There are more than 120 college teams on the college football betting board while the NFL has just 32 teams. So, by pure mathematics alone, it’s about four times as difficult to keep up with college football as it is with the NFL.
Those large college numbers offer the bettor both risk and opportunity. For football bettors with the time, exploring the college football betting options may be the more rewarding choice. After all, in their rush to post wagering point-spreads, even the most experienced odds-makers can’t get every line correct every week and occasionally misfire on a few games. That’s far more likely to happen at the collegiate level where, as the old adage goes, “bookmakers have to be right every time; bettors just once” gains added credence.
Getting to the Point(spread)
You may live the rest of your life and not see Rice beat Texas in a college football game but no such stark mismatches exist in the NFL. In fact, even the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts lost outright to Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee last season, three teams that failed to make the playoffs. The largest point-spread differential in the NFL last year was 18, when the Colts welcomed the Titans to Indianapolis, Oct. 8. For the record, Indy prevailed, 14-13, but failed to cover.
The first 16 games of the 2007 NFL season opened with no team favored by more than seven points and a whopping nine contests where the line was a field goal or less.
Contrast that with the opening weekend of this year’s college season when no fewer than 16 games closed with point-spreads greater than 18, including two games above 30 and another pair of contests with lines of 40 points or more.
The larger numbers in the college football betting game also create greater volatility. For example, while top ranked USC opened as a 42 1/2-point favorite over Idaho, Sept. 1, gamblers pounded the Trojans, driving the line up to -49, a 6 1/2-point swing that you’ll never see happen in the NFL. USC failed to cover, winning, 38-10.
Also on Sept. 1, Michigan State was bet up from -17 to -23 against Alabama-Birmingham. The Spartans covered easily, 55-18.
This disparity in point-spreads creates a bit of a betting dilemma for bettors. The more conservative player may be better off concentrating on NFL betting, where no team is ever in a “can’t win” situation and the bettor isn’t apt to feel like a fool because a line has shifted significantly from the time it was posted to the time the player bet it.
The bettor with a more adventuresome streak may opt for college football betting where he could have, conceivably, laid 42 1/2 with USC and taken 49 with Idaho. He would have collected on both bets if the Trojans has won by 43-48 points. It didn’t work out this time but these highly desirable “middles,” where the shop-wise bettor gets both ends of a moving line, are available more often in the college game than its NFL counterpart.
The Known Versus the Unknown
With teams required to list injuries and the probability of players participating in each week’s game, there are fewer surprises in NFL betting. College teams, however, are under no obligation to post injuries and/or suspensions, adding another level of uncertainty to the NCAA wagering experience.
I Second That Emotion: Although division contests can stir the juices, for the most part, professional football players operate on an even emotional keel. Even NFL coaches’ halftime speeches tend to be more about Xs and Os than motivation.
But the college game, where impressionable teenagers dominate, is more influenced by emotion, witness a motivated Appalachian State, which scored an astonishing upset of overconfident Michigan, Sept. 1.
That’s just another factor that makes college football betting more difficult and more risky, but potentially more rewarding than the NFL.
When it comes to football betting, a player has to find his comfort zone.
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