College Football Letdowns: No Cure For This Hangover
By Mike Quinn, @misterquinnbets
Hangovers are the worst. You can’t think straight and it is seemingly impossible to do anything right. The way you feel on a Sunday morning after a weekend bender isn’t too far off of the way college football teams feel in big letdown spots throughout the season. Unfortunately, there might not be a way to cure it, but there sure is a way to profit from it.
Letdown spots are some of the most classic situations that sharp bettors scour the card for each week trying to uncover and exploit. They come in many varieties, but what really causes these letdowns? Why do teams that presumably appear on paper to be the far superior group, find ways to underachieve and at least not cover, if not lose outright against teams that ordinarily they would steamroll?
A lot of this phenomenon has to do with the biorhythms of players and their locker rooms. Believe it or not, you don’t need a PhD in psychology to understand how to read the demeanor of a squad. First, you need to remember you are dealing with 19-22 year old young men who are not fully emotionally developed as of yet and still have a lot of growth as human beings in front of them. That immaturity manifests itself into a lack of focus. That lack of focus comes from being in a college environment where everywhere they go on campus people are praising them and making them feel more “secure” than they really are or should be. This can cause less film work for the next game or too many media distractions that take away from their preparation for the next opponent.
Entitlement is also another by-product, as is group think. When you are engaged in a prestigious circle, it is easy to breed the group dynamics notion of group think. You are all experiencing the same emotions at the same time; a huge win or crushing loss. That energy in a close knit group that is used to spending all their time together can have a profound effect on the psyche of each individual. That is why you see mistakes made across the field with a variety of players in those letdown situations. Some might say it is contagious.
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The important piece for bettors is to understand how to profit from the letdown situation. It starts with seeing the letdown as it is happening a week in advance. Letdowns come in all shapes and sizes. It might be a high ranked undefeated team suffering their first loss of the season and their national championship hopes going down the drain, it might be a big underdog winning outright in a rivalry game, it might be a wild finish that causes the fans to rush the fieldyou get the picture. When you see a situation occur, it is time to make a mental note for the following week; not to blindly bet it, but to know that is a game you need to examine deeper, already knowing the spot that has been presented to you. The line still needs to bring value and the other team involved needs to fall into a good matchup spot and not a letdown spot of their own.
Diving deeper into the psychology of a team is not as hard as it sounds. Reading the local beat writers of the schools and the school newspapers are excellent means of gaining insight into how the team is reacting to the previous game and preparing for the next. Sometimes it won’t be so obvious. Occasionally, you need to read between the lines of a coach’s midweek press conference or a player’s interview to get a glimpse of what is occurring in the locker room. It might be a simple mention of players not looking sharp at practice or too much talk about the previous game or fights breaking out during drills. All of those examples and others can be indicators that the team is not preparing as they should for their next foe. These are the instances when a bettor knows that they might have an edge in the mental side of college football; which in a lot of cases is more important than the physical.
There is not one overriding factor that causes letdown spots to occur, however, it is one of the best opportunities for bettors to cash in when they see an edge to be had. Keep your ears and eyes open every week because a letdown spot for the following week is developing and it is important to be ready and attack.
Good luck and keep cashing!