It seems like college football can’t avoid scandal. Every year a few high profile players are kicked off their team – typically for off the field issues that are the result of shockingly poor judgement. When these dismissals happen, bettors face challenges. They need to be able to determine what the move will mean to the team, how the public will respond, and what impact it will have on their search for value. Here are seven factors for college football handicappers to consider when looking at these high profile dismissal situations:
When did it happen? – This is the single most important factor to consider in these situations. The longer a college football team has to deal with a situation before they face the pressure of a game, the easier the transition will be. In other words, a college player that is kicked off his team in June is often not worthy of serious panic, while a player who finds his trouble in October could be a major issue. The public is also going to take much more notice of a dismissal right before or during the season then one in the spring or summer because they will have forgotten the incident since they have a short memory.
Was he a leader? – Losing a strong player is always going to have some sort of impact on the football team. That impact will be amplified, though, if he is not only an important contributor on the scoresheet, but also a valuable leader in the locker room. You can never know for sure how a player is perceived or valued by his teammates unless you are in the locker room yourself, but as a sports bettor. you can get a pretty good idea. If a player wasn’t a key leader then a team only has to make up for him in one way, and the challenge becomes much easier.
Has he missed time before? – The easiest way to determine how a team will function without a key player is to see how they performed without him in the past. Were they lost without him, or was he barely missed? If the player missed significant time before then the answer often becomes simple – as long as he was similarly important to the team the last time he missed time.
What was his expected impact? – There are many NCAA football players who have a reputation that exceeds their actual productivity. This can happen if they make flashy, highlight reel types plays, or if they were highly recruited or otherwise heavily covered by the media. Before you evaluate the impact of the dismissal, you need to be sure of what he was actually expected to provide. It’s very easy for the public to overcompensate in one of these situations because of their inaccurate perception of the player.
Who will take his place? – College football success relies on team depth more than any other factor. Teams that can recruit consistently always have other players to fill in when a player moves on. That’s how teams can lose several players to the draft and still be competive the next year. If a team is deep and impressive then they may have a player who will be able to fill the gap effectively. Often times, this player wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise. On top level teams, guys further down the depth chart might even be better than the older players they are waiting behind.
Does the team seem to have other issues? – In other words, was the dismissal the result of an isolated incident, or does it seem to be a symptom of bigger problems for the team? Were other players involved? Does the football team always seem to be running into disciplinary issues? Does the coach seem to be losing control of his squad? Is the coach secure in his job, or is the dismissal another issue that is leading to his inevitable departure? The more stability there is with a team the easier it is to trust their ability to rebound from a situation like this and that can make them a good bet.
How is the public responding? – There are some situations like this that will be very big news. Fans of college football sport will follow it closely and respond strongly – and likely negatively – to the situation. In other cases, though, the story only barely registers with the national media and is effectively forgotten about soon after it breaks. there can be a number of contributing factors to how the story is perceived – what else is going on in the sports world at the time, the profile of the player, the program he has been dismissed from, and so on. The stronger the response the public has to a story the bigger the impact it can have on how lines are set and how they move. As a college football handicapper, you want to be aware of this.