2017/18 College Football Playoffs Bracket Betting Strategy
2018 College Football Playoff Bracket
In the opening, I outlined the four teams that have made it through the gauntlet of a college football season to finish the year ranked in the Top 4 in the country.
Alabama's inclusion at #4 wasn't without controversy, but in the end it was the correct selection on the whole, even it there was a tinge of bias towards possible television ratings by the committee given we get another Clemson/Alabama game in the playoff this year.
Without a doubt the selection committee knew a third year in a row of having Clemson and Alabama do battle on the big stage was going to be a highly popular viewing event with the media drubbing up absurd hype about it, but when you boil it down, it still was the right decision to include the Crimson Tide and you've got nowhere else to look but the oddsmakers for confirmation of that decision.
2018 CFB Playoff Odds
Although casual college football fans might have some quarrels about the system regarding Alabama's inclusion, the fact that oddsmakers opened the #1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama semi-final game as a "pick'em" should tell you that Alabama getting that 4th spot was clearly the right choice.
With a point spread like that, oddsmakers are saying that there really isn't much difference between the #1 and #4 teams on the field, and if it weren't for all the bureaucracy and media frenzies surrounding the selections, none of these debates would have occurred.
Now that the odds have had about a week to settle, the fact that #4 Alabama currently sits in the -2.5 range definitely puts to bed any argument for why they should not be involved in the CFB playoff.
But what's more surprising here - and it might be because of a SEC Conference bias in the college football world - is the fact that after #2 Oklahoma and #3 Georgia opened up in that similar "pick'em" range, it's actually now #3 Georgia who's a consensus -2 favourite for that game. There has never been a CFB playoff where #3 and #4 were favored to meet in the championship, but it's looking like it will be that way this year.
Betting The 2018 College Football Playoffs
With the semi-final games not set to kick off until mid-afternoon on January 1, 2018, there are multiple ways to approach these two games from a betting standpoint. However, something to keep in mind is the idea that both point spreads saw significant movement right off the bat.
Bettors that were a part of that now have a tremendous opportunity to either hedge their certain position, wait and see how the market reacts, or possibly get a "scalp" (a scalp is when you can take both teams to win a particular game and guarantee yourself profit no matter who wins because of odds offered) or a "middle" against the spread. So don't be surprised if money starts to come back in on both #1 Clemson and #2 Oklahoma as the semi-finals games draw nearer.
Personally, both of these games and the initial line moves look a lot like bettors are trying to get in position for a scalp if they can. Recreational bettors will slowly start to get involved as the games draw nearer and you know that when those bettors see #1 and #2 catching points as underdogs, money on Clemson and Oklahoma will start to hit the books.
Depending on how many wagers show up, these lines will move again one way or another, but with the spreads not all that important given how small they are (ie pick the SU winner and chances are the spread won't matter), I'm not sure if getting down on these games right now is worth an investment.
CFB Playoff Semi-Finals Betting Strategy
Instead, I'm going to take the wait and see approach with these point spreads and any movement that comes about as we head closer to the New Year. In fact, with both games having spreads of less than three points and being bet to those numbers and not released that way, the best option overall might be waiting all the way until January 1 and playing both of these games in-play.
In-game wagering takes some getting used to, but given the initial point spreads for both of these games were basically at "pick'em" there may be opportunities during in-game wagering to get your own "scalp" or "middle" if we get back-and-forth affairs like many expect. That appears to be the best way to approach these semi-finals games currently.
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