THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BETTING COLLEGE AND PRO FOOTBALL
By Wayne Allyn Root
The factors that separate college football betting from NFL betting need to be understood as one moves from Saturday's to Sunday's action. It is a fact that betting action on college football is much more likely to come from professional handicappers and sophisticated bettors. These individuals are known as "sharps" or "wiseguys," who often possess strong insights and inside information that provides them with a huge edge when betting college football. Sportsbooks are always on the lookout for these "wiseguys." Las Vegas bookmakers know not to treat heavy betting activity on an obscure game, such as South Florida playing Boise, as casually as they might deal with increased wagering interest on a marquee NFL game such as a NY Giants-NY Jets confrontation.
First of all, it's harder to balance the betting action on an obscure game and the sportsbook operators usually know "something is up" or there is "unnatural line movement" on an obscure game- so they take appropriate actions. Bookmakers are quick to move betting lines as much as one to two full points (or more) at a time in college football. When the public grabs a hold of the number,the public bets it until the value resurfaces on the opposite side. And then those same "sharps" start betting the other side (this move makes then "real sharp"). Generally speaking, it takes more money to move an NFL betting line and, when it is moved, usually it is by only half a point.
Because of a lack of skill in the kicking game, key numbers such as 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13 and 14 are not nearly as important in college football betting as they are in the NFL. College football games do not fall on those "key" numbers as often as they do in NFL contests.
We may never again see a 24 point favorite in the NFL, but favorites of 17, 21 and 28 points are not that uncommon in the college gridiron game. Oddsmakers and bookmakers also find college totals more difficult to gauge because some coaches try to impress those who have a vote in the polls by running up the score. Other coaches feel that a second-string player's reward for practicing all week is to get to play in a blowout, and will allow that to occur regardless of poll numbers. It's just these types of unique uncertainties that compel bookmakers to shift college "over/under" numbers more quickly than they move NFL totals.
It's also the nature of college football that teams change every year because of graduations. This makes posting early season pointspreads more difficult and leads Las Vegas bookmakers to move lines and totals more quickly, especially in September and early October when the season is still young. Naturally there is personnel movement in the NFL, but mostly involves players of established ability moving from team to team. In college football, you're always dealing with fresh unknown young unestablished players.
Because of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, the NFL publishes a comprehensive list of injured players every week and their status. I'm sure that coaches and players sometimes take advantage of this list and players who have been listed as "doubtful" have played, while those regarded as "probable" have not, but for the most part the list is accurate. This makes betting in the NFL relatively "safe"- a bettor knows the status of the team going into games. Thereare few big surprises.
On the other hand, college teams are under no obligation to announce the status of injured or disciplined football players. This vagueness over availability (called information) sometimes can create opportunities in college football betting. Consequently, bookmakers are wary if too much wagering attention is paid to one team. The sportsbook will go to any length to find out who is wagering a "very large amount on an obscure team". They will want to know "who you are" before taking your wager. This is why there are posted limits on all wagering.
Clearly, understanding the differences between college football betting and NFL betting is essential to winning. "Wiseguys" and top professional handicappers bet college football as their biggest bets and this determines the line movement. In the NFL, the betting public (amateurs) determines the line movement for the most part. In college football, line movement of 2 to 4 points are considered big moves, whereas pointspreads moving by a half point to a full point in the NFL are considered important line moves. Key numbers in college betting lines are discounted, however those same key numbers in the NFL are studied for hours.
The top professional realize these differences with each sport respectfully and adjust their money management accordingly. It could be that your biggest bet of the week is South Florida...not the NY Giants.
Use your common sense, proper judgement and the advice of WAYNE ALLYN ROOT for the current football 2008 Season. I promise each of you a very profitable season. In fact...make that the BEST ONE EVER!