The 10 Commandments of Betting College Football

 

Last Updated: 2017-03-29

Few sports are more popular in the gambling world than college football. There’s passion, pride, and excitement. Whether it’s an opening weekend game between two non-conference blue-bloods like Alabama and USC or a heated end-of-season rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State, it’s hard not to get pumped about Saturday afternoons in the fall. But if you plan on betting, you need to know the 10 commandments.

  1. Never Chase Losses

This is a commandment that you need to write on a sticky note, say out loud, and even tattoo on your forearm if you have to. Never, under any circumstances, should you ever start chasing losses.

We’ve all been there before. The afternoon games have come to a close and you find yourself in a big hole for the day, so you think, “If I could just hit on a couple of wagers tonight, I’ll be back on top.” While that sounds all fine and dandy, you’re chasing losses. You’re making uneducated wagers in the heat of the moment, just hoping something will stick. You may get lucky, but chances are that you’re digging a deeper pit that you’ll come to regret on Sunday morning.

  1. Bet Consistent Amounts

Let’s start by saying this: There are very rarely locks or sure-bets. The oddsmakers at major books use incredibly sophisticated algorithms and software to create their lines and if they throw a number out there, you can be assured it’s reasonable. With that being said, it’s important that you bet consistent amounts.

For example, let’s say you plan on betting $100 on a Saturday. It’s better to bet 10 $10 bets than it is to bet a $50 bet, $25 bet, $15 bet, and $10 bet. If you hit on the three smaller wagers but miss on the $50 bet, you probably aren’t going to do much better than break even. Sure, you could hit on the big wager, but you can’t expect that to be a regular occurrence. Bet consistent amounts and you’ll benefit in the long run.

  1. Avoid Large Parlays

Parlays are a lot of fun. We’ve all seen pictures of guys who hit 10-leg parlays and made four or five figures on a single bet. But the truth of the matter is that large parlays are incredibly rare. If you want to bet parlays, stick to two or three legs. In fact, if there are three games you really like, you may be better off doing a round robin bet to lower your risk. This ensures you at least make a little money (or break even) if you can hit two of the three legs.

  1. Don’t Bet on “Your” Teams

Here’s a rule of thumb that even smart bettors fall victim to. You should never bet on your team – or even teams that you passionately hate. The reason is that your emotions will get the best of you. You’ll either think that your team is much better than they really are, or you may even feel like they’re worse than they really are. Either way, you’re betting with your heart – not your head.

  1. Lay Off the Drinks

Do you know why casinos give people complimentary drinks when they’re playing the slot machines? They know that alcohol inhibits decision-making and causes people to make choices that they otherwise wouldn’t make when sober. Nobody’s telling you to avoid alcohol altogether on a Saturday, but lay off the drinks when you’re actually making the bets.

  1. Bet Early in the Week

Oddsmakers usually release their college football lines at some point on Monday (though every book is different). While you may still be recovering from the last weekend, it’s important that you go ahead and turn your attention to the upcoming weekend’s games. By getting in early on a line, you can grab a line before it gets pushed in another direction. Sometimes this can mean the difference between grabbing a team you like at -6 and -7.5 (a huge difference).

  1. Do Your Homework

While it’s smart to reference other “expert” picks, remember to do your own homework. As you become more experienced, you’ll begin to recognize certain traits and statistics that you like. You can use these metrics to quickly analyze any matchup and determine whether it’s worth more attention. Smart bettors do their homework, while foolish bettors let others do their research for them.

8. Focus on Point Spreads and Over/Under Totals

There are plenty of wager bets you can place, including quarter totals, over/unders on passing yards, and even the result of the pre-game coin toss. While these may sound fun, they’re traps. Books keep pushing these exotic bets because they make tons of money on them. Stay away and instead focus on point spreads and over/under totals.

  1. Keep an Eye on Smaller Conferences

While Power 5 conference games get most of the TV and media attention, they also get most of the odds making attention. If you do your homework and start studying smaller games and conferences, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of low hanging fruit. Unlike the NFL – or even big conferences like the SEC or Big 10 – lines can get exposed.

  1.  Take an Occasional Break

The final tip is to take an occasional break. Just like your favorite college football team takes a bye week in the middle of the season, so should you. Too much consecutive gambling isn’t healthy for you. By taking a step back, you can prove that you’re disciplined enough to watch football without needing to throw money on a game.

Furthermore, if you ever feel like you’re in too deep and find yourself chasing losses and digging deep holes – talk to someone. Sports gambling can be a lot of fun but you should never let it consume you.

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