Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 10:12 PM
This past weekend, favorites covered more than 60% of the college football games on the board. Oregon started off the theme Thursday Night against Cal. Then Boise State crushed Fresno State Friday. Then…it seemed like every big TV game Saturday went to the favorite…with Oklahoma trashing Texas, LSU lighting up Florida, Notre Dame annihilating Air Force, Arkansas bashing Auburn.
What commonly happens in Las Vegas when something like this occurs is that the general public then says to themselves, “Aha! Favorites are HOT…now is the time to load up on favorites!”
My College of Advanced Handicapping is here to tell you that this is a horrible mistake. History makes it very clear that one-sided weeks in favor of the favorite or the dog are very common in the world of sports betting. They rarely signal a trend. If they do signal a short-term trend, that trend gradually reverses itself over time and brings everything back to even.
Now, I should point out that the OPPOSITE inkling is also wrong. There’s a percentage of Vegas gamblers who would see a big favorite profit on a Saturday…and then decide that, “Aha! Dogs are DUE…now is the time to load up on underdogs!” This is just another variation of the gamblers fallacy. The market is generally going to have an even split over the long haul. One wild Saturday in one direction doesn’t mean there will be a wild Saturday in the other direction that you’ll be able to see coming. These things happen randomly over the course of weeks and seasons. Don’t imagine you’re seeing into a crystal ball. Humans are horrible when it comes to instinctively understanding probabilities. Vegas exists and thrives because the gut instincts of gamblers are so bad!
If YOU are like most football bettors, you play way too many favorites and not enough dogs. You probably had a great Saturday, particularly if you like betting the TV games. Sportsbooks absolutely HATED Saturday because the square favorites kept winning right up until Ohio State covered a late game against Nebraska. And that was by no means enough to salvage the day from their perspective.
Don’t let that great day go to your head. If you’re planning on doing the same thing next week, you’re probably in for a rude awakening. You’ll bet more than you used to because you’re flush with cash. The laws of math will come crashing down on your head and your month is ruined. Beating the spread isn’t grade school stuff…that’s why I created the College of Advanced Handicapping.
Here’s my advice for next week’s colleges…
*Handicap each game as it comes…look at the talent on the field…the gamebreakers on each team…and determine what you think the number should be.
*Account for any motivational edges that might be in play like “bounce back” spots or letdowns. There are certainly some prominent teams who might be motivated to atone for embarrassing TV losses last week. Adjust your initial number based on motivational factors.
*Compare your number to the Vegas number and bet accordingly.
Don’t worry about playing a lot of favorites because they seem hot…or dogs because they seem due. The players and teams don’t care what football roulette looked like last week. They’ve got a job to do. Handicapping their games means understanding that job and predicting the outcome based on matchups and motivation.
My College of Advanced Handicapping is here to discourage you from falling pretty to gambling fallacies. You won’t be ready to attend until you clean up the leaks in your own approach.
I’m looking forward to this week’s college slate. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder after last weekend myself. I’ll definitely have something special for you here at the website in either USC-Cal or SDSU-Air Force Thursday Night. I know both the Pac 10 and Mountain West like the back of my hand, so there’s a chance I’ll have a two-team parlay to kick off the week. I’ll move to the WAC Friday Night for Hawaii-San Jose State. Then…Katie bar the door on Saturday because my Oktoberfest is going to come out guns blazing with what might be my biggest release this season in the colleges.
You can purchase game day releases right here at the website with your credit card. Seasonal packages are also available and are value-priced.
Thanks for attending today’s presentation from the College of Advanced Handicapping. I’ll be back on Friday to discuss an element of college and pro football handicapping that’s very important. I look forward to seeing you again at that time.