Finding Good Value

College Football Betting Strategy: Finding Good Value

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When betting college football, we tend to focus on the same things. We look at the teams, where the game is being held, and which players can make an impact. We try to detect which match-ups favor one team. We analyze the injuries and how that could affect the final score of the game. These are all good things to do. It’s called handicapping. And that’s often how we get a grip on what we think will happen in a game.

But beyond mere handicapping is the need to look at betting college football as a market, like with stocks. One of the guiding principles in stock trading is to get good value. The real sharps in that game are looking for undervalued and overlooked stocks. They’re not jumping aboard the same stocks that everyone else is buying. They’re on the hunt for good values.

And that’s what we need to do as college football bettors. Beyond the handicapping, we need to develop a sense of when we are receiving good value or when we’re getting the shaft. Have you ever heard the college football betting mantra that states “the bad teams is where the money is?” What does that mean? How can it be better to take bad teams? Wouldn’t we want our money riding on teams that are successful?

Well, the point-spread already accounts for the fact that a team is not so good. It’s just that the tendency is to rave for good teams and rant against bad teams. In other words, a team’s greatness gets exaggerated, while a team’s mediocrity also get overstated by the point-spread. And that equals good value for you as a bettor.

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College football is big-time athletics nowadays. The media attention is enormous, as is the fan support. And at the betting windows. People betting on college football are human. They watch ESPN, read the paper, and listen to the radio. And which teams are being discussed usually? Yes, it’s the glamor teams. The teams with huge followings. The teams with Heisman candidates. The historically good teams.

It’s important to know the equal importance of having a good offense and defense. But when it comes to getting media and fan attention, offense is what people are generally looking at. Offense sells tickets. It sells magazines. It makes people tune into games. As a result, offensive prowess has really trumped defensive greatness as the gold standard. Offensive juggernaut teams are the ones people are hearing about, being inundated with information and hype. And then there are teams that are always talked about–historically strong college teams. It doesn’t even matter if they are still the powerhouse that got everyone interested in the first place.

The astute college football bettor is willing to take a contrary stance. He doesn’t find security in numbers and is not interested in being part of a consensus. He’s trying to find good value and he knows that hype is death to the idea of good value. So playing “follow the leader” is not something he is interested in doing. In fact, he tends to do the opposite, knowing that good value can only come from more dark-horse type of teams.

It takes confidence to not conform. But getting good value is really what it’s all about in any market and college football betting is in fact a market. And if you stay sharp, you can adhere to a “buy low/sell high” framework that will surely boost your profits. And that doesn’t mean you will always be taking crappy teams, either.

While the more explosive offensive teams are the ones who receive all the pub, that’s not the only way for a team to be effective. Defensively-strong teams, for example, don’t get talked about. Defensive players don’t get the same attention as their offensive counterparts, even if they are slightly better at what they do. And defense, year after year, is what covers spreads. That offensively-explosive team that is getting all the attention and maybe they’re even covering some spreads. But defensive teams are the real diamonds-in-the-rough–the teams that will allow to get the best value for your buck.