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    College Football Betting Lessons

    Updated: March 19th, 2011
  • Harry the Loser turns into Harry the Winner
    College Football Betting Strategies

    In the eighties appeared a late night TV commercial that depicted a portly, unshaven, uncombed, lethargic, middle aged man stuck to a sofa chair while being told by his frustrated wife, “Harry, you’re such a loser.” Harry seemed to be a hopeless chap, void of energy, focus and confidence. His wife’s words rang so true that he had no rebuttal.

    I’m sure that most of the readers have either felt like Harry at some time, maybe now, or have known someone like Harry;someone who seems utterly hopeless and who relies on a good turn of fortune rather than changing his bad habits. Without knowing the details of Harry’s life, we cannot exactly pinpoint his exact errors, but being involved in gambling since my youth and on Wall Street trading for almost twenty years, I have seen first hand the behavioral actions that often lead to someone becoming “Harry the Loser.” Let’s examine some basic behavioral changes and specific college football betting strategies that are sure to improve your performance and can help turn a “Harry the Loser” into a “Harry the Winner.”

    Lesson #1
    Admit, Adapt and Sacrifice
    To change from being a consistent loser or a better who flashes talent but always seems to end up on the short end, a behavioral change is required. I started betting college football very early in my life. Having a natural ability with numbers and a love of the sport, analyzing games often took precedence over schoolwork. Although I flashed genius at times, the long season, the lack of patience and the vig would eventually wipe out my earnings. It took several years until I was in my mid to late twenties to realize that my gambling compulsion (how else does someone start at age 9 without having a natural inclination to gamble) would always be a detriment to profits. However, it was this same compulsion that gave me the passion and energy to get excited about handicapping games each week. As a trader on Wall Street, you spend minute after minute, day after day, recovering and learning from your flaws, perceived or real, to improve your profits. Your day to day performance is analyzed by management so their is no time for rationalizing. Traders are compared to each other so you are measured against the best and brightest. Competitive forces help make you better. Consistent errors must be eliminated or else you are fired. For a trader to survive, he must LOOK HIMSELF IN THE MIRROR and admit his mistakes, adapt his game, and sacrifice to get better.

    Techniques for Lesson #1
    Admit that your past methodology which has not worked for you in the past, will not work going forward. Change is needed.
    Adapt to a methodology that gives a greater chance of profits.
    Sacrifice by putting in the effort that is required to utilize the new methodology and avoid your old pitfalls.

    Lesson #2
    Accept Losses
    Many of the great psychologists have determined that the most consistent yearning of the examined man was their “need to be important.” Let’s face it, losing does not make us feel important. If your bankroll controls your opinion of your status in the world, you clearly feel more inferior after a loss. So of course they can be tough to swallow and can often lead to irrational future behavior.
    The best handicappers in the world will tell you that in their best year may have produced a 60% approximate winning percentage. That’s their best year of their long career. This indicates that even the elite lose 40% of the time when they are at their absolute best.
    Loses are a part of the game, even the best handicappers face them week after week. Lines are set each week by experts, the ball is oblong which means it bounces funny, injuries happen, these are just a few of the reasons why you may lose a game that you may have been on the right side. And of course, there are many games which after watching make you realize that the other side was the better bet.
    Losses are to be looked at as tiny skirmishes or battles within a larger war. A talented general needs to accept the fact that in certain battles, his army will lose. But if he can limit the damage in those battles, the war can be won.

    Technique #2
    Prior to making each bet, accept that “This Bet may Lose” but that I have many more battles ahead which can “win the war” for me. This should limit the aftershocks of an earthquaking loss and allow you to continue with your game plan.

    Lesson #3
    Avoid Money Management Pitfalls by being Patient
    The college football season is long and there are approximately 1400 sides to choose from over a 4 month season. The biggest pitfall and season (war) ending move for Harry the Loser types is chasing the losing pain with larger bets.
    Most bettors, especially those who have failed to learn from Lessons 1 & 2, feel tremendous pain when they lose. A person’s natural reaction to any type of pain is to eliminate it completely as soon as possible. Instead of removing a possible dehydration headache by drinking water over a few hours, we take an aspirin. As the loser better gets stuck money, their first reaction is “I need a get out bet.” This impatience automatically leads to an overblown bet in a game that doesn’t warrant such action. You will see this in the last race of the day at many racetracks. This bettor, like Harry the Loser in the commercial, is looking for a change of fortune (lady luck) to bail him out. Sure sometimes the bettor hits his larger-than-should-be bet while screaming “one time” (I hate this expression with a passion and never met a successful gambler/trader who uses it) and escapes for a while until he next larger-than-should-be bet losses killing his chances for the year.
    For most of the bettors reading this, gambling is not your main source of income, nor will it ever be. We must put the dollars into perspective. Outside of the fun of getting down on games all year, the upside from a successful gambling year can bring you additional disposable income that may help you take that vacation that you have always wanted, or build a pool, or buy that car that you wanted, but it is not going to change your life completely. Not in one year anyway.
    If you have accepted lessons 1 & 2, and have put the dollars into perspective, you should not chase loses with abnormally large bets in order to remove pain. The season is long and your bankroll is short. Challenge yourself to be “Hard to Kill.” Because at some time you will start getting hotter, but you need to be around for it.

    Technique for Lesson #3
    Never have more than 20% of your bankroll at risk at any time and place your bets into 4 unit categories. This will eventually limit your losses as things are not going well but still allow the better to have more on the games that he/she believe to have a greater chance of winning. This also naturally increases your wagers as your bankroll grows which is a sign of a good wagerer.

    Lesson #4
    Handicapping Techniques
    At the end of the commercial, Harry the Loser was hailed as “Harry the Winner” by his now adoring wife. Harry’s biggest behavioral change was that he admitted that he needed help and sought out a professional to make selections. If you find that you don’t have the 30 or 40 hours a week to find a betting edge, or the 30 years of experience like Yonkers Phil and JJ Beatz from www.collegefootballbreakdown.com have, than maybe seeking out a handicapping service is the right choice. After all, rooting or a team is just as much fun if you picked it or someone else did.
    For those who feel that the handicapping is the real joy and not just results, www.collegefootballbreakdown.com has compiled a list of 10 Handicapping Strategies for College Football which are guaranteed to improve your performance.

    If you can learn from the lessons above, and follow www.collegefootballbreakdown.com, the college football season will be enjoyed and not sweated.

    JJ Beatz
    Handicapping Analyst

  • JJBeatz


    John "JJBeatz" Jacobson is a handicapping analyst who covers the Big Ten, Sun Belt, MAC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA for www.collegefootballbreakdown.com. His nickname, "JJBeatz" was given to him by colleagues on Wall Street for his ability to make them money betting college football. JJBeatz is short for JJ beats the spread.

    John's passion for the sport of college football began when he played his first parlay card in elementary school. His fascination with making informative predictions allowed for a smooth transition into equity analysis and trading on Wall Street. As John often says, "Similar skills, such as money management, an analytical mind, hard work, an attention to detail, and perseverance, are needed in both trading and sports betting." JJ continues to work on his craft and loves to make people money.

    E-mail JJBeatz: jjbeatz@collegefootballbreakdown.com.

Designed by Jason Safir