On the surface betting the second half in college football games seem like a great idea. After all, before you have to lock up your money and make a bet you get to watch the entire first half, or at least see the stats to get a sense of how the game is going. While the bets are attractive for that reason and others, the problem is that you have a very short amount of time to make a decision, and it can be particularly challenging on a busy day when a lot of games are at the half at the same time. That doesn’t mean that these sports bets aren’t worth making – they definitely are. It just means that you have to have a plan in place and solid discipline if you want to make these bets effectively. If you lack those factors then second half bets are an easy place to go broke. Here are six rules for college football handicappers for making winning second half bets in college football:
Know what you are looking for in advance – When I am betting second halves there are some situations that I know have regularly led to profit for me. For example, if a defense has been successful but has played a lot of minutes in the first half against a solid offense then they are likely to have some problems in the second half. Or if an offense is moving the ball very effectively but bad luck has stopped them from scoring points then their performance will often improve in the second half. Because I know that these and other situations are good indicators of potential success for me then I can spend my time looking at the first halves that have been played to find situations in which my preferred situations occurred, and I can make a decision on those games from there. You simply don’t have the time to do in depth handicapping, so looking for situations like this makes you far more effective. With second half bets you do your homework far in advance by finding those situations, and that homework pays off when you find and make the bets.
Learn to eliminate games quickly – Because you are dealing with such a short window to make your decisions and place your bets you have to learn to be ruthless in your decision making. If you don’t like how a game looks for any reason at all then you just have to toss it out and move onto the next. The longer you are spending looking at a marginal game the better the chance that you will miss out on finding a good one on which to bet.
Look for situations far from expectations, then ask why – Before a game starts you typically have a sense of about how you would expect it to turn out – who would be leading, who would be performing well or struggling, and so on. If in reality the first half of the football game has turned out dramatically different from those expectations then you need to look at why that has happened. Has there been an injury? Is the weather a factor? If there isn’t an obvious, straightforward explanation for what has happened then it is quite possible that after teams have had the time to adjust and regroup at the half the second half will perform much closer to expectations – as long as those expectations were reasonable in the first place.
Don’t overvalue the first half – A lot of bettors will place far too much significance in what happened in the first half. Some teams don’t worry about playing their best in the first half. Perhaps they are lazy or unmotivated, but more likely they know that they have a fitness, talent, and athleticism advantage that will be more than enough for them to come out on top in the end. What matters in the first half is relevant, but it is far from certain that what matters in the first half will even remotely resemble what happens in the second half. Oddsmakers know that people will often fall into the trap of assigning too much significance to the first half, and they will set the lines accordingly. Don’t let them catch you, too.
Look for massive value – There is a lot of uncertainty in second half bets and you don’t have time to double and triple check your handicapping. That means that they bets you make have to be bets that you perceive you have a very big edge in. You might be willing to accept slivers of value in other places when you can be more precise in your handicapping, but here you have to accept the limitations of your handicapping and look for big value as a result. For example, if you think a college football team is likely to win the second half by a touchdown then you might bet on them if they are underdogs or if they are favored by three, but you should stay away if they are favored by 6.5.
Be strict with your bankroll – When you are making sports bets on the fly it can be very easy to get carried away and get into a deeper hole than you intended to. Before you make your first second half bet of the day it is crucial that you have chosen the bet size you will be using, you have identified how many units you will be betting in different circumstances, and you know how much money you are willing to gamble overall on the second half bets.