Keeping Your Cool During Bowl Season

College Football Betting: Keeping Your Cool During Bowl Season

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

College football bettors face a unique challenge when the bowl season rolls around every year. Every week leading up to bowl season has dozens of games on the board. The college football schedule on a given week in the regular season is a free-for-all. Then suddenly, there is only a game or two going on–and some bettors take too big of a stand on games.

If we are betting in a serious manner, we are selective about the games we wager on during the season. There may be 50-something games on the schedule, but we obviously don’t bet on all of them. Why would you change that approach during bowl season? If only betting 2-4% of games during the regular season, what makes people bet on 80 or 90% of all bowl games?

It’s understandable to a certain extent. Bowl season is a time where you can sometimes get a better read on teams. The excitement level during this part of the season is heightened. With only a handful of games to review in a given day or week, you can give games more attention and potentially come up with some well-guided picks.

Make no mistake–there will be some good spots for you to pounce on in the bowl season. At the same time, we need to look at a bowl game the same way we look at any other game during the college football season. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game between Marshall and Akron in week 6 or if it’s the BCS Championship game. Both are the same thing for a serious betting man–a potential bet that we may or may not make–based on many standards.

We rely on our standards throughout the season as the main determinant in our wagering. Some of us have different handicapping styles, but all of us have a watermark–a line in the sand for whether we bet a game or not. Just because bowl season begins shouldn’t give us license to lower those standards. Some bettors are guided by more recreational motives and that’s fine. But you can’t be a serious bettor and then just have your whole handicapping and wagering model erode late in the season.

It’s not the bowl season for wagering. We are not in the postseason. The teams and the players are. There may be items that lie within that which help us get a leg up in a wager. It’s just that we can’t get too swept up in the hysteria of bowl season as if it applies to us. Serious bettors painstakingly pour over games weekly, trying to isolate their picks to the few nuggets they found among the sea of games. Come bowl season, we should stick to doing the same thing. If a game, regardless of its implications in the big picture of the sport, doesn’t measure of as being bet-worthy, we should leave it alone.

Sure, we might be at home alone someday with the family off on an outing. A bowl game is on and we feel like having some action of the game. It’s funny how the desire of making a bet will give way to all kinds of sudden opinions and insight. If you want to bet a game that badly, you will find a reason to bet it. During bowl season, a game either cuts the mustard or it doesn’t. When we start betting on games during bowl season that would have not otherwise made the cut, we are all but asking to end the year on a bad note.


Bowl season is a time of year to go out on a good note. If we start getting cavalier with our money, it renders all of our previous work pointless. Why have such high standards during the regular season if we’re just going to swing it from the hip at the end of the day? If we set out to be serious bettors, a big part of that is that we never let our standards unravel.

This is not to say you need to be a total stiff during the bowl season, it’s just that a little trepidation is recommended to temper the normal increased urge to bet during this time of the college football season. To start betting on a less-selective basis, while putting more than the normal amount on games, is not the way to go.