâ€쳌 team. This will be
an ideal spot to look for a bowl caliber â€œBâ€쳌 squad to make headlines
against a national power with an upset or a near miss.
*For any â€œBâ€쳌 team, circle any upcoming game on the schedule against an
â€œAâ€쳌 team. You know the bowl caliber teams in the Pac 10 really get up
for USC. You know the bowl caliber teams in the Big 12 get up for
Oklahoma and Texas. Once these games are circled, put a star by any game
against a â€œCâ€쳌 team that falls immediately before or after the showcase
showdown. This will be an ideal spot for a lesser squad to play over its
head and knock off a bowl bound foe.
In other words, you want to go against â€œAâ€쳌 teams who are looking past
â€œBâ€쳌 teams. You want to go against â€œBâ€쳌 teams who are looking past â€œCâ€쳌 teams.
This is the bread and butter of most winning handicapping approaches in
college football. Going against the public as a general rule is fine.
But, going against them at the same time the â€œin-game motivationsâ€쳌 favor
the underdog is even more powerful. You turn a slight big picture edge
into a dramatic focused advantage in the right kind of matchups.
Oh, this approach gets even STRONGER later in the season once the BCS
rankings come out. â€œAâ€쳌 teams get even more overconfident and distracted
when they start thinking about the national championship picture. â€œBâ€쳌
teams are even more fired up when they step up in class, but even more
flat against a lesser opponent because of the look-ahead or letdown.
If I were you, Iâ€™d take some time today to go through everyoneâ€™s
schedules and map out the possibilities. That will make sure the
percentages are in your favor all season long.