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Betting on College Football – More Game Selection Filters

Betting on College Football – More Game Selection Filters

A few weeks ago I wrote an article answering a question we had received from one of our readers regarding game selection filters. More specifically, the reader wanted to know how I reduced a slate of 40 to 50 games (which can include sides, totals, and more) down to a manageable number of games to handicap for the week.

You can read the article “Betting on college football – Game selection filters” here. And if you get the chance, please take the time to read some of the comments, especially ERockMoney’s (@ERockMoney77) thoughts on the subject.

While working on the article I became curious how others filtered games each week. So I decided to ask a few of my college football handicapping acquaintances.

Betting on college football – Know what you don’t know

Trentmoney – I’ve been trading college football handicapping information and ideas with Trent since 2006. We’ll hopefully get him to contribute some of his thoughts and picks throughout this upcoming season.

When betting on college football, know what you don’t know. If you don’t watch a lot of PAC 12 then don’t bet USC/ASU just because it’s on tv. It is hard to have your finger on the pulse of 20 teams…you don’t really know what’s going on inside that locker room, so there is no way to have your finger on the pulse of 120 teams.

Have a plan going in. If you don’t get what you want then pass. Last year I really liked South Carolina against ECU in their opener. I felt they had major advantages. I wanted to take it up to 17 (win under three scores, push at 17). The line was 20.5/21, so I talked myself into it since it’s not MORE than three scores, even though I wanted less than three scores.

I got backdoored with :30 left as South Carolina won by 19. That game should have been filtered out but since it was opening day and I had the itch and there wasn’t anything else I liked I took it and lost when I should have passed. Lost opportunity costs less than lost money.


Betting on college football – Conference specialization

Brian EdwardsBrian Edwards Sports: I sent a Q & A to about two dozen college football handicappers and Brian was one of only two whose responses I thought had any value to our readers. We will hear more about betting on college football from Brian over the next few weeks.

I filter down games by concentrating on certain conferences. For me, it’s the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Big East. I don’t play many Sun Belt, Pac-12, WAC or Mountain West games unless I sense that I have a good feel for a team. For instance, I usually have a good feel for Boise State and also Troy from out of the Sun Belt.

Brian Edwards

So Trent and Brian are more or less advising the same thing, don’t bet on what you don’t know.

Correct spreads are always the best bets

Patrick DonovanThe Sports Boss: Patrick was the other respondent to my college football handicapping Q & A to provide some really good, informative answers.

Something that is extremely critical when breaking games down is being savvy enough to recognize when you like a side when the # is right, or you like a side because you view the # to be wrong. The best bets are always when you think a spread is correct, but you like one side.

If you see a spread you think is off, and it appears to be a lock for one side, often times the other side comes through. Keep that in mind, you want to bet games that have the right line and through your work you find value, not games where the spread looks wrong and you bet the team it seems to be favoring.

Patrick Donovan

I really liked this piece of information because I had never really thought of it like that before, and I have often found myself in the situation that Patrick talks about in terms of seeing a spread you think is off and ending up losing that particular bet.

I would suggest that if you see a spread that you think is way off, take some extra time to analyze that game, because a lot of times the line usually ends up not being “off” after all.

Please share with us some of the filters you use when betting on college football in the comments section below. Thanks – Pez.


7 Responses to “Betting on College Football – More Game Selection Filters”

  1. Conan says:

    Different strokes for different folks is the key to this question. I have followed what Trent has to say at the Rx for years and to read here about his betting filters just blows me away. I could not be more oppositely oriented in my game selections than he is.

    But its all OK I suppose. I can relate to being “too close” to a game to see through it to the other side. Perhaps Trent was referring to making bets based on ones personal bias is to be avoided.

    I don’t think of my wagers as wishful things, though at times they can be that as well as what I want them to be which is an expected script that runs according to reasonable expectations. Most importantly, my confidence and accuracy about how game flow will occur is the major issue as to whether I decide to pull the trigger or not.

    These factors are the things that we see after a game is done. Well of course team A controlled the game because team B didn’t have an answer for X. I have found that these factors often were known all along and should have come as no surprise to me. That depends on my familiarity with the teams and understanding of the situational factors at game time.

    The key to thinking all of this through is to be able to do it with the same coldness of clinical evaluation like a county coroner determines the cause of death. Emotions are not permitted because they are irrelevant fluff. That is a red flag and a personal warning from me to myself that I am not being objective… so stop for a while and come back to thinking it over again later when emotion isn’t leading my mind.

    Another question that can indicate a red flag is, am I attached to the outcome of the game in any way?

