One of the most frequently asked questions college football bettors ask is how do you pick winners? Someone long before yours truly came along wished they had come up with that answer. The best answer involves one of the most elementary of aspects in being successful not only in picking college foot games, but in life and at work, know your fundamentals.
What this means is developing as set of statistics that are reliable and can be counted on week after week. Phil Steele of Northcoast Sports uses as many as nine sets of power ratings for his college football annual. When I sat down with the boss, Ken White of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, he showed me books he uses to develop several types of power ratings.
StatFox does much the same, having free power ratings on its college football pages along with having others that are used for statistical analysis for the Foxsheets product.
Most every self-taught handicapper or sports bettor has to have a set of numbers that can help them create an initial snapshot of how a college football contest may turn out. Being able to analyze and create information is the lifeblood of sports wagering success. Renowned professional sports bettor Lem Banker lived a very comfortable life betting sports and was known to have the sharpest numbers around from his own figures.
I delved into numbers a long time ago, starting with magazine still in existence called GamePlan. In there, they had a set of numbers for every college football team (they also had NFL). Before computers, this was strictly manual labor and I started charting these numbers and over the years fine-tuned them to today’s present form.
This activity isn’t for everyone, since it is time consuming and definitely cuts into your social life, however if you are truly interested in winning at sports betting beyond just a hobby, this activity is a must.
Again I will state as I have often before, there is no one way to win betting sports, much like the stock market, it’s a series of factors that allows you to profit, not a singular entity. That’s not saying you can’t by applying just one methodology, you would have to instead narrow focus and be satisfied with fewer plays from lacking additional information, not a bad way to go.
Here was my current Top 5 going into the weekend.
5) Boise State
For the people that I’ve shared this with, I’m told I’m crazy to have Boise State rated this high, they should be in the seven or eight range. I don’t disagree; I just total the numbers with the various factors and add them up. Making in season adjustments makes the numbers subjective and that lessens the value of the numbers.
While the point is to create a picture, it is also designed to find value. Here is a perfect example from last year’s bowl season. For the Sugar Bowl, Alabama was bounced around as a 9.5 to 10-point favorite, before it settled at the lower number the day of the game (7.5). The Monday after the regular season ended, Alabama came in at No. 6 and Utah at No.9 in my power ratings. For this BCS bowl, the Crimson Tide came out as six-point favorites or nowhere near the number assigned by oddsmakers. This became a red flag and after reviewing several other elements about the Crimson Tide and the Utes, it became clearer than a over-priced bottled water, Utah was the play. About 10 days before the game was played, UFABET made my investment and the win was one of the easiest of the entire bowl season.
Just a few weeks ago, a number came up that left me speechless. USC and Oregon was a huge game recently in the Pac-10 and though the Ducks had a swagger about them, they were playing the Trojans, who ALWAYS play well in big games and win the vast majority of the time. Taking into consideration home field advantage (having specific numbers for each team’s home field edge is a must for accuracy) for the Ducks, Oregon came up as 5.5-point favorites. I was stunned. Despite over 20 years of honing numbers just like these, I let personal prejudice blind my judgment and passed on the game. I believe the term for that is “buffoon”.
While I missed on that superb opportunity, others have come that made more sense that have led to significant profits. If you go back and review all the preseason annuals, nobody had Tennessee in their Top 25. However, the Vols had a certain charm with a good defense, supposedly improved offense and coaching staff that was energizing the program. Tennessee started the year at No. 15 and has been in the Top 25 all but one week.
Does that seem crazy for a team that is 5-4, you bet, in terms of conventional wisdom. Let’s dig a little deeper. The Volunteers are 3-3 as favorites this season, with matching spread record. Dress the orange and white clad Vols up as underdogs and we find three defeats, which are comfortably masked as three covers of the spread. Here is the point of finding overvalued teams as set by the oddsmakers.
Florida -30 over Tennessee (PR – Florida -18.5)
Georgia -1.5 over Tennessee (PR – Vols -7)
Alabama -14 over Tennessee (PR – Alabama -10)
Remember, the odds are stacked against you. In order to win you have to pay 11 to win 10. (Try making a bet with your friends using that technique) Any edge you can create that provides even the slightest chance of winning is beneficial. You can search the internet to find power ratings (as mentioned StatFox has free one’s) and it’s not too late, with four weeks still to go in the regular season and the entire bowl season ahead.