7 Nightmares of Every College Football Gambler

Man Sweating With Eyes Closed and a College Football Stadium Background

I like college football for betting because there are dozens of games every week of the season and you can find weak lines for many games in middle and small sized conferences. But it doesn’t matter if you’re betting on small conference games or big conference games; there are some things that you can’t predict.

If you bet on many NCAA football games, the odds are good that you’ve had to deal with a few nightmare scenarios. Here are seven college football nightmares that many gamblers have to deal with.

I’ve also included some details about how you can deal with some of these nightmares, but the truth is that most of them are out of your control.

1 – Big Rivalry Matchup’s

One of the most unpredictable situations you have to deal with when gambling on college football games is rivalry games. Each NCAA football team has a rival, and when the two teams meet it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen.

It doesn’t matter if one team has had a terrible year and the other is on fire, when it comes to NCAA football rivalry games, each team usually comes prepared with their best shot.

I quit betting on rivalry games in college football several season back, because these games are simply too unpredictable. I can find plenty of other games on the schedule that offer value so I don’t feel pressured to force bets on rivalry games.

This is what I suggest you do as well, so you can avoid the nightmares of the underdog playing above their head or the favorite getting a lead and pouring on the points to crush their hated rival. Either of these situations is realistic, and if you’re on the wrong side it’s going to give you nightmares, and cost you money.

2 – Lopsided Game Issues

If you’re wagering on the moneyline in college football, lopsided games aren’t a big concern. As long as you’re on the winning side, it doesn’t matter how lopsided the game gets.

But if you’re betting point spreads or totals, a lopsided game can give you nightmares. And the problem is that these games can go both ways, so you can lose because of it no matter which side you’re on.

NCAAF Quarterback Surrounded by Defenders

If you bet the favorite and gave the points, the favorite might get out to a big lead and back off and let the underdog cover. And if you took the points, the favorite might keep running the score up so you don’t cover.

The same issues come up on the totals. When you’re on the over, one team can get a big lead and then play prevent, running out the clock while staying under. And if you’re on the under, one team might keep scoring to secure a win while the losing team scores a lot trying to keep up.

It can be dangerous to make too many wagers on games with big spreads because of these issues, so be careful when you’re evaluating these types of game.

3 – Kids Being Kids

NCAA football is such a big and profitable sport that it’s easy to forget that the players are kids and young adults. They make mistakes and sometimes poor judgment leads to unintended consequences.

What happens when you evaluate a game, place a bet, and then two or three start players get suspended for the game? Or even worse, a few star players were out all night before the game and put in a terrible performance that you had no way of predicting?

The only thing you can do when you evaluate NCAA football games and lines is use all of the information you have. The fact is that no one has all of the information, so you just have to make your best guess. But never forget that you’re betting on a sport played by kids and young adults.

You can’t control them, and you can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen every time in the best of circumstances.

4 – Kickers Costing You a Game

I don’t know many football gamblers that have a fondness for kickers. Every football gambler has a story about at least one no good kicker that cost them a game.

College kickers are extremely unpredictable. This makes sense if you think about the kickers in the NFL. The truth is that there aren’t even 30 good kickers to fill NFL rosters, so why would anyone think there are over 100 decent kickers to fill the college football ranks?

This might seem harsh, but there are less than 10 good kickers in the NCAA in any season, and less than five that are truly great. All of this leads to this main point: You can’t rely on college football kickers to perform with anything close to consistency.

I find it easier to evaluate teams that don’t rely on their kicker at all, because I don’t even consider the kicker when predicting the game. Any points the kicker scores is a bonus, because if the game is on the line and he has to hit a tough field goal the team is in trouble.

5 – Important Turnovers

Nothing can swing the outcome of a game, and a bet, than a turnover. A turnover in a college football game can swing a game by as much as 14 points. And it can also alter the entire course of a game.

The team with momentum can be driving for a decisive score, turn the ball over and then never recover. This can happen to the best teams and the worst teams.

You need to evaluate each team for their turnover tendencies as best as you can, but it’s impossible to predict turnovers in upcoming games. This is why college football gamblers have nightmares about turnovers in important situations.

I form a loose list of college football teams ever season based on how well they protect the football and how good they are at forcing turnovers. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it does help me win bets on NCAA football games.

6 – Recruits Struggling

Evaluating college football games requires an understanding of recruiting rankings now more than ever. The best recruiting teams rule the NCAA football world, so you need to know which teams have the best recruits.

But this is challenging, because not every recruit lives up to his ranking. In fact, the problem is that recruiting rankings are set by humans, and as you know, humans make a lot of mistakes.

College Football Player Running the Ball

Just because one player is a 3-star recruit and another is a 5-star recruit, it doesn’t guarantee that the 3-star is going to be outperformed by the 5-star.

The recruiting rankings are usually fairly accurate, but be aware of big time recruits struggling. When you put too much faith in recruiting rankings, it can cost you money over the course of a season.

7 – Coaches Going against You

If you read many of my articles about betting on sports, you might be familiar with my dislike for coaches in every sport. It’s not that I don’t personally like coaches; it’s just that I hate that their goals aren’t the same as mine.

I want a coach to play with the point spread in mind. Of course, this is probably a bad idea in college football, but it might help me win more money.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking college football coaches are your friends, as they most assuredly don’t have the same goals as you do as a gambler. In fact, if you personally know a college football coach and he finds out that you’re a gambler the odds are high that he’s going to stop talking to you.

NCAA football coaches keep their jobs by winning games, whether by one point or 20. In fact, college football coaches can get away with almost anything as long as they win. As a college sports gambler, you have different goals than the coaches.

The only way to completely rid yourself f the college football coach nightmare is to only bet on the moneyline.


The list of possible nightmares you might face as a college football gambler is long. And the main reason why they’re nightmares is because they’re out of your control. But this doesn’t mean that you’re completely helpless.

Once you know what the main NCAA football nightmares are, you can work to avoid some of them and learn how to live with the rest of them. You shouldn’t waste time worrying about things you can’t control, even if these things can be painful.

Use these seven nightmares as a starting point to help you improve your college football gambling results.