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Key Factors to Successful Bowl Game Betting


People love to complain about the increasing number of college football bowl games every year, but that's normally the casual fan and people who don't wager on games. Those of us that wager on games know.... more games equals more opportunities to wager and cash in.

But just like anything else, you must understand some key factors when it comes to betting on college bowl games. Just like the NFL regular season is different from the playoffs and the same with the NBA. College bowl games is a completely different animal, and you must know them to lose "less" of your money.

Here are five key factors we focus on when it comes to betting on any particular college bowl game.

1 - Players Holding Out of the Bowl Game

We're in a different era of sports where there is more money on the line and to lose for marquee players leaving college and turning pro. NFL scouts and others are advising players that's it's in their best interest to sit out the game, start training early and prevent injuries.

I'm not here to argue if that's right or wrong, and definitely not telling someone how to look at their money. But knowing if one of the best or key players on a team will play or not will sway a betting line and could impact the "smart play" on any particular game.

If you're interested in a game that has players potentially sitting out, it's important that you keep up with the news leading all the way up to kickoff. The challenging thing about this, there are times in which you're not aware until right before kickoff. Manage this as best you can, but know it's one of the most critical factors.

2 - Know the Motivations of the Teams

Let's face it, unless you're one of the top 4 teams participating in the college football playoffs, you don't have a clue who is motivated in most cases. Perfect example you take a team like Alabama who loses a shocker in the regular season and they end up on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Now they're in a bowl game facing a hungry Utah or Oklahoma team wanting to make a statement against an SEC opponent. End result:

  • 2009 Sugar Bowl - Utah beat Alabama 31-17
  • 2014 Sugar Bowl - Oklahoma best Alabama 45-31

It's not always easy to guess whose motivated and who isn't, but for the most part you can make a good guess. Bookmakers knows the casual bettor loves to bet favorites and household names. They've made a ton a money in these scenarios. Take this into account the next bowl season and increase your chances to cash in.

3 - Coaching Changes

Coaches either lose their jobs or accept new jobs for a better coaching situation for them and their families. This has a dramatic downhill impact on the players they've recruited and coached.

At the end of the season, coaches that take another job are wearing the colors of their new school before their previous team takes the field. Here's the hard part about this.... it either motivates their previous team or completely deflates them.

How they react to the coaching changes will ultimately determine the outcome of their bowl game and your ability to cash in. Similar to the overall motivation of the team, listen out for insiders giving insight into how the team is planning to respond.

4 - Strength of Conference

Now I will admit that making bowl betting decisions can be a bit tricky and many times deceiving. So you don't want to just rely solely on this. For instance, this factor is tied to the motivation of teams playing in games when you look at the SEC.

The SEC has the perception of the strongest conference, which means many look at each individual teams will receive a lot of betting love. But going back to the previous question.... "how motivated are they to be in this game?"

Be sure to look into factors other than just how strong their conference is in any particular season. Strength of schedule is a factor you should certainly look at, but it doesn't tell the whole story for any particular one game you're betting on.

5 - Bowl History

This is another key factor that you can build your betting confidence on because of the coach standing on the sidelines. Some coaches are just better at motivating their players and getting better results in big games.


Coaches like Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban and others you know they're going to get their teams up for these games. We don't look at the school bowl history solely but if they've had stability with the same coach on the sidelines then you've got something solid to work off of.

Remember betting in the bowl season can be profitable if you're looking at the right factors, shopping for the best lines and making the right picks. But you can lose a lot of money if you bet the bowl season the same way as the regular season.

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