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Dangers of Public Consensus

NFL Betting: The Dangers of Public Consensus and Opinion

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Once you become an NFL bettor, you will want to set high standards for who you listen to when football is discussed. Drowning out the voices can be a stiff challenge because seemingly everyone has an opinion about it. You hear people talking football at work, at the grocery store, the bowling alley, or wherever you happen to be.

We don’t want to become snobs who feel we are above everyone when it comes to talking about the NFL. It’s just that as bettors, we are guided by a completely different set of concerns than what governs the minds of the average fan. Some of these fans may in fact have an elevated view of the game. Unless they’re successful at the act of NFL wagering, we really don’t want to hear from them.

It depends on where you are. Usually, the home team will be the topic in the air in areas close to that team’s home stadium. But when the postseason comes around, you will hear people talking about those games, as well. If it’s the week before the Super Bowl, forget about it. Drowning out the voices can be impossible.

Listen to these people talk when they discuss football and you see it’s better to ignore it sometimes. Usually, the topic involves nothing that is going to help us cover spreads. Again, we’re not out to be arrogant about it, but the general public’s football discussions can be painfully elementary. The quarterbacks get the bulk of the attention. When not discussing the QB, you will hear things about how tough a defense is or how a running back is playing really well. Most of it is not terribly insightful.

You never hear about the things we need to use to place winning wagers. Ever hear two guys at the gas station talking about line movement? Ever hear a guy at the bar point out how a team’s second receiver tends to smoke the opposing cornerback ever since their college days? Ever hear people talking about specific match-ups or how two styles of play will mesh? The answer to all of the above is no and that is also the answer to the question of whether we want to pay much attention to it.

There are certain topics in life where people feel qualified to offer an opinion before they have attained a high level of knowledge. Politics is another one of those topics where everyone has something to say, but not many really understand in depth what they’re talking about. If we were to be at a dinner party, for example, and the topic of Chinese government came up, you wouldn’t just throw stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. You would withhold speaking until your knowledge was up to par.

Football isn’t like that. It’s just one of those areas in life where people’s passion isn’t always accompanied with the requisite base of knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s good that they’re fans. Let them talk it up. Just keep it in the forefront of your mind that following football as a fan, even if it’s on an enlightened level, is a far cry from trying to actually extract money from the sport.

Being a capable bettor does touch on some of the same things that rules the minds of fans. It just goes a lot deeper and then also bleeds into the world of football wagering itself--a whole different kettle of fish. Getting good at NFL betting requires you to become expert at the ins and outs of all the things that have to do with wagering. One surefire bet is that when you hear two guys talking about the sport at the meat section of the store, their conversation will not account for the things we need to consider when evaluating a game.

You have to go with your own guns. We’ve all made the mistake of listening to the wrong person. We can be affected when we hear someone speaking with such a supreme air of authority, “Oh, there’s no way they can lose. It’s going to be a slaughter!” That guy might be driving a new Benz and you figure he must doing something right. The mind starts playing tricks on you like this. Then you make a bet based on his assuredness. We need to maintain the confidence to drown out those voices and not be swayed by the public. Look at how the sportsbooks thrive and it’s clear that public sentiment should not become our guiding light as bettors.

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