Football season is upon us, and with all the variables needed to
handicap (coaches, players, rules, etc.) always changing, there are
numerous betting tips that have stood the test of time. Below you will
find some of my personal handicapping concepts I always look at when
breaking down the NFL card.
Key Numbers: 3 and 7 are without question the most important numbers
in the NFL. The secondary ones (in terms of frequency) to remember are 1, 4, 6, 10, 13, 14, with
the distant “key number” relatives being 11 and 17. These are the
numbers that have the highest probability of being the margin of
victory. About 14 percent (or 1 in 7) of NFL games land on 3 points. It
is also important to avoid some traps that people fall into, such as
taking a +7.5 -110 underdog on an alternate line at +9 1/2 points but
being forced to lay big juice. Games rarely
end in an 8- or 9-point victory, so there really isn’t much difference
in the two points from 7 1/2 to 9 1/2 points, so be careful not to let
the juicier numbers with the high premium tempt you.
Anti-Public: Blanket-fading the public will do nothing but make you
broke unless you are the one booking the action. Here is why: -110=4.5%.
Vegas hopes to hold 4.5 percent of every dollar wagered by their
players based on the -110 they charge on losers. Let me paint the
picture another way: Bears -7 (75% public)/Lions +7. Lions lose by 3,
and the public loses, but (and a big but) the book collects at +110
profit while you are only getting +100. By taking the side of the book,
you do so by giving up the almighty -110 that in the end allows them to
have an edge over the player. Say the opposite happens, and the Bears
destroy the Lions. The book pays out at even money while you are paying
your loss with an extra 10 percent tacked on. It may not seem like much,
but over the course of a full season of you paying at -110 on losing
bets and not -100, the money will start to add up.
Underdogs on Monday Night Football: At one time in sports betting,
this was the “golden goose” public betting trend. The trend slowly went
south, and in 2007, close to 70 percent of the road favorites beat the
number. If there is an edge or flaw in the lines, due to the money
involved, the gambling gods will eventually even out their universe.
From the 1970s to around 2000, following the dog on Monday, you would
have hit close to 60 percent. Over the past 10 years or so, it is a coin
flip at best. Especially with the advent of the internet, the exchange of information can have an amazing trend network between 1000's of people in one click.
Money Line Versus Pointspread: Using close to 20 years of NFL
pointspread data, we find that when a team covers the spread, they also
win outright close to 85 percent of the time. For example, in 2009, the
Chicago Bears in every game but one (9-point favorite over the Rams and
winning by 8), the spread result matched the straight up result,
including an outright win over the Vikings as 8-point underdogs. Using
this data, you will find that handicapping five out of six games
correctly on who will win outright, you also most likley hit five out of six
when factoring in the spread.
Betting Teasers: Based of a -110 vig, a sports bettor will need to
hit around 52.4 percent of their wagers to break even. Using the
standard 6-point teaser as our example, each individual teaser side
would now need to cover 72.5 percent to break even. Essentially, those
extra six points need to boost your win percent an additional 20 percent
to make a teaser worth playing. The first thing is toss out using a
total. Even though some may disagree, there is no total worth moving six
points that will boost your win percentage 20 percent. Sure, a dog to
the under or favorite to the over has some correlation concepts, but we
are trying to keep it simple in this example. Some basic tips to follow
when betting six-point teasers in the NFL: favorites of 7.5-8.5 down to
1.5 – 2.5, thus crossing both 3 and 7. Also, move the underdogs of
1.5-2.5 up to 7.5-8.5, thus moving cross 3 and 7.
Parlay Cards: On average, the house edge in Baccarat is 1.06 percent.
Blackjack when playing perfect strategy is around 0.50 percent. The
average street books pays 9-1 on a 4-team parlay card, which results in
about a 46 percent house edge. Even with the best odds offshore at 12-1,
the house edge is still 29 percent, which equals the odds paid out on
Keno. The actual odds on a 4-team parlay are 15-1, which leaves the
house with only an 11 percent edge or around the house edge for prop
bets at the craps table. The more teams the player picks, the higher the
payouts are, which entices the junkie in all of us. The house edge
actually goes higher and higher with each team you add on, but we tend
to be blinded with the increasing payout odds. Hit a nice 8-teamer and
get back 100-1, but even at 100-1, the house is still keeping a 65
percent edge on the player. One Vegas book pays out 200,000-1 on a
20-teamer. House edge? 80.93 percent.
The majority of people who plan to bet the NFL this season are doing
it to have a little fun while watching the games. So despite all the
information I have shared above, my best advice is to put aside a
bankroll for football season and stick within your means. Never think
you are due to win or “chase” your way into getting into money trouble.
Unless you plan to become a professional sports handicapper, if you can
get 16+ weeks of enjoyment for little or no cost, I would call that a
Johnny Detroit, Co-Founder and Vice-President
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