I love the summer for the weather and all the fun things to do, but there is a big part of me that just wants it to end. The summer is what stands between me and the glorious return of the college football season, so at times it just seems endless. If you are like me then you probably try to make time pass by devouring all of the information you can dig about about your NCAA teams and the major conferences. That’s a good thing for sports bettors to be doing with their time, but when they do so there are some serious and potentially costly mistakes that they can make. Here are four of the biggest mistakes that impatient college football bettors can make during the summer:
Getting caught up in recruiting – This is a tough one. One of the main things that happens during the summer in college football is recruiting. It’s hard not to get swept up with who is going where, which teams are doing very well, and which ones are struggling. The momentum teams have or don’t have in recruiting can easily color your perception of the whole team if you aren’t careful. There is just one problem – the recruits who commit to schools in the summer are only high school juniors or even sophomores, so they are still a year or two away from stepping onto campus. In many cases they are another year away from playing because of redshirts. In short, then, the recruiting headlines you read during the summer have virtually no impact on what will happen on the football field in the fall. Paying attention to the recruiting is fun, and it can give you a big edge as a bettor down the road, but in terms of the immediate future you just have to block out what you have seen.
Believing the hype about freshmen – The media doesn’t have a lot to talk about during the summer, so they have to find stories. One of the easiest stories for them to write is about the flashy new college freshmen who are about to make their debuts. The elite freshman are very impressive players who have been tearing apart competition and wowing scouts for years. They are also taking a massive step up in class. Now they have to put far more time into football than ever before, they have to live away from home for the first time, they have to learn a very tough playbook, and they are suddenly playing against a much higher level of competition. Some football players shine under that pressure, others take a while to adjust but are eventually fine, and some just never make it. Let a freshman show you what he can do on the field – or at least where he can land on the depth chart at the start of the season – before you get too excited about the prospects of his arrival.
Buying too strongly into new coaches – If a new college coach hits the ground running he can build a whole lot of momentum between January and September. If he recruits well, says the right things, and rebuilds relationships with the media and alumni that were lost under the old coach then it can seem like he is the king of the world. You have to stop yourself from getting too excited, though, before he has even coached a game. How will he perform under game pressure? Can he work with his new coaching staff? Does he have the players that suit his system? How well can he teach that system? A new coach doesn’t deserve an ounce more respect than what he deserves from his performance on the field.
Not using the time to study other teams – If you are a committed fan of a team or a conference then you will spend the summer looking at that NCAA team from every possible angle as you await the start of the season. What a lot of college football bettors miss out on, though, is also looking at the teams that that team will play. You know the schedule months in advance, so you might as well use the summer to get to know every team on the schedule of the teams you plan to bet on. Are there non-conference opponents from small conferences that could be dangerous, or are they totally outmatched? Which opponents are breaking in new personnel at key positions? Which ones have made changes to their coaching staff? Which ones perform particularly well on the road? Which ones won’t be intimidated by the stadium your team plays in, or the systems that they use? Turning your attention outward during the summer is a very profitable activity when it comes to college football handicapping. You might as well do it when there is nothing else to do so you can focus on other things when the season starts and things get really busy.