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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.

Make or Break Games in College Football 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 football.

 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

More in Betting School:

 Betting Sunday Football
 Spreads and Money Lines - when to use them



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