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Public Opinion

NFL Betting and Public Opinion

By Scott, NFL Handicapper,

When betting on NFL football, it’s important to understand what goes into the public perception of a game and how that affects the point-spread. Some might think what does it matter? But knowing the nuances within the public perception can lend you greater insight into why a point-spread is the way it is.

In some games, there won’t be much to worry about in the way of public perception. If the teams are only regionally-followed teams, teams that have been more or less on the same bottom rung of the NFL hierarchy for a long time, or teams that are far out of playoff contention may not have much attention on them. In games of higher interest, involving more-followed teams, the point-spreads are set with the public perception in mind. When able to sense that, you can take the value side--the team that isn’t being given enough credit at the expense of the more highly-regarded team.

When the bookie sets a number on a game, it isn’t meant so much to be a calculation of how the game will be. Well, it is to some extent, but is also meant to elicit an equal number of bets on both sides of the wager. So theoretically, it stands to reason that some lines are wrong--steered by public opinion rather than a more clinical appraisal of what will happen in the game.

Fading the Public: The public loses. That’s a fact. Otherwise, the percentage of long-term successful bettors would surpass 2-3%. It’s not all because of their picks, as faulty money management and bet types are also a culprit why so many people lose and keep the bookies in business year after year. Still, the public is wrong more often than they’re not. Doing the opposite can be a profitable play.

Again, it comes back to public perception and the role that plays in constructing a point-spread. If the bookie knows he can tilt a point-spread in one team’s favor simply because it will be more favored by the public, the other team will get better value than what actual reality would suggest. In these cases, going against the public is a good move.

Some feel being on the side of the public is a comforting feeling, but you should feel better when you are against the public. They lose. Why do we want to be on their side? This doesn’t mean we should just go against the public in a knee-jerk fashion, but by in large, it’s not an altogether bad move.

We need to remember that when we break things down along the lines of what are the right and wrong things to do, it won’t always pan out. In fact, the edge you get for doing things right is very small. But that’s the difference between the money-makers and the losers in NFL betting. Don’t be mentally-poisoned by the scamdicappers who advertise 70% winners. If they could actually achieve that, they would be too busy making money and not wasting time on the marginally-profitable business of selling their picks. In reality, the difference in winning and losing comes down to a precious few percent. If a guy has won 56% against-the-spread in the past 15 years, he’s a whiz. He’s a proven winner. The number 56% won’t likely get anyone excited, but that’s how winning in NFL football is done.

Just to get to that number, you have to be a person who understands all the nuance and subtlety that goes into forming point-spreads and odds. There’s a psychology involved and a lot of it ties into the public. If you can tap into the consciousness of the public and understand what makes them do what they do, you can understand a little more about the point-spreads and what goes behind them. From there, you can come up with the “sharp” play. Just remember that you might see a game and think you are really on to something, only to see it lose. Just as long as that doesn’t happen more than 47% of the time, you should come out ahead over the long-run. Considering that almost everyone loses, being even a little bit ahead puts you way ahead of the curve.

Another thing that you can do to reduced the odds against you is bet on games at discounted odds. Your bookie is most likely socking you with -110 odds. Did you know that you can bet on NFL (and all other sports) at only -105? This reduces your break event point from 52.38% to 51.19%! Find this great money saving offer at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes.

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