It’s not at all uncommon to see a college football coach fired before his team’s season has ended. As the pressure and intensity increases in the sport it’s only going to happen more often. When it does happen the betting public tends to react in a predictable and consistent way – they overreact and expect the very worst. There are several reasons why that isn’t always the correct reaction to a college football coaching change. One of the biggest reasons is that there are more than one cause of a midseason change. Basically, there are two main reasons a coach can be fired in the middle of the season – unsatisfactory performance, or a scandal. Though both causes have the same end result – a new coach has to take over during the season – they can have very different impacts on their teams. Smart bettors will recognize those differences so that they can find ways to profit from them. Let’s take a look:
Coach fired for poor performance
Team probably saw it coming – If a school has gotten to the point where they don’t want the football coach to finish the year then his firing likely doesn’t come as a surprise t anyone. The team has been bad for the season, and the players are likely frustrated. There will be little element of surprise or shock for them to deal with. That can make the transition to a new coach – most likely just an interim coach – easier because they are not likely to be particularly invested in he old coach because of the struggles.
Public has probably already forgotten about the team – If a college football team is bad enough to get a coach fired midseason then they are definitely bad enough for the public to have forgotten about them. The sports betting public has little patience or attention span for losing squads, so they likely haven’t been paying attention to the team. The firing of the coach will get them back into the national spotlight, so the public will be drawn to bet on their next game. They likely won’t have paid close attention to the football team up to this point, though, so their opinion is likely to be affected by the firing more than anything else. It won’t be an accurate bet based on what they are really capable of, so if you think that the team isn’t as bad as they seem – or if you think an interim football coach can make quick changes for short term gain – then you could find very attractive value in betting on that team.
Changes were planned by administration – If the administration decides to make a change then they have likely had the time to prepare for it as well as they can. That means that they have a plan for when the change will happen, who will take over, and what the media message will be. That’s typically not the case when a scandal causes the change, and it means that the team is likely better prepared for the change and less emotionally impacted for their next game.
Coach fired due to scandal
Public will have strong emotional involvement – If a scandal is big enough to get a coach fired midseason then it has likely gotten a whole lot of national attention, and it probably has people angry or emotional. The public is far more likely to make emotional decisions in this case than if the firing was due to poor performance. The more emotional the public is about a situation, the more likely that they will make a poor decision when it comes to betting on the team’s next game and that can create opportunities for great value.
Team will likely be in better shape on the field – If a college coach is fired for poor performance then the team just isn’t very good. Either they have serious talent issues, or they are poorly prepared and poorly coached. When a scandal brings a coach down the performance on the field is irrelevant. It’s quite possible, then, that a football team could actually be playing pretty well at the time of the change. The wagering public will likely be very negative about a team after a coach is fired in these circumstances. It’s quite possible, then, that the public will bet strongly against a college team that really doesn’t deserve all the negative attention – on the field, at least.
Players likely more emotionally affected – When a coach is fired for poor performance the players know that it is likely coming. The firing can come as more of a surprise in the case of a scandal, and it can often come in a situation in which the coach wouldn’t otherwise be fired. In these cases, then, the team is likely to be more emotionally affected because they have had less time to get used to the change, and they aren’t nearly as likely to have checked out as they would if the team was performing poorly.
Media coverage more intense and sensational – The media will cover any firing of a coach closely, but they are going to be far more involved in covering a firing due to a scandal – particularly if it is a major scandal. The more intense the media coverage is – especially if it is strongly one-sided as it is likely to be in the case of a scandal – the more one-sided the public focus is likely to be on the game from a betting perspective. That can mean value for the college football handicapper who can decipher the impact and understand how it correlates with the point spread and betting trends.