NFL Handicapping 101 – Playing NFL Trends


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By Joe Connolly

Yes, NFL rosters can change from one year to the next. Injuries and trades can change a roster from one week to the next. Still, there’s value in respecting historical betting trends when betting on NFL games. It’s not really clear why one team always seems to struggle against one specific rival or opponent. As a sports handicapper, you are always looking for an advantage. Sometimes, the advantage could come from respecting a betting trend even in the face of all logic.

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Where to Find Trends

Betting trends can pop up from almost any aspect of a game. Some teams play well on the road versus the point spread while other teams struggle at home versus the point spread. If you encounter an NFL game where both those trends are in play, you need to check the betting line for value. If the value seems to be there, use the betting trends as the basis for making a sizeable wager.

Here’s some other betting trends you should follow:

How teams play on grass or artificial surfaces. Indoor and outdoor play is also a worthy consideration

Playing the streaks. It’s not unheard of for an NFL team to roll off five or six wins in a row against the point spread. It might be a case of professional linemakers having difficulty deciphering a team’s performance levels

Check each team’s performance related to over/under betting. Some teams have a tendency to get caught up in high or low scoring games.

How teams play after a bye week. Some teams play historically well after getting a week off. It only happens once a year, but some teams will cover the spread after a bye every year.

Check out how teams perform against common opponents

Check out how teams perform against each other versus the point spread. It’s quite possible for the worst team in the league to have a positive point spread trend when playing the league’s very best teams.

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Assessing Betting Value

Make no mistake about it, professional linemakers are very aware of betting trends. When one appears, they will usually adjust the point spread to reflect the trend in play. That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. It’s your job as a sports bettor to find those mistakes. How do you do that?

Over time, you should be able to improve your handicapping skills. When the lines come out, you should always take a moment or two to look over the lines to see if you can identify any weaknesses or lines that seem out of whack. If a particular line looks appropriate, the next step would be to see if there are any trends at play. If one exists and the line doesn’t seem to reflect that trend, you might have identified a bookmaking mistake that creates extra betting value. That’s handicapping 101.

For the latest NFL odds and point spreads, be sure to check out the current NFL odds by WorldPunter. You can use these odds to help you get started with the task of handicapping all the week’s NFL action.

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