10 Tips to Betting Football This Season

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10 Tips to Betting Football This Season

These are some general rules and guidelines that I have learned over the years. Of all the sports that an online sportsbook or local bookie will take a wager on, football by far is the best when it comes to action and excitement. Not only that, if you are capable of keeping your mind and heart separate when it comes to analyzing games, you are one step in the right direction. Below are 10 things that I feel are important for any serious handicapper. They are in no specific order, because each one is equally important.


1. Do you research when choosing a paid handicapper. Do they come from a reputable site? Can you find feedback on them? Is there discussion in forums about them? Do not fall for the fly by night guy pawning "inside information" for $25.00 #900 calls out of some schedule book or newspaper ad. 

2. Watch as much football as you possibly can. Nothing beats actually seeing the games. Watching ESPN or reading in the sports page about a 42-17 blowout does not always tell the entire story. A team may get blown out in terms of scoring, but drove up and down the field and turned it over in the redzone or took stupid penalties. The following week the team that was humiliated is a huge dog and the team that blew them out a big favorite. Maybe the team that scored 42 is playing a team that won't fumble every time in the red zone. Maybe that team that lost by 25 will not be offside on every play. 

3. Understand garbage yards and the backdoor cover. Sure a team may have had 400 yards passing, but was that was after being down 28-0 and playing against guys who didn't even start in high school. The back door is a gamblers worst nightmare (with the hook or a point loss being a close second). Having a team -24 and being up 28-0 but allowing Shitball University to score a late garbage TD will haunt a gamblers dreams for weeks.

4. Especially in the NFL, understand the "letdown". After beating the Packers or Bears, the Lions will lose to the Cardinals. What about the college letdown? Who could forget Ohio State losing to MSU as 28 point favorites back in the day, or Notre Dame losing to Boston College when ranked #1 in the nation? Just because a team piles on 600 yards and 42 points does not mean they are a lock the next week.

5. Double up. Avoid this at all costs. Trying to double bets to break even has backfired more than it has worked. I have seen people go from being down a few hundred to a few thousand in a single gameday. Don't be a sucker. 

6. Passing is fun to watch, but running is the key. One of my all time favorite stats is from the late 90's when out of 276 games that had a line with an actual spread winner, the team that had more rushing yards covered 202 times. Look it up, 202 times!

7. Watch out for trends and tread lightly. Most preview magazine post these almost unbelievable trends. So and So State is 8-0 vs. John Doe U the last 8 years! That is incredible you say; well go back another 8 years and you see the series goes the other way and now you have an 8-8 trend.  A good matchup analysis or power rating beats a trend almost every time. There are circumstances that work, but in general you should look at every week as a something new. 

8. If you are going to do your research and find that surprise team, load up in the early season. I remember when Tulane was God's gift to the sharp handicapper until Vegas started adjusting their line. Tulane returned a defense that was incredible the year before, but they had no ESPN highlights or ink in the sports page. Look for the Tulane story of 2008-09 and ride that unknown pony until you have to get off when the lines are adjusted. 

9. If you have a favorite team or player, stay away from their games unless you are betting against them. No matter what you try and believe, you can not reasonably handicap a team that you love to watch and root for. You will make yourself believe that they can win regardless if there are 100 angles pointing against it. The side note on this is the value from locals when betting AGAINST a local team.

10. Multiple outs. This could be the most important of all. Getting the best possible line is what makes a successful handicapper successful. Do the math: If you are paying -125 to go from 7 to 6.5, but can get a 6.5 at -110 you are saving .15 on every lose. Mind you, that does not factor in the $ won if the game lands on a 7. Those few seconds to check for the best line can be the difference in a losing or winning day.

The dos and donts are endless, so by no means are these 10 commandments to gambling. Bottom line is to keep your money and heart separate and understand the fact of life that there is a reason your bookie has a much nicer car and house than you.

Would love to hear some of the tips for the forum

  • Words of WISDOM!!!

  • Very good insights JD - I will be writing about another factor later today.