Season win totals are a very interesting and increasingly popular way to bet on college football. The downside to the bets is that your money is tied up for the entire season. That complication can be very much worthwhile, though, if the value is there – and you can find some serious value in win totals. Unfortunately, it is also pretty easy to make some costly mistakes that can lock your money int a low value proposition if you aren’t careful. Here are five of the biggest mistakes sports bettors need to avoid when they are thinking about the season win total bets they will make this college football season:
Undervaluing opponents – When thinking about win totals most college football bettors go right to the schedule. They will look at the games that are easy wins, the ones that are sure losses, and the ones that are somewhere in between. It’s that first group that can easily get people into trouble, though. If a team comes from a minor conference and doesn’t have star players or a big name coach and they haven’t been covered recently by the national media then it can be very easy to assume that they are going to be easy to beat. There are a lot of solid football programs that operate in total obscurity, though. It is crucial when you are handicapping the schedule that you are sure of what teams have to offer beyond their name and reputation before you assume that they will be beaten easily. The opposite is true as well – sometimes a football program that has long been elite can be playing well below their reputation yet they are given far too much credit because of what they have done in the past.
Assuming the best for new starters – College football fans and bettors tend to be optimists – especially when considering teams that they really like. Highly touted young prospects are praised as being athletic freaks, and big things are expected from them from the start. In a lot of cases, though, it takes some time for these players to adjust to the college game and to find a way to be valuable and effective. Sometimes they may never actually make the adjustment. A lot of season win total bettors aren’t patient enough when dealing with these young football phenoms who will be starting for the first time. They assume that the players will adjust well and will be able to perform close to their potential. That can cause a bettor to overestimate the win potential of a team – especially if the high profile youngster is at a key position like quarterback or linebacker.
Ignoring assistant coach changes – Head coaches get paid the big bucks, and a lot of attention is paid to their comings and goings. Assistant coaches can often fall further under the radar, though. It’s those assistants who have the day to day contact with players, and who are responsible for implementing systems and making adjustments. A change in an assistant, then on a football team, can have a huge impact on the potential performance of a team. It is time very well spent to track the changes in assistants and what that means for the team and their short term potential. Sometimes even an assistant who is a very good fit with a team can experience some growing pains early on in his first season, and that could lead to some value in the win totals.
Ignoring game location – The impact of home field advantage is very significant in college football, so it is crucial that you pay attention not just to what teams are on the schedule, but where the games will be played. Neutral site games can be easily missed. Some teams will be well suited to win a game played at home that they would almost certainly lose on the road. As a sports bettor, you need to be very careful here – especially because a lot of casual bettors won’t be, so you can gain an edge.
Ignoring style of play – When you look at the schedule a college football team faces there are going to be games in which they clearly have a significant advantage in terms of caliber of players and depth. That doesn’t always mean that the more talented team will win, though. You need to look beyond the average number of recruiting stars the players on a team have to the style of play that those players are asked to play. A bigger, stronger defense could be in trouble against a much smaller offense if that offense is particularly fast and able to exploit holes. The best pass defense in the world could be in trouble against an offense that runs every time they touch the ball. A tricky offense can create real headaches if the defense has never seen it. Style problems are very easy and very costly to overlook. Pretty much every major upset that happens in college football is a result of a style issue that a team could not overcome. Remember that when handicapping the NCAA.