Make or Break
Games in College Football
One of the refreshing things
from a fan’s perspective in college football is that the players
are not overly concerned about payroll or endorsements.
College football players aren’t in the sport as a job,
they’re doing it for pride and reputation. Betting on college
football means that the emotional spillover from these amateur
athletes can often dictate the results of their games, much more
so than in the National Football League. The emotional factor is
especially relevant when a school is playing a close rival, one
with which they have a particularly aggressive history, and
usually one with which they compete in sports aside from
While emotionally charged games are
great for fans they are not necessarily so for those who
consider themselves professionals in the field of sports
betting. Emotional upsets are the bane of the bookmakers.
Bettors, on the other hand, may benefit from an emotionally
driven victory if they have done their homework and handicapped
the odds accordingly. Where the trap lies for a bettor when it
comes to college football is letting one particular win skew
their vision of the rest of the season.
A good example of this is the touted
make or break game. You’ll hear it season after season from
coaches, the media, and players alike: one match in the season
will be the true test of the team’s mettle, the mark by which
their entire season can be measured. This is certainly true for
all of the vested interests listed above; an incredible amount
of public interest is apparent in these match ups. Keep in mind,
though, that what is good for the fan of the game is not always
good for the sports bettor.
A team’s victory in a make or break game
against a better opponent means that most of the time, the
players have left everything they have out on the field.
Physically, they may not be able to meet the challenges of the
rest of the season, but the real thing to watch out for is the
psychological reaction. If the season has built up to one
perennial match, the remaining games will seem anticlimactic,
even if the team wins. Once you gear up and take down the king,
it can be awfully hard dealing with the pawns.
The effect on team spirit will be even
greater if the team loses the make or break game.
The point here is to avoid over valuing
teams just because they win a game that seems important. In
fact, it might be a good idea to look at the college football
spreads for the team after the win. The spreads are driven by
the betting public, and in the next game you will probably see a
shift in favor of the team that won their make or break game.
Taking their opponents in the next game may be a good value bet,
and one that pays off.
Professional sports bettors know that
most of the time, college football games don’t turn out like the
movies. Even if the underdogs (on paper; if the team has a lot
of fans they could be favorites as far as betting) come out on
top, it’s not likely that they will be able to keep the upsets
coming for the rest of the season.
Published on 07/17/2007
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