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Letting it Play Out

NFL Football Betting: Let it Play Out

By Loot, Football Handicapper,

Betting football is like playing a market. Just like with stocks, you look for good value and spots where you can make a profit. In a lot of ways, this is how you should look at football betting. But playing the stock market is done on a fluid continuum. In football betting, at some point the game itself is played. In stocks, there is no culminating event.

In other words, you will arrive at a point when betting NFL football where the action is out of your hands. Now it's time to sit back and see if your picks worked or not. If they do, that's great. If not, we dust ourselves off and go on to the next week.

Where a lot of betting men run into problems is with their failure to accept results that did not meet their expectations. Winning is easy. Sure, there is a risk that a bettor will play more loose with money that is won. But at least they're up. A bettor who is facing a losing weekend is the one who is teetering on disaster if he doesn't play it cool.

For a lot of people, they have trouble looking at things long-term. It's all about NOW. If they are winning now, they feel like a winner. If they are losing, they feel like a loser. Some people just don't deal well with losing. And if you want to succeed at betting on football, handling losses with an even temper is really what it's all about.

And handling losses boils down to sticking with your guns--taking a stand and letting it play out. If you win or if you lose--you let it play out. You have all week to formulate your wagers. You used your insight, looked for edges and value, and got on the right side of line movement. If a bet was good enough for you to take, you took it. If it didn't meet your standards, you left it alone.

It can be hard. You see the games you handicapped thoughtfully are losing, while the games where you had a passing hunch are winning. In the face of losses, a bettor might start betting some of those later games where they had such a hunch. And sure, that might work. Once. Or maybe twice. But what happens to every football bettor who starts slugging it out with the book in the face of a losing weekend? Well, they get knocked out at some point.

We have to remember the alarmingly-low percentage of betting men who succeed at wagering football over the long run. One of the reasons that 98% of people fail at this is the widespread problem of bettors not keeping their cool when their weekend is getting sideways on them. You get up for the early games and see every one of them is laying an egg. What do you do?

And that is what will inevitably determine if you will be successful at this. Do you become frantic when losing? If so, this is not a form of gambling that will suit you. Losing at blackjack or slots is one thing. those are events that last just a few seconds. There is something a little different about losing a football game in heartbreaking fashion. It hurts more. You spent 3 hours invested in the game and when some little quirky event happens at the end to make your bet a loser, it can register in a way that exceeds the pain associated with most gambling losses.


Not everyone can take it in stride. If you lose a hand of blackjack or come up short at the craps table, it's a little easier to accept. Betting football is different. It's a test of your analytic powers. It takes a lot longer to unfold. Those elements contribute to a bettor having more of a vested interest in the game than a normal gambling event. Missing out on a cover can leave a bettor feeling cheated and gutted.

The urge might be to try another game, a wager that didn't meet your betting criteria early in the week. It has now become bet-able only because you lost. You sell yourself on the idea that this is a bet you should make, but you know better. You know that betting that is borne from losing is probably more likely to lose than when you bet with a clear head. That is why it is of pinnacle importance to let things play out, regardless of how it is going. If we consistently scramble to recoup losses, we are that much closer to becoming part of the 98%.

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