Nfl Football Handicapping Trends

By: Michael Keneski

When the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts kicked off the NFL 2007 season with the preseason opener, handicappers around the country were getting their minds ready to attack yet another year of football games in the never-ending quest of making money and winning office pools. As a professional handicapper, it is my job to tackle the betting lines each week in a quest to provide winning information to those who seek my service. As a statistics major in college, I have combined the math side of the equation along with proven game trends that have allowed me and my partners to select winners at a 57 percent clip over 20 years. That doesn't include our five weekly BEST BETS which come in winners at around 62-65 percent. This approach we also use for selecting college football, MLB, and NCAA basketball games.

Now on to our preseason NFL betting trends that we will share with you. One of my favorite betting angles that time and again have proven to be winners is the good old "Home Underdog" scenario. Typically seen when a struggling team plays at home against a winning club, the home underdog angle requires guts and fortitude by the better due to the fact that picking a clearly inferior team against one that is much better goes against every amateur bettor's instincts. For example a typical home underdog the last few seasons was the Houston Texans who seem to struggle every season. Well last season the Texans were home underdogs to the Jacksonville Jaguars who were a playoff contending team. The point spread installed the Jags' as 7 point favorites. Many probably saw this game as a gimme and bet heavily on the Jaguars. Well a 27-7 pasting by the Texans made Vegas very happy. This is the perfect type of scenario that betting lines thrive on and what you always have to be on the lookout for. Home underdogs are a great bet and have been a consistent winner for years.

The reason this is so is because of the disrespect factor. NFL players are if nothing else, prideful. Being disrespected is about the worst thing you can do to a professional football player and is something that stirs great emotions in those who feel its slight. When a team is playing in front of its home fans, the typical betting line is that the road team gets an automatic 3 points. Once this is established, then the oddsmakers determine the rest based on records, trends, injuries, etc. So after all of these factors are considered, if a team is then made into a home underdog, than what the oddsmakers are really saying is that you are so bad that we think you will get beaten on your own home turf. This drives players crazy and fuels them to prove the naysayers wrong. So what you get is a combustible level of rage, anger, and determination that allow home underdogs to cover at an almost 60 percent clip over the last five seasons. You are probably wondering that if this is so, than why doesn't Vegas do something to change the pointspreads so that they don't lose money on this trend? The answer to that is they don't have to since many bettors still can't resist betting on superior teams over inferior teams, no matter where the contest is taking place.

So your first lesson in the 2007 NFL betting season is that you should pay attention to home underdogs. They are good money makers and will help you get ahead in your office pools. Good luck.



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