In less than two weeks, the greatest season in all of sports will kick off. I don’t really know what makes college football so great. It just has all of the electrifying intangibles and the pageantry that cannot compare to any other brand of athletics. In the personified world of sporting seasons, college football is the young star that just has that “it” factor.
I do know that one of my favorite influences of college football is undoubtedly the betting. To both novice and addicted gamblers alike, college football is your safest bet to make money. Although CFB gambling is as straightforward as they come, it’s very easy to go off the tracks very quickly when all things are considered. To ensure that you don’t end up thousands of dollars in debt, wheelchair ridden from your broken kneecaps, or looking up at fluorescents and drinking through a straw, we decided to compile the tried and true 10 commandments to college football gambling.
Commandment #1: Thou Shall Not Bet Big Week 1
I hope this one is self-explanatory. However, we feel as though the Sports Guys should assume that someone out there is laying down a bet for the first time this season. Week one is full of uncertainty, speculation, and mistakes. You have to remember that the only information you will be working off of is the shit that you saw last year, the team message boards (which, from the sounds of most of them, have anointed at least 5-10 different national champions), and the asshole schmucks on ESPN. No one knows what’s going to happen week one. The coaches, who spend night and day watching film — some sleeping in their offices — don’t even know what’s going to happen. If your team is slated to play Cupcake University, chances are Vegas isn’t even going to waste time putting your team at -55.5 just to give you free money.
We get it. If you are like us, you will want to dabble a bit on some enticing lines. That’s fine, I understand. But betting big on week one is as ignorant as skiing down a mountain in a port-o-potty. You will be covered in a world of shit, and you will walk away with a terrible taste in your mouth.
Commandment #2: When You Find a Few Lines to Play, Always Parlay
When the stars align, and after you’ve done your research, you will find a few Sherlocks that are bound to lead to a payout. When this happens, don’t shy away from the chance to wrap these golden nuggets into a package deal. Instead of going big on all, let’s say, 3-5 lines, evenly shave off a bit from each individual wager and throw that towards a parlay. Two things about parlays:
1: They make the viewing experience that much better. They keep you hooked to multiple games, and they are a fucking celebration when they hit.
2: They are an inexpensive way to make a lot of money very quickly. That last sentence probably makes us sound like addicted degenerates, and that’s because we are.
Commandment #3: Thou Shall Always Play The Weather
This is one of the most neglected rules of sports gambling. If you’re going to lay a bet, you better be able to tell us the expected weather patterns before, during, and after the game. People like to do research into the spread, compare teams and their previous encounters, etc. This is all well and good. However, your first Google search needs to be the 5-day forecast at said location. Your second search needs to be the over/under for that game. If the local weatherman is predicting anything less than ideal conditions, jump on the under early and root for each team to fumble their scoring possessions away as you make your money. Instead of betting one team over the other, just bet on mother nature vs. both teams. Trust us, she will end the season with a winning record.
Commandment #4: Vegas Trends Are A Man’s Best Friend
Vegas doesn’t lose. Sure, some weeks the big time college football games may not hit for the oddsmakers. However, at the end of the year, Vegas odds are eerily on point. Last year, we planned to ride the BYU Mormons all the way to the promised land. You all may have forgotten, but BYU was on their way to an undefeated season until Tysom Hill suffered a season-ending knee injury. With their starting quarterback, the Cougs covered each of their spreads.
On the flip side, SMU was abysmal this past year. Betting against the Mustangs was easy money for us gamblers looking for a crutch week to week. Just find your team, because Vegas always gives us bettors these little gifts once a year.
Commandment #5: Bet With Your Head And Not Your Heart
Even before I was on the team, I had a particular affinity for the Mizzou football team. Their success was similar to the success of a childhood friend. I acted like I had won when they won, and that I was contributing to the team merely by showing up to the stadium or turning the game on the TV. This commandment may have been the first one that really hit home before all of the others.
