College Football Bowl Season: The Made-for-TV Degenerate Special

This Saturday marks the return of one of many a sports bettor’s favorite seasons on TV…College Football Bowl Season. I have said that two kinds of people like this made-for-TV degenerate special more than anybody; TV executives and gamblers. 

Why do we love it?

  • Number of Bowls: Well for starters, beginning this Saturday (December 15, 2018), bowl season helps ensure there is some sort of football (bowls or NFL) on TV every day until the new year except for Christmas Day. That’s 39 bowl games in just over two weeks with every one of them on TV.
  • Weekday Betting: In addition, several games will air during the day for the week between Christmas and New Years Day. Sports Bettors crave weekday sporting events as much as anything. Any distraction from work (if you are stuck in the office) is always welcome. Just look at March Madness as another prime example. From the start of college basketball conference championships to the end of the first week of the NCAA Tourney, we gamblers are in heaven.
  • Action and Several Ways to Find it: As legalized sports betting continues to make its way through the US, more citizens have access than ever before. Now, let’s not pretend people haven’t and still aren’t playing offshore, because they are. In the end, there are more sports-books than ever before available to more US citizens. Office pools, confidence pools and online contests (such as ESPN’s pick em game) are also appealing and just about everywhere for access. These types of offerings open up bowl season to the “not so seasoned gambler” and makes them care about the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl of all things. Bottom line, if you want some sort of action on bowl season…it’s literally around every corner.

What should we be careful of as bettors?

With anything that involves “excess”, there are definitely some pitfalls to watch out for.

  • Playing every game: Because of the strategically laid out schedule, it’s easy to want to play every game. However, just like with in season bets, if you don’t know anything about Northern Illinois or UAB, should you really be picking a side in the “Cheribundi” Boca Raton Bowl? Also, with so many bowls, are you really spending quality time handicapping every game? Maybe you are, but likely you aren’t. 39 games is a lot in a short stretch and can lead to burn out or cutting corners when handicapping.
  • Player Participation: We are seeing more this year than ever before, key players are sitting out to help prepare for their entry to the NFL draft. That adds another element to the handicapping process that you have to be aware of. I guarantee you will see on Twitter or hear at a bar/sportsbook “hey I had no idea so and so wasn’t playing”. It’s hard to keep up. 
  • Which teams “Want to be there”?: This is something that is discussed every year and is true. Some of the bowl invites feel like rewards for some teams, some invites seem like punishment for others. Reading between the lines is crucial and not always easy.
  • Touts and Paid Pick services that pop up out of nowhere: Paying for picks or information is your choice and it’s your money. Having said that, there are three times a year it seems “new touts” just show up. That would be Bowl Season, March Madness and right before football season. I haven’t paid for sports picks since about 2004, that’s just my personal preference. I like to do my homework, form my opinions and back them with my money. If you do go the tout route, just do your due diligence before you pay someone for their picks.  Don’t be taken by someone just looking to make a Christmas buck.

OK, with my PSA out of the way, don’t let me stand in the way of your bowl season fun. It is a great time of the year with tons of opportunity. Just don’t put away your common sense during this 39 game sprint. It’s ok to pass. College Basketball, NBA, NFL and NHL are still waiting for you as other options.

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