One sports bettor's conversion from NFL to college football

Sep 10, 2017 |

I wasn’t born and raised as a college football fan like many who enjoy the sport. I grew up in New York City and we had two NFL teams and no college teams. My college was a Division 3 school that didn’t have a football team. I rooted for our hockey team but that was where my personal college sports fandom ended.

I’ve watched college football and enjoyed college football for years but never had a rooting interest that was very strong. I liked Penn State for awhile but they were never “my team” and there was never a passion for the team. Marketers tried to push Rutgers as a New York team but that never became a thing. I guess they’re still trying that with the Big 10, but that’s another story.

The New York Jets have always been my favorite NFL team. I have always loved the Jets. I still have an irrational passion for this team. Until recently I was always an NFL guy first when it came to football. Unlike baseball I was a fan of teams more than a fan of the league. I was the worst stereotype of an overzealous Jets fan until my junior year of college. I met someone that was as obnoxious as I was. It was like looking in the mirror and that changed me.

My fandom for the Jets remained strong but more muted after realizing what I looked like. I’m still a Jets fan but my fandom for the team and NFL as a whole has continued to dwindle since moving to Las Vegas. I still root for the team but with less intensity every year. They’ve been so bad that it’s difficult to be motivated to search out the minutia that only the biggest fans care about.

I still love the Jets and I rarely bet on Jets games because I’m still more invested on them than any other NFL team. There's still some emotion, but it's not what it was. My interest in football has been shifting a little every year from the NFL to college. Being detached from my favorite team, and having access to just about every college football game, has changed my viewing and betting habits.

When I first moved to Las Vegas my time was split about 90% NFL and 10% college. College football probably occupies 60% of my football time and money today. Not only have I changed but so has the NFL. Meanwhile, I’ve drifted to college football.

Mid-week games are a great example of why I’ve become more interested in college football than the NFL. Watching Thursday Night Football is the worst the NFL has to offer. Players are often tired and the games are sloppy. Watching MACtion in the middle of the week can be special. The players and fans get up for these games because they’re rarely in the spotlight. The emotion and action is as high as can be.

The gambler in me is also changing. I’m not an “investor” - I’m a gambler. I might be a smarter gambler than Joe Public but we both want entertainment with our wagers. We all want to win but it takes more than a few dollars to entertain me. There seems to be something unique happening in college football every week. This keeps betting as interesting as watching.

College football offers more situational handicapping and betting. For example, betting results can be swayed on what time of day games are played. I always look for home underdogs playing night games. I don’t bet them blindly but it’s a starting point. There are other situations that might matter to some games that aren't found in the NFL.

Between constant player movement, charter flights, lifeless stadiums, and mellow crowds it seems as though there are fewer opportunities to use information beyond data when betting NFL games. Regular season games can feel like they're just being played because it's a job. Sure the athleticism is unparalleled but there doesn't seem to be as much emotion as the Saturday alternative.

Let’s not get it twisted, the NFL isn’t easy to bet. For me, bets on NFL games are less fun to watch than college football bets. I have baseball for my analytical betting. Football has always been a more emotional sport for me on all levels. College football fills that need for me today and probably into the future since gambling will always be entertainment.



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