As anyone who has ever tried to listen to Chris Cross on Lexington radio can attest, one can only say the same thing so often without becoming mind-numbingly annoying. With that in mind, we will be broaching a number of new topics on KSR this season…covering things beyond just the news around UK sports…call it a return to KSR’s roots. With that in mind, here is the first of what will be a weekly diary on one of KSR’s favorite hobbies, the world of college football gambling.
I am not really a gambler. I like qqpoker, but because it is a game of skill in which you play against other players and not a game of chance against the house, I don’t truly consider it “gambling.” I will play Blackjack to pass the time, but in Real money casino are for me places to hang out with friends, rather than try and make money. I consider virtually any use of money to either be for (a) enjoyment or (b)investment and most types of gambling fit neither in my eyes. But with that said, I do love betting on college football. The most popular casino these days is sexygaming online casino, which is safe and secure to play at and your most important choice is going to be looking for great game selection. I usually find some CasinoReviews to chalk up on and then play a little. Unlike the other sports, I think college football provides the best opportunity to have actual success. The outcomes are generally rational, upsets are minimal and the predispositions of irrational actors (aka other bettors) can be exploited. Whereas NFL betting is basically a toss-up, college basketball has too many non-scientific factors (free throws at the end of games) and NBA predictions are folly, college football can be mastered, and that is why I enjoy fall Saturdays doing my thing on Sportsbook.
We here at KSR (and by KSR, I mean Hubby and me), happened into college football betting haphazardly. Five years ago, Hubby found his way to a site, we split $100 into an account with the intention of placing a small wager on Oklahoma, and the game was on. Since then, we have found our way to five years of fun, with a pretty solid success rate. Our return on theoretical investment has been phenomenal and we have had five years of entertainment following games for which we would have previously never cared. With help from the guru of college football gambling (Phil Steele…more on him next week) and learning the tricks of the trade, we have finished in the theoretical black all five years. We see no reason why this will not be Year Six of success (famous last words), so I thought we would showcase the year in wagering here as we go along.
Now for those of you who don’t often place money on the games, I will give my FOUR RULES TO LIVE BY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL WAGERING:
1. Bet With Your Head and Not Your Heart: While this of course means that one should not bet for a team simply because you are a fan, it also has a deeper meaning as well. Look for value plays in a game, not results you hope to see happen. If you hate Miami and they are playing Notre Dame, don’t let that fact effect your decision on how to pick the victor. Notre Dame is one of a handful of teams that get “fan plays”, the term I use for when big fanbases bet on their team because they like them, thus skewering the line farther than it should be. Betting against Notre Dame is thus often a GREAT decision, and letting your hatred for their opponent stop you from doing it, is a big mistake.
2. Get Help: You may think you know college football, and maybe you do. But you dont KNOW it like those whose job/earnings rely on it do. We at KSR love Phil Steele’s weekly newsletter and ncsports.com. Over the past 5 years, using his information as a base, and then picking which of his selections we like best to actually bet, has been a huge winning formula. Maybe you will like Steele or someone else as well, but don’t be afraid to admit that which you do not know.
3. Take Advantage of Weeks 2-5: Over the years, one consistent fact has remained true. The BEST time to bet on ANY sport is during weeks 2-5 in college football. At that point, Vegas is still unsure how to set the lines, fans are betting on result sgp instead of performance and there are still many unknowns while teams of different conferences match up against each other. If you make smart selections, you can RACK up on the differences in information/knowledge. Weeks 2-5 have seen HUGE winnings for KSR and have been the times when we have hit our biggest parlays. It is “money” time.
4. Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em: The biggest key to winning of all, is knowing when not to bet. Every week there are 50 plus games, and Hubby and I bet no more than 3-5. Why? Because most games are no-win situations. The biggest mistake we made the first year was taking the approach of “we are watching this game, so let’s bet on it.” Big mistake. Pick a game because of value, not because of what channel you happen to have your tv situated on.
Next week, I will go into a bit more detail as to the types of bets we generally make, but for the sake of brevity, click “more” to find out how this week played out for Team KSR:
The start of Week 1 began late for Team KSR, due to the unique circumstances of this season. Kentucky played on Thursday night and since we have the “never bet on UK games” rule in place, that meant no action on what has traditionally been a consistent losing night for us. I spent Saturday morning in interviews, which meant that the early games were a wash, forcing us to take action beginning with the middle of the afternoon games. After studying our man Phil Steele’s selections and taking away his more ridiculous picks (the man loves USC way more than anyone should) we went with these picks as our decisions for the afternoon:
Michigan (-560) on the Money line)
Ole Miss (+2)
San Jose State (-29)
Money Line parlay with Michigan, Clemson, Ohio, New Mexico State, N. Illinois and Notre Dame
Money Line Parlay with Michigan, Clemson, Ohio, New Mexico State, N. Illinois, Notre Dame, LSU and Georgia
While those look like a bizarre set of bets, there is a method to the madness. I always try to pick a heavy favorite, like Michigan, and place a significant amount of money on that team to win to pay for our parlays. So in this case, $280 on Michigan to win will pay out $50. That $50 can then be used on the parlays with greater odds, but less weekly chances of success. We made the Michigan bet and spent the first hour of the game sweating, as the Wolverines started sluggishly and could have easily been down 21-7. But two turnovers returned for touchdowns, got the victory and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief. Hubby is skeptical of these big money/money line bets, but I think they are safe plays, so long as you make a correct choice and ALWAYS pick a home team.