“Mizzou +7.5 against Texas? Oh yeah, I’ll take that for 500. We can cover a touchdown.”
This was a pretty typical sentiment when I started gambling. Luckily, I got burned enough times betting with my heart that you guys don’t need to feel that pain. It’s pointless. When you’re looking at a line, you need to throw out the names, locations, and everything else that may sway you away from making an adequate decision. Focus on the present team, not the 2011 team that holds all of your sporting emotions hostage. Focus on the now. If you run into the unfortunate situation of betting on your home team, follow this equation:
“Are they good enough to beat team W in location X playing in weather Y with the Z spread?”
It isn’t surefire, but it at least provides some perspective that the homer glasses may not allow you.
Commandment #7: Betting the Over/Under Is Lame, But That’s Okay
Good fortune falls on the bettor early when a predominately run heavy team plays another team with the same culture. The thing about college football coaches is this: Their pride will outweigh the most advantageous strategy. Have you ever watched your favorite team line up in the same damn soft coverage defense while the opposition gashes them with quick screens and bubble routes for four straight possessions? Trust me, the kids on the field are as frustrated as the fan watching. They want to play press coverage. They want to crash down and blow up the play. The reason why this never happens is because the defensive coordinator will yank them out of the game for defying “the system.” That’s how offensive-minded coaches are as well. If they like to load the backfield and play some “good ol’ fashioned FOOTBER,” they will continue to do this, no matter the futility. Know the offensive/defensive sets of each team. If both teams are content on pounding the ball for eight minutes just to score six points, bet the under on that game ASAP. Don’t let the line total drop while all of the other suckers catch wind of this golden opportunity.
Commandment #8: Time Is Of The Essence
Great segue from the last rule. Check your lines early and often. It takes some time to know who and when to bet on, but it could make all of the difference. College spreads usually don’t move more than 2.5-4.5 throughout the week, but those half points make all of the difference. If you have a favorable line early in the week, take it and walk away. If you are convinced that a line will move towards your favor, sit on it until ten minutes before kickoff. This flexibility is one of the only advantages that we have as bettors, and we would be damned if we didn’t use it to our advantage.
Commandment #9: A Push Is a Win
We’ve all heard the saying that a “tie is the same as kissing your sister.” In most cases, tying really does suck. When you’re gambling, a push is a win. You will be surprised how often Vegas hits the spread right on the money. This is the green in roulette, except you don’t have to give up all of your chips. (To be honest, if you are willing to gamble, you should always approach the situation like you’ve already lost the money that you put on the table.)
Vegas handicappers spend nearly all of their time setting and betting lines, and even they consider a great season 60+ percent.
Commandment #10: Know When To Stop
Betting more isn’t the solution for when you get down big. Instead, you need to stop, reassess your life, pay up to your bookie, and walk away from betting (for the next few weeks). Betting has a lot to do with timing, research, fortune/misfortune, and the rest is left to the gambling gods. Sometimes, the gods just don’t shine their light, and a terribly dark cloud follows you. I understand sobriety is for quitters, but gambling past your means is about the dumbest thing you can do. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it to wager. If your betting track is derailed, fucking hang it up. Sit back, analyze your decisions, and give it a go next year. Getting in debt over college football will have you despising college football for no reason; the same way I don’t drink Patron or eat pot stickers because I got too drunk and yacked out a rancid cocktail of Sino-Mexican bile five years ago.
Last rule to follow: Don’t trust a gambler. We didn’t give you a rule 6. I’m sure the Einsteins of the bunch will blow up the comments about commandment #6 without even getting this far. We gamble because we’ve been lucky. We argue over a lot of lines, spreads, decisions, and outcomes, but we will agree that working someone else makes the entire process of winning and losing (but mostly winning) money a lot easier.
The Token Sports Guys are happy to bring you another winning season of sports betting. We hit well over the regular Vegas handicappers average last year and we plan on doing that again. Have any questions? Shoot us an email to Tokensportsguys@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter @tokensportsguys for drunk in game analysis..
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