    And another is can I give both teams equal emphasis when I am making pro and con arguments concerning different phases of game flow and who is most likely to control the game flow.

    How well do I understand each team’s strategy going in based on its strengths and weaknesses. Who will prevail and how will they do it?

    How much of my evaluation was based on popular opinion and how much of it was based on personal observation? Popular opinion must be ignored at all costs. This is not a popularity contest, its a football game. Popular opinion must be ignored completely. That’s probably the toughest of all things to do. It is the number one cause behind making losing wagers.

    One must be brutally honest with ones self to accomplish all of this accurately. Accuracy is the only goal.

    By the time I’ve gotten that far, I can either visualize the game itself and its likely outcome or I can’t. Maybe the visual will kick in 10 minutes before the game goes off. Maybe it won’t.

    But I know from my personal experience and I bet you guys would find that the same holds true for you that when I make a solid play and the game goes wire to wire as I thought it would, I obeyed each of the processes I mentioned here in most of my wins.

    Nowadays, when I win, it’s almost always when I obey the do’s and don’ts I mentioned here because I’ve been working on my ability to be brutally honest with myself for years.

    But the one thing I started doing last season that proved most advantageous and boosted my W/L % ATS by 10 points was when I made up my mind to ignore public opinion/public perception completely. It is SOOOOOO hard to do but I did it anyway. I finally learned to think for myself in the most unadulterated way I could conceive.

    I found myself making wagers I would never have made before because I thought I was doing things the right way and I defended it in spite of making losing wagers when I could even see the loss coming. It takes guts to change ones losing ways even when I’ve lost that wager plenty of times in the past.

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      “Popular opinion must be ignored at all costs. This is not a popularity contest, its a football game. Popular opinion must be ignored completely. That’s probably the toughest of all things to do. It is the number one cause behind making losing wagers.”

      Truer words were never spoken when it comes to handicapping (and winning) college football games. I cannot even begin to count the number of losing wagers I have made, or winning wagers I have passed on because of media hype.

      Ignoring public opinion/perception is definitely one of the most difficult, but necessary aspects to being or becoming a successful college football handicapper.

  2. Trentmoney says:


    Great to see you here on the site…looking forward to sharing insights with you on handicapping this year

    I think something might have been “lost in translation” with my post…reason being is that, no one epitomizes that axiom better than you..!! You are strictly a west coast handicapper, and even more precisely almost exclusively the Pac-12…so you “know what you don’t know”, therefore you don’t waste your time, and more importantly your bankroll, on ACC, Big East etc…you “filter out” those games, and concentrate on your comfort zone

    I used to be heavily involved with the Big Ten…i knew the programs in that conference inside and out…and my success rate was extremely high…in fact, i went back to my first year posting at therx in 2006 (“Beat the Line move” was the name of my thread) and saw that in the first 18 games i bet that year i went 14-4, but the breakdown was 13-2 big ten 1-2 outside conference…the 2nd half of the year i bet more out of conference than big ten and went 12-13 the rest of the year…still a respectable 26-17 60% but when i removed the filter of playing exclusively the conference i knew-in other words not practicing “know what i don’t know” my success rate and bankroll suffered…

    When you possess an “edge” on a certain subset of teams, like you have with the pac12 and i had with the big ten several years ago, the key is to maximize that edge…by not using that “filter”, and getting involved with teams and conferences in which you don’t possess an edge, you’re essentially flipping coins(as my 12-13 record in the 2nd half of the year reflected)…

  3. Kiel says:


    I have to agree with Trentmoney. I have seen some of your RX threads and you only seem to wager on Pac 12 or west coast teams. Isn’t that what Trentmoney is saying? To concentrate on the teams and conferences you know best, which for you are those teams and conferences out west. I just don’t see the opposite orientation you speak of.

  4. +andy johnson says:

    thats betting 101, YOU SHOULD NEVER bet on more than 2 conferences,moreover, YOU WOULD PROBABLY WIN MORE BY MASTERING THE TEAMS IN 1 comference than trying to figure out2 conferences with 25 to 30 teams

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Maybe I am in the minority here, but I don’t believe there is a right or wrong number of teams or conferences you should bet on, just as I don’t believe there is a right or wrong number of games to bet on each week.

      If I find value and/or a perceived edge, then I am going to wager on the game. Some weeks it is more than others. Some weeks I wager 10 games, others I wager as many as 25 (sides and totals).

  5. Pat Donovan says:

    the Sprots Boss can’t even perform basic math. that is probably why his answer makes absolutely no sense and comes off as gibberish. thanks Sprotsy! #dothemath

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