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Changing Plans in Mid-Flight

NFL Football Betting: Changing Plans in Mid-Flight

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

We've all been there. We pour over our picks all week and sit down on the weekend to see how it all plays out. At some point during the weekend, however, things start getting a little sideways on us. Our picks are not really hitting. This is where patience and poise can be far greater assets than being a good handicapper.

The urge will always be to start making more moves in an effort to salvage the betting weekend. The games you were betting are not working, so you start betting different games--ones where you maybe had an inkling, but had decided to stay away for whatever reason. We start loosening our standards and taking stands on games that did not seem bet-able earlier in the week.

The funny thing is that it can actually work. After all, picking football is a 50-50 endeavor. Sometimes, the games you felt the strongest about do worse than picks you felt more half-hearted about. That's the nature of the beast. But even if you've had this work for you on occasion, it is really bad practice over the long run. Here's why:

Making bets borne out of a losing streak is not good. A losing bettor is a bettor who is bound to continue losing. Don't double-up when on a cold streak--that's just solid gambling protocol right there.

At some point, you have to simply take a stand and go with it. You deliberate over your picks, make your bets, and see how it all plays out. If you did well, that's great. Keep it up. If you're losing on a particular weekend, however, you must learn to accept it. Everyone has tough weeks. Heck, even the best cappers can have bad months and yes--even whole years. But the very reason they are still at it is because they handle losing with an even temper. They don't go 1-5 in the early games, then bet a bunch of late games in order to salvage a weekend.

Football betting is tough. Only a few percent of all betting men actually succeed at this over any kind of long run. One of the reasons for this is that far too many people elect to slug it out with the book in the face of losses. They have a tough weekend or two and next thing you know, they take off the gloves and are throwing windmill punches while wide open. And like a boxer doing that--a knockout loss isn't too far in the distance.

Respect the book. Take your shots, but be selective. Recognize the difficulty of what it is you are trying to do and how so few manage to succeed at it. Recognize why they succeed at it and how it has less to do with winning, but how one handles losing. Here's the sign of a good football bettor: He bets 3 early games and goes 1-2. His next bet doesn't happen until the following weekend. Doesn't sound very glamorous, does it? But this guy is actually on his way.

He went 1-2, which isn't great, but it happens. What he didn't do is what is important. He didn't start making bets in order to get even. He spent the week coming up with his picks, he made his picks, and let them play out before giving it another whirl the following weekend. The ability to do that is what will guarantee that if this person makes it at betting football, it will come down only to his handicapping, instead of his ability to keep his cool.


There are times, discussed in another article, where it can help you to revisit some of your bets to minimize losses or maximize or guarantee a winning weekend. But for the most part, it is good practice to take a stand before the games begin and stick to your guns. Scrambling around in the light of losses trying to salvage a losing weekend can usually only make matters worse. Being prone to this type of betting behavior puts you on the endangered species list and a bettor who goes toe-to-toe with the book every time something goes awry is only a step or two from total extinction.

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