NFL Betting: What the Professional Handicappers Do
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Being a professional handicapper requires full devotion. It’s basically a full-time job. It’s not for everybody. But that doesn’t mean that even the casual bettor wouldn’t benefit from adopting some traits that are shared by the best in the business. You might not be able to match their expertise, dedication, and skills, but knowing how they act can help you figure out where you stand.
One thing the pros do is play the numbers game. There are point-spreads and totals and most people try to pick winners and that’s it. The pros are certainly handicapping the games, but they’re equally obsessed with the movement of lines. One attribute shared by all top pros is that they have better value on bets than everyone else. You have the Patriots -14 and they have it at -12. You have under 47 and they have under 49.5.
It’s critical to be picking the right sides and totals--make no mistake. But the pros know that when they are constantly getting the best value on a bet, they will have an edge that reaps big rewards over time. In order to consistently extract the best value out of a bet, you need to become expert at understanding line movement.
You also need to be bold. The big dogs pull the trigger without hesitation. They see a team they like at -2, they don’t wait for it to go to -3. Or if they sense a total will be bet upward and they like the over, they pounce on it. They’ll be sitting there with over 41 next to guys in the book with over 43. Over the long haul, that adds up to more wins.
Pros don’t dwell on insignificant data. Everything they take into consideration is pertinent information that suggests whether a spread or total can be exploited. They don’t pour over stats and play the numbers game. They analyze individual match-ups, consider emotional components of the game, and other things that don’t show up in the numbers.
Ever notice on the back of a list of games at the book, they have stats listed there? You know they would never provide you with data that could give you a better chance to beat them. You might think that’s nice of them to give you those numbers. But that’s because they want you to be preoccupied with useless stats and figures. The pros look behind the still. The insight they ascertain doesn’t come from the stats the book gives you to use.
The pros have a situational feel for games. It’s not about having an encyclopedic knowledge of team rosters or being able to say where a team ranks in passing defense. In addition, they don’t jump to quick conclusions of teams based on watching one or two games. A casual bettor might watch a game and thinks he has a good read on a team. But that game might have been a lot worse or better than the way that team normally performs.
A good bettor might see a team dominate a Monday Night Football game. Everyone is talking about how good that team is. So the pro figures whoever they play next week, especially if it’s an overlooked type of team, will have good betting value. And that the opening line will move in their favor. So they pounce late and lock in a good number. And the same applies to the team that might have lost a big televised game. People will underrate them because that team’s failure is so fresh on everyone’s mind.
Pro cappers have an elevated understanding of the mental and emotional components of a game. They will remember things like Buffalo throwing into end zone late in 4th quarter up 28 points on Cleveland, then figure that into their analysis the next time they play. Cleveland might be pissed off and ready to exact revenge. Or maybe a team is playing a lesser opponent the week before a big game against a longtime rival and will be down. They can sense the emotional range of a team, which is never a flatline. The pro can anticipate the peaks and valleys.
Pros also take advantage of every advantage they can find. They shop for the best line and price. What does price mean you ask? Most bookies charge -110 on football sides/totals. Sharps generally only play at sportsbooks that offer reduced odds. Did you know that you can bet on games at -105 (instead of -110) at 5Dimes? Dump your bookie and make the switch today. Run don't walk! This switch will save you oodles of loot!