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NFL Betting: Choosing Advice Wisely

NFL Betting Tip: Choosing Advice Wisely

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

NFL football is one of those unique facets in life where a lot of non-experts like to speak as if they are true authorities on the subject. Well-educated NFL fans or bettors spend a lot of time cringing and rolling their eyes when others attempt to pontificate on the NFL. And almost all of them can't seem to wait to tell you about their thoughts. Even for an astute NFL bettor, it can be hard to stop all the voices from influencing you. To be a strong force on the seas of NFL wagering, however, you must choose who exactly it is that you listen to very carefully.

One general rule of thumb, regardless of what voice you're hearing, is that you should avoid letting someone make your picks for you. Riding on a hot bettor's coat-tails from time to time is OK. But by in large, listening to others should only provide you with certain insight into the game--not the pick itself. But if you're winning by sweating someone else's picks, keep doing it--by all means.

Some people who speak about NFL football simply have no business commenting on it. That might sound harsh, but we're not people who are merely trying to shoot the breeze about the NFL. We're trying to earn over here. So no offense to your co-worker, but when he corners you by the copy machine and starts talking about the Dolphins, you should tune him out. Remember these people are not actually betting the games. So how sure can they be of their analysis if they're not even willing to back up what they say like we do?


But not all non-betting voices are of the same ilk. On television and radio, there are guys who actually know what they're talking about. They follow the sport very closely. You could quiz them on the most obscure detail and they will give you a good answer. Some of these voices are billed as being experts and that's exactly what they are--no doubt about it. But wagering on the NFL is a very specialized version of expertise. Just because you can recite a bio on all the back-up linebackers for the St. Louis Rams doesn't mean you know jack-squat about handicapping NFL games.

When you turn to the Internet, the quality of the analysis will get watered-down to a large extent. Remember that there are no qualifications to offer your thoughts on message boards. At least the guys on TV or radio had to show something to get that gig. On the Internet, you could be reading the thoughts of some barely-functional individual. There is simply no set of standards. There is also no shortage of misplaced confidence. Regardless of a person's actual level of NFL betting mastery, most of them will try to come off as experts. This not meant as a blanket indictment on all folks on the Internet. Some people really know what they're talking about. Find those voices.

If you bet at an actual brick-and-mortar book, you will also hear a lot of opinions. The air will fill with confident voices. You might even strike up a conversation with someone. He might be a nice guy. He might even be a good bettor. But if you find yourself being infected by someone's pick because they sound so confident and are making good points, take a closer look. You'd rather he look like James Bond than Jim Varney from the Ernest movies. It's hard to take a guy seriously as a wagering stud when he's wearing a Tommy Maddox jersey.

Shy away from advice polluted by team allegiances. Is the guy telling you you take the Patriots wearing a New England hat? A lot of casual bettors habitually bet on their teams as a show of support. We're not on that boat. We want winning picks, not sentimental ones. Fans of one team struggle with maintaining objectivity when picking those games. And even TV and radio analysts who either played for or are otherwise tied to an NFL team have trouble with this. They might even side with the other team just to show that they're not homing it for their team.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid people who lean toward an extreme point of view. Well-reasoned individuals make calculations while fully acknowledging the inherent limitations of such prognostications. A bettor is happier than a pig in slop if he can pick 57%. So there are no "locks." We should listen to people who show an understanding of how challenging NFL handicapping truly is.

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