This is the season for college football bowl betting, with the CFP semifinal matchups set, the New Year’s Day games announced, and the numerous bowl game pairings rolling out.
Bowl season presents an entirely new challenge for those handicappers betting the college football teaser odds, so here are some angles and edges to consider when placing your wagers.
Bowl games can be a grande finale to one team’s season and a bitter reminder of failures for another. Top programs that dreamt of making the College Football Playoff cut and fell short, can sometimes be less motivated to play in an inferior bowl game.
Also, teams that have gone without a bowl appearance for some time and just qualified with the six-win requirement run the risk of a letdown spot in their bowl matchup, just being happy to be playing in the postseason.
However, there are college football teams that will rise to the occasion in bowl season. Those that caught fire late in the year in improve their bowl stock or teams with plenty of senior leadership taking the field for a final time. Bettors will always want to dig into each program and see what the mood is on campus before betting on a bowl game.
Coaching and player plans
The college football coaching carousel spins pretty fast in bowl season. Those coaches who have excelled and led their programs to a bowl bid are among the best in the country and often at the top of the list for team’s looking to replace their head coach.
You often find situations in which the team has lost their head coach for the bowl game or will be losing their coach after the bowl game – and how the players respond is key to capping the betting odds.
A new trend in college football, and one that’s grown in recent years, is star players sitting out the bowl game as they turn their efforts toward the NFL Draft. After watching some standout players suffer serious injuries in the bowl games, projected top picks are passing on the bowl and leaving their team with a giant hole to fill.
Injuries and rust
The bowl season is spaced out over three weeks, which means some teams will wait almost a month before playing their postseason matchup. For some, that’s a blessing when it comes to getting injured players back in the lineup.
For others, it can slow down any momentum built at the end of the season and leave them rusty for their bowl date. The long layoff can also leave time for off-field issues to manifest themselves: be it in the classroom or on campus.
Each bowl season is ripe with player suspensions ahead of bowl games, so keep a close eye to the rumor wires and see if you can get that important news first and beating your bookie to the punch.