How to Handicap the NFL Successfully
by Vernon Croy
The NFL season is always full of the unexpected and this year will be no different. Every year you have teams that have no business winning anything making the playoffs and teams that are favored to "win it all" play terribly.
Unknown players come out of nowhere to make a huge impact. Overpriced free agents flame out early and don't do a darn thing to help their teams. I could go on and on.
When you take a look at the games on a weekly basis, how are you supposed to have any idea who to pick? Isn't it all just a big guessing game anyway? You're not psychic right? Handicapping the NFL successfully isn't about being psychic. It's about playing the odds and making the smart play. You don't have to know everything to make some money betting on the NFL. So how do you know how to pick the games? Let's take a look at some things to consider.
Watch the Games
This might seem like an obvious step in the process, but it's pretty important if you want to win. You can see a lot of things by watching the games. If you can't watch the games, at least do your best to catch the highlights. Sportscenter should be on your television as often as possible during football season. How are you going to accurately bet on a team that you haven't even seen play?
Watch the Numbers
Stats can be a gamblers best friend when picking NFL games. There are detailed stats for every NFL game that you can find and on a number of websites.
When you keep up with stats, you have an in-depth look at what a team is all about. For example, let's say you've got the Oakland Raiders going up against the Minnesota Vikings next week. You look online and see that the Oakland defense is the 31st ranked team against the run this season. You also notice that the Vikings happen to have the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson. When you combine the best running back in the league with the worst rushing defense, it's going to be a long day for the Raiders. When you control the ground game, you're going to win the game a vast majority of the time. Therefore, in this example (barring any other strange situations) you would pick the Vikings.
Pick Undervalued Teams
When you're betting with the spread, it's all about finding undervalued teams. While you might not think a team could ever beat the other in a head to head game, sometimes you might feel good about the spread that they're getting. Pay attention to the way a team plays instead of the win-loss record. For example, last season the Kansas City Chiefs were a 2-14 football team. A casual football fan would say "The Chiefs are terrible, I should always pick against them." However, when you look at the numbers, they lost eight games by a touchdown or less. This means, if you see them going up against an average team and they have them as 10 point underdogs, you've got a potentially good bet on your hands. Take the underdog.
Keep Up With Injuries
This is a big one throughout the season. Every football fan knows that an injury could have a big effect on an entire team throughout the rest of the season. Let's say for example you're betting on Week 2 of the NFL season last year. You're going down your game card and you come to the New England Patriots. You just automatically check them because you think to yourself, "Well I'm never going to pick against Tom Brady no matter who they're playing." However, if you weren't paying attention the previous week, you wouldn't realize that Brady blew out his ACL and is done for the year. This means the Patriots are now an average team for the time being. You have to now put a little more thought into your picks. Injuries can play a major role in the season as well as your betting, especially when it's a key player. (The Center is another big one to watch for)
Read Team Reports
When you get some time, go around the NFL websites out there and just read what's going on. Bookmark the good ones. Many times you can learn some valuable information from the vast amount of team blogs there are out there. They can save you more times than not if you do your homework.
Overall, handicapping the NFL is something that can be a lot of fun. If you put in some time and effort, you'll be a lot better off than you were before you started and it'll surely reflect in your winning percentage against the spread.
For more information about football betting and for some of the best NFL predictions against the spread on the web, come check out my site; VernonCroy.com
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2015 NFL Predictions - Bob makes projections on each team's record (plus Super Bowl winner prediction) and whether or not they'll go over or under their posted season win totals at the sportsbooks.
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 49. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.