Betting the Bowls: Greatest Hits

Betting the Bowls: Greatest Hits

We have written many bowl articles over the years that have led to big winnings at the expense of the books. Here are some of the most important elements to remember.

The Dictionary as a Handicapping Tool: For whatever reason unbeknownst to sharp players, so many gamblers put too high a price on road record in picking games on a neutral field. A neutral game is just that - no more a road game than a home game.

Ticket Sales: We do pay close attention to how much of their allotments a team sells of their tickets. However, it’s not just for what many would consider the obvious reason - which team could have more of a “12th man” cheering section.

One of the keys for a handicapper is to distinguish which teams are merely in a consolation game and which consider their postseason contest to be significant. Years of study has shown us it’s rare when a bowl is big for the fans but not for the players and visa versa. This is especially so when ticket sale discrepancies are not explained by each team’s proximity to where the game is being played.

So in short, unless a bowl is essentially a geographic home game for one squad, if one team sold 20,000 tickets and the other 4,000, it’s a strong sign the game is much more important to the former school.

Long Layoffs: Another myth is the proverbial “go with the team that enters the preseason hotter”. The long layoff hurts teams that had momentum going and gives squads that finished on a skid time to make adjustments.

Leave Conference Bowl Records for the Media: Don’t go too overboard looking at early bowl conference performances when handicapping the later bowls.

Quality of competition, low sample size and so many other factors go into which conference is 3-0 and which is 0-3 in bowl games. Don’t overlook all other factors and assume how one or two teams from a conference does early is more accurate than full season strength of schedule ratings. Power ratings we use are adjusted as bowl season goes on. However proper, not reactionary changes are made.


If anything, the bowls have a few more “don’ts” for the postseason as the bowls bring out some of gambling’s top myths. But for the most part, everything that works in the regular season applies in the postseason with some adjustments made for the so-called intangible factors. Power ratings we use are adjusted as bowl season goes on. However such ratings use proper and not reactionary strength of schedule changes.


Art Aronson is a tenured bottom-line professional sports handicapper. He is the best ROI handicapper in the business. He is not your typical handicapper.

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