Christopher Smith

Degenerate's Bowl Paradise: Bet Like Mad

Created on Dec. 19, 2013 11:38 PM EST

There are 35 bowl games this season. We're headed for 39 this year.

As Joe Coughlin explained in his column this week, nearly two-thirds of FBS teams will enjoy the postseason next year.

We know teams often lose hundreds of thousands of dollars when participating in bowls, and stadiums struggle to fill seats for the lower-tier games. So, why so many bowl games?

For one, live sports is one of the most valuable TV commodities, and will only continue to get richer as the market fragments more and more and people turn to DVR to record shows and fast-forward through commercials for most everything else. That's not a revelation.

The other subset feeding these early games, which start Saturday with the New Mexico Bowl? Gamblers.

There are the "sharps," or professional sports bettors, which make selective plays and avoid wagering unless they see value in the game. And then there are the degenerates.

But what is the fun of 35 bowl matchups if we all can't pretend to be squares? (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, though you probably don't have to pretend.)

So, if you live in Vegas, knock yourself out. For the rest of us, let's "bet" the bowls degenerate style. That means we have to break these rules of smart bettors.

1. Bet selectively.
2. Manage your bankroll wisely (many sharps never exceed 5 or 10 percent of their bank account on a single game).
3. Play to win money. This means avoiding emotion and avoiding bets "just for the action."
4. Speaking of avoidance, stay away from exotics: Parlays, teasers and the like are built to line the pockets of bookmakers.
5. Don't chase. If you lose a bet, it shouldn't affect the amount or frequency of your subsequent wagers.

But carefully selecting four or five games on which to bet out of 35, after hours of research, is no fun, and it doesn't make for a good column.

So here's what we're going to do... let's pretend each of us got a Christmas bonus of 2,000 units. Amazing!

Of course, the first thing we'll do is agree to store 1,000 of the units in our savings accounts. (But like any good degenerate, in the back of our minds, we know we can always use those funds to reload ... Shh!)

If you'd like to play along at home, please use our new Community section — register as a user and post your own picks. I'll be posting columns periodically on, and if you play, you may find yourself mentioned. So follow along in the Community section by creating your own post, or just reply to mine.

Or not — I am more than happy to play alone. You're welcome to sit back and laugh at me, or stage an intervention. Either way, I'm in. After all, I am playing the role of degenerate, and the 1,000 units are burning a hole in my pocket.

"Degenerate's Bowl Paradise" Rules

1. Bet every game (line or over/under).
2. Must bet 10 percent or more of your bankroll each game. (If you lose all your money, just remember you've got another 1,000 units socked away!)
3. If you are a fan of a team, go nuts. Also, if you have nothing to do, say, the middle of the afternoon Monday, turn on the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl and double down. Action, baby!
4. You must place at least three exotics by the end of the bowl season: Parlays, teasers or special bets.
5. Chase away! If you lose a bet, you must make an attempt to recoup your lost units ASAP.
6. Use the LVH line found here.
7. You don't have to follow any of the rules above. After all, true degenerates have no rules — and no limits.

One more note: All games are assumed -110. So you have to bet 110 units to win 100.

I'll go ahead and lay out my four choices for Saturday, plus a parlay on all four games. I mean, why not? Haven't we waited long enough for the return of college football?

I'm sure I will post at least three more bets there before my update column next Thursday — after all, there are three more games before Thursday night. (I would post more now, but, you know, why keep any units in my holster? There are four bowl games Saturday. Four!)

And again, follow along on my blog post here and post your own if you'd like.

Pick Units Risked Potential Profit Remaining Bankroll (Very) Brief Analysis
CSU +4 150 136.36 850 I'll take your Connor Halliday and raise you Kapri Bibbs.
FRES +6 220 200 630 Take Derek Carr over the interim interim coach at USC.
BUFF +1 110 100 520 A team from Buffalo vs. a team from San Diego with temps in the 20s at kickoff? Hmm...
TUL -1.5 330 300 190 No Terrance Broadway at QB for Louisiana-Lafayette spells trouble.
Latter three (parlay) 100 595.79 90 Feeling good. Why not use one of my three exotics right away?
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