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Football Betting Advice: Keep Your Opinions in Check

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

One of the more delicate balances to find in football betting is the fine line between forming solid opinions and becoming over-opinionated. It’s very difficult. After all, when we are handicapping football games, we become very in-tune with our opinion. We’re using it for everything. Every sub-point when handicapping a game is subject to opinion. We’re constantly looking for angles and in doing so, we are attaching different levels of importance to any hundreds of different factors.

At some point, it becomes hard to turn it off. After hours of using our brain to dissect football games and lines, that part of us might start getting too big for its britches. Part of having good insight is knowing the limitations of your observations, as well as their overall quality. The lines in NFL and college football football are so good that you can really make a case for anything. There is always going to be a perceived edge if you look hard enough. Or more specifically, if you’re looking in the wrong places.

You should let the case make itself, instead of going out of your way to make a case. People have the ability to make a case for anything. Have you ever been totally hosed by another person and even they have an explanation they sold themselves on to rationalize screwing you over? Or maybe you know people that just have an opinion on everything. You got soccer moms on Facebook telling you how the world should be run or a cashier at Orange Julius urging you to vote for someone.



Very few people underrate the scope of their knowledge. For the most part, people overrate their knowledge and insight. For every guy who is smarter than he thinks he is there are 20 guys who think they have way more knowledge than they really do. Transfer that to football betting. It results in people taking stands on games where they should really think twice.

You might see a few games and make a couple solid observations that might tip the result in your favor. Don’t let that part of you become a runaway train. Keep it in check. Or next thing you know, you might find yourself making a case in your head why you should be taking the “under” in the Northern Illinois-Western Michigan game when you can’t name one player on the field.

We should try to stick to our upper-echelon observations. Sometimes it will be frustrating, especially when the games we thought we had nailed are losing, while the ones that were more hunches are winning. In the long-run, however, you will thank yourself for sticking to the times where you saw a clear betting edge instead of betting based on a half-baked analysis.

When we form our opinions, we should adhere to a process. Never should we look at a line and be immediately inclined to take a team. We might have a little twinkle. Some lines will rightfully evoke a raised eyebrow. But any type of serious lean one way or the other should only come about after serious handicapping has taken place, however you might handicap a game. This part of betting is a real challenge.

When making picks, we are all wrapped up in our inner discourse. Left and right, we’re making judgments and taking stands. There is no middle ground with some people. But there has to be with the reasonable football bettor. Even on the games we bet. We make what we feel amounts to a solid calculation of what will happen in a football game, knowing that even if we’re shredding it, we’re still losing 40% of our bets. So we know there are no locks. We don’t get overly infatuated with our own opinion. We don’t mythologize our inner narrative or the scary-good quality of our handicapping.

Having opinions and even looking to judge something is an integral part of betting football. The danger we run into sometimes is not acknowledging our limitations. We think we should be able to look at any game and out-think the bookie and that’s just not gonna happen. You’d be lucky enough to beat the bookie just with your best isolated picks, much less games where you sell yourself on a weak set of reasons to take a side. If you don’t see the edge or value you need, move on.

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