However then, an unexpected blow occurred. For reasons that I still don’t completely accept, the Michigan-Western Michigan game was called off with a minute left in the third quarter. With Michigan up 34-13, a result that would have clearly won the bet, both teams agreed to end the battle due to the inclement weather. That is all fine and dandy for Michigan, but not for Team KSR. For Vegas to count a bet, the game must go at least 55 minutes. Thus our large play was neglected, meaning a return of money and no win. My overall plan (bet a money line and use winnings to pay for parlays) was now thwarted, causing me to say bad things about Ann Arbor, a place that had been so kind to us on our baseball trip across America.
Then even worse, our parlays were both defeated early by a terrible performance by Notre Dame. The money line parlay is always a good bet to me. We do it in two waves…the first is to pick 6 BIG favorites on the money line (-250 or more) and if you win all six, you will be paid around 3.5-1. Then use the same 6 schools and two toss up games, which will then pay around 15-1 for the win. In order to have success, you need to win the first once every three weeks and the second only once a year. I generally have a “dont ever bet on Notre Dame” rule and I should have enforced it again this week. But I did not, and once Notre Dame turned the ball over FOUR TIMES INSIDE THE 15, we were doomed. That loss cost us the 3.5-1 parlay, and makes me hate the Irish even more than I already did.
As for our two games against the spread, we utilized Phil Steele’s picks once again. Phil picked four games as his “top choices” for last week and as usual, he did well. He went 3-1, and we made the decision to play three of those four games. In the 3:30 slot, we picked Ole Miss and San Jose State. The San Jose State play was all Steele and it was a disaster. Assuming that a new coach and new players would cause Stanford to be rusty, Steele thought San Jose State would cover, but the rout happened early and often. This caused Hubby to curse Steele’s name (he secretly hates him, even though he has made us money), but I took it in stride. I said on the radio on Friday that Ole Miss was my LOCK OF THE WEEK (a pick that has around a 70% winning percentage over the years) and I was happy to see Steele agreed with me. The picked looked EXCELLENT as the Rebels went up 13-0 in the fourth quarter. But after two straight BYU touchdowns, the mood in the Hubby household got a bit tight down the stretch, leading a tense gambling moment.
Now if you have ever gambled on a game, you have experienced the moment where you are unreasonably wrapped up in an otherwise meaningless play. For us, that occurred on a 4th and 1 with 1:20 left in Oxford. BYU was on the Ole Miss 25 and had the ball, with a decision to make. The Cougars could go for it, winning the game with a first down, or kick and try to go up 4. A kick brings in the possibility of a block, while missing the 4th down gives Ole Miss decent field position, although with little time on the clock. As BYU called timeout to discuss, Hubby and I made our positions known. We screamed at the television, yelling various forms of salty language at the BYU coaches, challenging their manhood if they kicked the ball. A field goal by BYU was the only way we could lose, and a kick was likely to be made. One announcer said kick (the play by play guy) and another said go (Bob Davie), making Bob Davie immediately the recipient of a free dinner if he ever visits Lexington. After what seemed like three weeks contemplating, BYU went for it…and didn’t make it, giving Ole Miss a chance to win. It was a bad result for BYU, but a winner for Team KSR, as it took away the Stormin Mormon’s chance to cover. We won our large bet of the day, celebrated with a toast to Bob Davie and BYU’s cajones and went about our evening session.
We spent most of the evening mocking the Irish, as the combination of rain, lightning and Brian Kelly’s red face, made the reality that they would kill both of our parlays acceptable. With the Ole Miss win, we were guaranteed a small victory for the day, so we only made one play on the evening games:
This was the third of Steele’s picks with which we agreed and thus it seemed like a good finish to the night. Because no one has the Longhorn Network (apparently not even in Austin), we were left to watch the game on Gamecast, while LSU and Georgia fought for SEC pride on regular television. Texas gave us the joy of a late cover, with a late meaningless touchdown sealing the 34-9 win. With only five minutes on the clock, the Longhorns were up only 18, as we frantically hit refresh, following their final drive. A late touchdown pass gave Texas a 24 point lead, followed by the bizarre sight of two grown men pacing as our computers froze attempting to see if the extra point had gone through. It did, Texas covered by a half-point and Week One of Team KSR college football betting ended in success.
Had the skies not opened and the Michigan bet counted, Week One would have been tremendous. But alas poor Yorick, a small success will have to do. Week One is always a crapshoot and winning overall is a good result. But now we move to winning time…week 2-5 is where fortunes are made and a “take no prisoners” attitude must form. I expect big things this week, and we will use the radio show to give a couple of early picks before the time where kings are made.