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Staying Informed

NFL Betting: Staying Informed

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Information in the NFL betting is power. Every tidbit of relevant info is a bullet for you to take onto the usually-treacherous battlefield of NFL wagering. And it's not like the old days, when you depended on your local paper or a subscription to SI to stay abreast of the NFL. With the Internet and the explosion of TV channels, the only question is how much information are you prepared to absorb?

The first thing to do is hone in on those whose opinions you respect. And everyone has their own strengths. Some guys are good at breaking down games after they happened, others specialize in uncovering information, while others are expert at picking games. When it comes to the latter category, be very discerning. A guy might be on top of everything and have great knowledge on the game, but his picks are so bad, you should almost pick opposite of what he is predicting.

Everyone is a know-it-all these days. Especially on the Internet, where everyone seems to speak from a position of absolute unquestioned authority. Of course, they can't all be geniuses. But they want you to think they are. First of all, when point-spreads are involved, there aren't many slam dunks available. That doesn't stop people from portraying their picks as if they were handed down by a higher power.

It sort of boils down the "loudest guy in the room knows the least" theory. Let's face it, the real moneymakers in NFL betting are not blabbing about their picks for kicks. There are people on the web who know what they're doing and those who sound like they do--but simply do not. Whether you are watching TV or listening to people's insights on the Internet, avoid being drawn in by a person's misplaced confidence.

We live in the "take a stand" era of discourse in this country. The room for middle ground has shrunken. Regardless of the topic, most people on the Internet are stuck on either side of the extreme. Someone either sucks or he rules. A team is either good or it's bad. And if you're exposed to enough of this, you can start thinking the same way. But the real astute NFL bettors know there is no black and white, but all shades in between.

It can be hard to not be infected when you read someone make what seems to be such a sure-headed and decisive pick. You read a post from someone making a case or an analyst on TV who seems as sure about a game as he does that the sun will rise in the morning and the urge is to jump aboard. Not that there is anything wrong with going with a person's picks, but make sure they are established winners first.

Join a forum. Make sure it's a good one, where insightful people post comments regularly. If someone is really hot, there is nothing wrong with taking their thoughts into consideration. But all picks should be your own. And on forums, you can get good information--things that were maybe off your radar. You could gain some insight on how to prioritize certain information for a given game.

And don't forget to get information on your betting. Keeping detailed records helps you not only keep track of your progress and your bankroll, but it can offer you a glimpse into what your particular strengths and weaknesses are. If you take careful notes, you can see exactly where you thrive and what you need to work on a bit.


It takes time to develop enough of a sample size of games for you to make any concrete sense of it. Realistically, you will only be able to make sound judgments on your pros and cons as an NFL bettor after a few hundred games. After that, you will have enough of a sample pool to draw some conclusions. Do you lose most games where you bet on a road favorite? Is there a certain number where you have trouble winning bets, like when you lay 3 points, for example? Do you win most of your bets taking home dogs on small spreads? How do you stand in relation to the closing line? After a while, you can begin to see areas where you falter and ones where you succeed and then you can adjust your betting accordingly.

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