to the public and media, limiting information on a team and their player situations, including position battles, injuries and young up and comers. That means handicappers need to react and adjust their opinions of teams after they have played their first real game of the season.
That’s a difficult thing to do, especially if a team expected to do well from the get go, ends up losing their Week 1 game.
Usually when that happens, bettors overreact, making mistakes in judgment, which can easily cost them in he next game and beyond.
With that, we have assembled a list of a few common mistakes sports handicappers make when assessing college football teams after their opening game.
First, handicappers should refrain from judging players too harshly at the start of any season. Especially young players starting for the first time. Sometimes those first-time players can crack under the pressure and as a result do not perform anywhere near their full capability. Crowds are bigger, competition is tougher and television coverage can make even the best player uneasy. So, it’s not uncommon for players to perform well below their best. Especially young quarterbacks.
With that, handicappers need to stay positive and not rush to quickly to discount a player who may come into his own five or six games into the season.
Second, handicappers need to be aware of teams that are making adjustments to new schemes or have undergone a coaching or coordinator change. When a football team makes any change, bettors are always anxious to see how the team handles those changes. And if a team plays poorly in its first game, many bettors will over overreact significantly, ditching the idea the team can win. However, experienced bettors know that it is nearly impossible to draw meaningful conclusion about a team introducing a new scheme or coaching change after just one game.
Handicappers that can hang in there for a game or two, will usually benefit from the mass exodus of backers on a team in this situation, which usually sees its players finally figure it out.
Next, while handicappers need to pay attention to line movements, at the same time they need to realize that first-week line movements are far less significant than those later on in the season. Because there is much less known and solid statistical information on teams in the opening week, much of the line movement in the days before a game is usually a reflection of the betting public and its bias and perceptions. Therefore, handicappers need to go with their gut here and not what the lines may indicate.
Finally, perhaps the biggest mistake football handicappers make when reacting to a team’s Week 1 loss, is not factoring in their opponent.
It never ceases to amaze how many times following the opening game of the college football season, the media will sway public opinion, predicting teams that are well on their way to a bowl and players who are on their way to a Heisman.
This is totally ridiculous.
Many first week games pit high profile teams against weaker non-conference teams and vice versa. And if a team played an opponent far worse than they are, which is very common in the opening week, then any team or individual statistics are almost certainly inflated.
Smart college football handicappers sniff this out and make decisions that will surely make them more successful during the rest of the college football season.